Described by The Stage as one of the UK’s finest dance companies, Herefordshire based 2Faced Dance are an all-male touring professional dance company who deliver accessible, inclusive and affordable workshops at their city centre studio and in schools and community centres across the county. The company was launched nearly 25 years ago to ensure high quality dance opportunities for children (from 4 – 18) and adults living in rural Herefordshire, and they have reached thousands of children in their lifetime as a result, many of the earliest participants now returning and signing up their own children to the workshops they once enjoyed. Their Patron is Dame Arlene Phillips CBE.
WHY THEY SIGNED UP
“We feel we have a voice – and that the hundreds of people we work with each month have a voice – and we should use it to drive positive change,” explains their Company Administrator Miriam Watts. “We love the idea of being part of something in Herefordshire that brings organisations across sectors together to take stock, share best practice and build the momentum. Like everyone, we want to find the balance so we can continue to deliver the benefits of what we do, while working to do that in a sustainable way. We want to make our environmental impact part of our legacy. That means looking at things which aren’t always the easiest option, or the cheapest option for a dance company, but which are the right option.”
The company has thought long and hard about the environmental impact of the work it does (here in Herefordshire and as they tour across the UK and internationally) and how they can make positive change and have mapped out their commitment on their website.
“We secured funding with access and the environment front and centre,” explains Miriam. Their rented home – the Centre for Movement – is housed in the city’s old magistrate’s court on Gaol Street (a listed building) so not without its own ‘green’ challenges. But the company has invested in energy-reducing LED lighting for its workshops and to take on tour, created a bike shelter to encourage participants to cycle to the Centre, and bought an electric vehicle to cover all the miles they do delivering workshops across the rural outreaches of the county. “And we are big on borrowing, recycling and reusing – everything from sets to props to costumes,” says Miriam. “But it’s the smaller things, too. We source food locally when we offer refreshments, use environmentally friendly (and refillable) cleaning products in our centre, and, of course, encourage everyone who comes here to bring reusable water bottles.”
The environment and their impact on it is, says Miriam, part of the company’s introduction to anyone coming into their workshops, and their priority when they’re working outside the county.
“We have a green rider which ensures we’re working with organisations (festivals, theatres etc) who are also considering the environment. We look at everything from recycling policies to heating in the dressing rooms (making sure it’s not switched on ahead of our arrival) to catering (to discourage over ordering, for example, or to monitor how venues deal with leftovers – sharing food rather than disposing of it). If they don’t have those policies in place then it encourages them to think again, but in this sector it is on everyone’s radar right now. There is a sense of community in our industry, a desire to make positive changes.”
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“A lot of our participants are younger, so this is a priority for them,” adds Miriam. “They are so invested in what happens now and for their future. We want to demonstrate the immediate impact they can have in the actions they take, but also create a momentum for the long game. We want to underline how asking questions, challenging policies, making their voice heard when they leave our classes – even if it doesn’t deliver an instant fix – can drive change for the future.”