Announcing the new Dance Futures Advocate

Theatre Bristol has long recognised the need for intensive development to enable dance to flourish in the city. In 2016 we stepped up our thinking and planning to help make this happen, talking to loads of people connected to dance in Bristol and the South West about their needs and priorities, and the gaps and opportunities they’re seeing right now – you can read the results of that research in Dance Futures 2 and see the draft audit of Bristol dance.

The Dance Futures Steering Group (DFSG) grew out of this investigation: a group of organisations and independents able to commit time and resources to taking dance development forwards, building on the bedrock of recent research. We represent the input and interests of a much wider range of stakeholders, and aim to do so in an open, non-hierarchical way.

The Dance Futures Advocate role is the next stage of this development, with the aim of focusing on action and advocacy in Bristol and nationally. The DFSG are delighted to announce the appointment of Ruth Hecht as the Dance Futures Advocate.

We thought we’d give Ruth the chance to introduce herself:

I’m thrilled to be Bristol Dance Futures Advocate. Bristol’s dance ecology is incredible – there is such a diverse mix of dance taking place in the city, from companies touring internationally to people dancing in local community centres.

I’ve lived and worked in Bristol for many years, so I’m coming into the role with my eyes open, and feel really positive about what can be achieved to ‘join the dots’ between Bristol’s dancers and people in the wider cultural sector – not to mention in other contexts such as health, education and community development.

I’ve been embedded in the arts since the early ‘80s when I started my career by working for a community theatre and publishing company in Dorset. Since then I’ve always focussed on working with artists to produce high quality experiences for people who traditionally don’t access the arts. I have always flitted between being self-employed as a producer / arts manager and being employed. Some of the organisations I’ve worked with and for are: Arts and Health South West, Knowle West Media Centre, Community at Heart, Dorchester Arts Centre, Bristol Culture, St. Paul’s Carnival, the Misfits, Desperate Men, Avon Community Arts Network, Arts Council England, at- Bristol, and City of Bath College. 

Over the years I’ve produced and managed artists; programmed performance, exhibitions and events in diverse and unusual settings; and supported the arts sector through research, strategic planning, and advocacy. 

When I’m not embroiled in the arts I’m swimming (slowly), growing veg on my allotment, enamelling copper pots, researching Bristol’s connections to the transatlantic slave trade, and (currently) learning Arabic.

Do get in touch if you want to know more about what I’m doing in my new role as Bristol Dance Futures Advocate.

If you’d like to get in touch with Ruth you can contact her on

More about the Dance Futures Steering Group

The group consists of Pavilion Dance South West, Theatre Bristol, Tobacco Factory Theatres, In Between Time, Circomedia, Trinity Community Arts, independent dance artist Laila Diallo and independent producer Katy Noakes.

Steering group members are committed to investing in the Dance Futures Advocate. In 2018 primary investment comes from PDSW and Theatre Bristol with additional support from Tobacco Factory Theatres and Circomedia.

January 2018