South East Dance's former Artistic Director, Jamie Watton, was incredibly passionate about the artists who make the dance sector such a vital force in the UK’s cultural landscape. When he died suddenly in July 2018, we launched a fundraising campaign in his name to help complete his vision for The Dance Space – a new home for dance in South East England.
Almost exactly two years since Jamie’s death - and with the arts and cultural sector in crisis - we are relaunching The Jamie Watton Fund, this time to directly support South East dance artists affected by COVID-19.
The vast majority of artists in this country are self-employed. When COVID-19 hit, many of them lost their incomes overnight. And whilst a great number have received emergency funding, many have fallen through the cracks.
Our free Artist Advisory sessions have offered artists a space to talk about how they are coping. Some are struggling to pay their rent and are finding it difficult to pay bills and buy food. Many have been unsuccessful in receiving emergency funding and did not qualify for support from HMRC or other Benefits and Financial support.
Sadly, if our artists aren’t supported, they will be forced to seek jobs elsewhere. If that happens, we risk losing the lifeblood of the dance sector.
That’s why we’re relaunching the Jamie Watton Fund. We want to raise at least £10,000 to offer immediate support to those dance artists who are facing a very real struggle to make ends meet, so they can survive this crisis and continue to work in the dance sector.
Please help us to help them by donating what you can and by spreading the word amongst anyone in your network who cares about the future of dance.
To find out more and to watch our film highlighting why The Jamie Watton Fund 2020 is needed right now, visit our Blog:
Credits: Artist - Valerie Ebuwa, Photography - Luar Klinghofer Bar Dov