IRIE! dance theatre is the UK's leading dance theatre company delivering creative, educational and artistic activities in African and Caribbean dance. Based in the historic Moonshot Centre in South London, IRIE!'s mission is to support the personal wellbeing and community cohesion of the diverse population in its local area through dance.
The organisation has two distinct but interrelated strands of activities: a wide-ranging community offer across diverse dance styles for young people, adults, families, and older people; and a comprehensive education, training, and professional development offer spanning schools workshops, a degree programme, masterclasses, and residencies for emerging dance artists.
Like many arts charities, IRIE! historically relied predominately on grant funding from trusts and foundations to cover its costs. With looming cuts to these traditionally secure funding sources and a desire to adapt to its business model to include more fee-based income, the organisation wanted to develop a diverse portfolio of income, particularly through growth of its BA (Hons) Degree Programme in Diverse Dance Styles and through increased room hires in the Moonshot Centre.
IRIE! approached the cultural Impact Development Fund with a request for an unsecured loan of £1000,000 to invest in equipment and technology to enhance its programme projectors and speakers for its dance studios, additional books for its library with an electronic security system, student lockers, an upgraded IT system, and cosmetic changes to the building.
IRIE! earns income through its BA (Hons) Degree Programme and room hires in the Moonshot Centre, as well as grants to support programme activity.
This investment will provide a modern and well-resourced centre for degree students to pursue their studies, offering comparable resources to other nearby universities and in particular to the University of Roehampton, which validates the programme. It will also make the degree programme a more attractive offer, supporting IRIE!'s goal of increasing the number of registered students. The building improvements will also allow IRIE! to better leverage the building for room hires to local businesses and community organisations.
Ultimately, the increased income generated from the degree programme and the room hires will contribute to IRIE!'s financial health, and resilience, providing subsidy for its mission-critical programmes and services, and ensuring that it can continue to serve as an anchor in its local community.