Initially called Dundee Rep Dance Company (DRDC), Scottish Dance Theatre was created by Royston Maldoom in 1986 as both a community company and a professional company, with the two elements co-existing.
DRDC had three original dancers – Frank McConnell, Craig McKnight and Liz Gardner, along with two trainees – and the company toured widely in Scotland undertaking residencies and performances, winning critical acclaim on a national level. When Tamara McLorg took over the reins at DRDC, she strengthened both strands of the company – the outreach/community programme and the professional performance side – winning the Digital Award for Dance in 1991. Her successor, Neville Campbell, changed the name to Scottish Dance Theatre in 1995.
Janet Smith was appointed Artistic Director in June 1997. One of the most inventive, respected and established dance producers in Britain today, Janet’s work has been described as 'dance about people which speaks straight to the heart of the audience'. Under her direction, Scottish Dance Theatre's size and status considerably grew and the company’s choreography developed a sophistication and maturity, recognized for its originality, clarity and simplicity.In 2004, the company unveiled a new £1m+ state of the art dance studio at home at Dundee Rep Theatre, transforming working conditions for visiting choreographers and Scottish Dance Theatre’s 9 talented dancers. It has also allowed Scottish Dance Theatre to extend links with the local community by offering dance classes to all ages and levels.
Scottish Dance Theatre won the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Company Repertoire (Modern) in 2003 and a Herald Angel Award at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe. Scottish Dance Theatre were also nominated for a Total Theatre Award for The Life and Times of Girl A at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010.In January 2009 Janet won the 2008 Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award. This honours an individual working in dance who has made an outstanding contribution to the artform. After 14 years as Artistic Director, Janet Smith left Scottish Dance Theatre in February 2012 to take up the role of Principal at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Janet's successor, Fleur Darkin, began her role in Autumn 2012.
Fleur Darkin led the artistic direction of Scottish Dance Theatre for six successful and productive years before her departure in November 2018. During which time the company grew and was firmly established as a major force in national and international contemporary dance.
Under Fleur’s direction, Scottish Dance Theatre toured extensively across Scotland and the UK, and to Sweden, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Korea, Romania, Belgium, Serbia, Brazil, Hungary and France, with repeated tours in India, China and Mexico. The company has produced 23 new works and worked with more than 90 artists, growing income by 20% during her tenure.
Highlights of Fleur’s work with the company include SisGo (Edinburgh International Festival), and Innocence (130 performances and still touring). Fleur’s first original work for the company, Miann, was awarded Linbury Prize and Glasgow 2014 commission and featured as part of the cultural program at Brazil Olympics 2016. Velvet Petal, a co-commission by Cervantino Festival (Mexico) and Tramway, will tour the UK again in 2019 and was winner of the 2017 Lustrum Award.
Fleur Darkin commented: “It has been a privilege to work in an organisation that I love, and to have led Scottish Dance Theatre as it has gone from strength to strength as a major force in national and international contemporary dance. It has been an honour to be an ambassador for Scotland and Dundee across the world. I will miss the whole Scottish Dance Theatre team dearly, as I will miss the community of people in our building. Metamorphosis is important for me as an artist and it’s time to grow forwards to new ideas. My thanks to our audiences, particularly our loyal home crowd, stakeholders and to peer artists and colleagues across Scotland whose generosity and high standards make it such an exciting place to work. The Scottish Dance Theatre team’s expertise and commitment have elevated the vision into a beautiful body of work that we all share credit for.”
Scottish Dance Theatre continues to tour extensively in Scotland, throughout the UK and increasingly internationally with recent performances in Greece, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Portugal, China, Dubai, Denmark, Austria, The USA and India.