Cheshire Dance leads the artistic provision and support of dance across Cheshire, championing diversity as a source of creativity and the critical role of dance artists in public engagement.
Taking place during the first weekend of October each year, Cheshire Dance’s flagship event, Now Northwich is a free, large-scale International Dance and Street Arts Festival that brings together community, youth and professional artists – local regional, national and international. The programme runs across various outdoor sites throughout Northwich Town Centre and Barons Quay, and attracts an audience of local residents and visitors of over 27,600.
Festival programming takes place between Jan and March each year. Showcasing international, national and local artists, Cheshire Dance also champions diversity in its programming, participation and audience engagement. Alongside the touring programme, it hosts a Youth Zone, co-produced by young people and a family-zone.
Cheshire Dance commissions new dance work as part of the festival and particularly welcomes north-west based artists, Black, Asian and culturally diverse artists and disabled people who work in outdoor, urban environments to get in touch.
Why we joined Without Walls
Now Northwich is a dance-led festival that presents a wide range of dance and street arts work for outdoor, urban environments, ambitious in scale and diverse in content for family audiences.
As such, Cheshire Dance is delighted to form part of the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership (TNP) not only to benefit Now Northwich audiences but also to offer WoW supported artists the opportunity to showcase their talent right in the heart of Cheshire.
Cheshire Dance remains committed to increasing the appetite for outdoor arts in the area and values the peer support available through the Touring Network Partnership. The vast range advice, discussion, visits and resources available through Without Walls means Cheshire Dance is better able to meet the challenges of and opportunities for talent and audience development and in producing a growing festival.
The Cheshire Dance team
Now Northwich is produced by Cheshire Dance Director, Adam Holloway and programmed by Creative Director, Jane McLean. Both Jane and Adam have a passion for inspiring people from diverse backgrounds to create, learn and experience dance and particularly enjoy working collaboratively and in partnership with other artists and organisations.
Cheshire Dance Events
Since 2018, Now Northwich has gained significant popularity and has been cited as: “an incredible festival that uses arts and culture to animate and inspire in the public realm” and “I’ve lived here for 60 years and never have the streets been so busy” and “Now Northwich is the jewel in the town’s calendar.”
Supported with funding from Arts Council England and Cheshire West and Chester Council – and with an additional 13 partners that come together to finance, support and collaborate on the event, Now Northwich has become a highly anticipated occasion for organisers and local families alike.
An external assessor of the 2019 festival described their impressions of the audience: “I saw closeness, laughter, intrigue, friendship, connection.”
Audiences at Cheshire Dance
Now Northwich attracts a diverse audience of all ages from both the local area and further afield. A free family-friendly festival, Now Northwich sees children and adults immerse themselves in the performances (both watching and participating).
The festival prides itself on being ‘accessible for all’. It has an Accessibility Policy in place, which it looks to build upon in coming years. In addition, Cheshire Dance places substantial focus on striving to attract families from local areas of low arts engagement.
Over the past three years, audiences have come to ‘expect the unexpected’ and delight in experiencing exceptionally high-quality experiences free of charge – right on their doorstep.