Grant given to Creative Laboratory

An internationally-renowned contemporary dance company has won an Arts Council grant to establish what it calls a “creative laboratory” in Ashford, Kent – consolidating the town’s position as a home for the arts.

The capital grant of £3m will enable Jasmin Vardimon Company to build a centre of excellence that supports their commitment to education, strengthens community engagement and provides a base for the company’s significant national and international touring programme.

The grant is in addition to financial support from Arts Council England worth more than £1m over the next four years.

The Company was founded in London in 1997 and, under Artistic Director Jasmin Vardimon’s vision, has rapidly risen to become a significant element within the British dance theatre scene, touring and performing at high-profile theatres around the world.

Executive Director Ian Ross said: “We are absolutely delighted that, not only have we secured the continued support of Arts Council England as part of their national portfolio for 2018 –22 but, in addition, have been awarded £3m in funding to build a new home and creative hub in Ashford. Along with the generous support of Kent County Council, this will enable us to continue and extend our internationally acclaimed creative output, build our commitment to education and training and allow us to further develop our audiences and community engagement in Ashford and beyond.

“ACE’s decision is a testimony to all we have achieved over the past 20 years and is a demonstration of their confidence in and enthusiasm for our plans for the future. We’d like to congratulate all our staff and supporters whose hard work has been rewarded and to thank Arts Council England and Kent County Council who we look forward to working with over the coming years.”

Jasmin Vardimon Company relocated from London and Brighton to Ashford in 2012, contributing to the town’s burgeoning arts community.

Its studio, The Space, is a popular option for London and European companies looking to hire a stunning venue for rehearsals and production time. Ashford International Station is just 38 minutes from the capital on the high-speed link and two hours by Eurostar from Paris.

Kent County Council is supporting and leading the development. Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “This is superb news for the creative sector in Kent. Jasmin Vardimon will now be able to move to purpose-built premises on a new site to continue its work as an internationally renowned contemporary dance company.”

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council said:

“This is good news for yet another one of our Big 8 projects and we look forward to seeing Kent County Council, who are leading the project, working closely with Jasmin Vardimon to take this forward. These are exciting times for Ashford.”

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