Project information

The Awakening - New outdoor work by Chris Pavia

Chris Pavia is a choreographer with a learning disability, who is creating a contemporary dance piece for major outdoor arts festivals of summer 2014. He will be the first learning disabled choreographer ever to make work for national touring. For more information visit

January 2014 - May 2014

Charity information: Stopgap Dance Company

Stopgap Dance Company logo
  • Need


    The UK dance sector currently has no learning disabled choreographer working professionally. They are often overlooked because they struggle to articulate their ideas, which unfortunately promotes the prejudice that their work lacks depth and the ability to give audiences an artistic experience. Learning disabled arts cannot rid of these prejudice because they lack the right kind of support to develop their art and a platform to present their work to prove their capabilities.


    Stopgap is a specialist in nurturing talents of disabled artists, and Chris is a key success story of the company. He has the support of our Artistic Director and the creative team who are capable of comprehending his vision and help him make it come to life. Stopgap has the funding from Arts Council's Catalyst scheme and already received much interest from major players such as Salisbury Arts Centre. He will have a national tour in 2014, which will significantly change negative perceptions.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To support Chris to make an outdoor dance piece of a high standard.


    » Stopgap's Artistic Director Lucy Bennett will mentor Chris. Lucy created two outdoor dance pieces in 2009 and 2011 for national & international tours.
    » Chris will work on Stopgap dancers, composers and designers who understand his artistic vision. Having the right team ensures that he will succeed.
    » The creation of the new piece will take place between January and March 2014.

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by receiving good feedback from audiences and review from sector colleagues.

    Aim 2

    To have his piece performed at least 15 times in summer 2014, and 10 more times in 2015


    » Stopgap, who have good contacts with outdoor festivals and venues, will produce this new work. We have already received strong interest from 9 venues.

    What success will look like

    Success will be measured by meeting this target.

    Aim 3

    To change perception of the type of work learning disabled choreographers can make


    » Stopgap has the right partners for advocacy. Chris' work is set for performances at key events such as Liberty Festival and Carousel's symposium.
    » Liberty Festival is the Mayor of London's festival for disabled artists. This is a high profile event that has had a huge influence on positive change
    » Carousel are holding a symposium at The Brighton Dome to discuss how to promote works by artists with LD. Chris' work will be performed there.
    » Stopgap is in conversation with other key events who can support our advocacy efforts. We will announce these partners in due course.

    What success will look like

    To have repeat bookings for Chris' work in summer 2015, and for these festivals to engage in a conversation with us about commissioning more learning disabled dance artists.

  • Impact


    To influence festivals and agencies to invest in identifying and nurturing choreographers with learning disabilities, and for them to increase the number of commissions for learning disabled dance artists. Stopgap will liaise with organisations such as Mencap.


    This is Chris' first major project, and there is significant pressure. Stopgap is dealing with this risk by making a team that can support Chris to succeed.


    Funders of this project will receive a monthly email report on the project detailing the ongoing and forthcoming activities, and any necessary changes that have been made to the project plans.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £19,690

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £13,190 Mounting costs 4 weeks of fees for dancers, access workers, composers, designers, mentors and production crew
      £5,000 Production costs Costs for studio hire, material for set and costume
      £1,500 Marketing costs Costs for creating flyers, promotional videos and advocacy documents

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Arts Council England, NPO £4,000 Guaranteed
    Liberty Festival £2,000 Guaranteed
    University of Surrey (support in kind) £2,500 Guaranteed
    Salisbury Arts Centre & The Point (via Arts Council's Catalyst Scheme) £3,000 Guaranteed
    Access to work £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Creation will take place at The University of Surrey and Farnham Maltings. After the creation, it will go on a national tour.


    Outdoor arts reaches out to a cross section of the population, as they happen in public spaces. In 2012, Stopgap reached 19000 audiences. The project will also benefit emerging dance artists with learning disabilities, as this project will open up new avenues for them.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    With Stopgap Chris has developed his dance and choreographic skills by working with established choreographers such as Hofesh Shechter. We have also given Chris some opportunity to nurture his talent in choreography through smaller projects. He has presented these works at The Place in 2008 and 2013, receiving good reviews and feedback. These act as good evidence that Stopgap can nurture learning disabled artists. We also have good sector connection to ensure that he can make substantial impact.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Chris Pavia

    Chris will be the choreographer of the new piece. He has been building his portfolio of choreographic work for the last 6 years.

    Lucy Bennett

    Lucy will be Chris' mentor. She is the Artistic Director of Stopgap and has been the main instigator of developing talented disabled artists.

    Sho Shibata

    Sho will be the producer of this project. He has successfully produced two outdoor shows, both having toured nationally and internationally.

    Stopgap Dancers, Composer, Designer And Production Crew

    We will allocate 4 dancers from Stopgap, a composer, a designer and a production crew who work with Chris regularly. They all understand how he works.

Pavia's work had sure-footed dancing that reached an accord of an indelible closing image

Donald Hutera (Dance Critic of The Times)