Press Story

24 Jan 2024

We have learned with great sadness that Emma Gladstone OBE, a pioneering and highly respected leader in the dance world, died on 22 January 2024, after a short illness, at home and surrounded by her loving family.

Emma Gladstone was a hugely respected senior arts advisor and programmer working in cultural and creative industries worldwide.

As well as being internationally celebrated for her exquisite taste and incisive acumen, Emma was a joyful collaborator who was loved by artists, colleagues and audiences alike. Her infectious laugh, delicious wit and kindness made her a cherished friend and mentor.

From 1997 - 2003, Emma was Associate Director of The Place's theatre programme, and a much loved and respected colleague.

Clare Connor, Chief Executive of The Place, remembers:

Emma was an exceptionally talented individual, and we were so lucky that she chose dance and dance chose Emma.

Truly passionate and inspirational she was a trailblazer in everything she touched from her career in dance performance to her work as a producer, director, and curator… with an infectious laugh, her love of dance was unstoppable and the depth and breadth of her intricate knowledge, softly and lyrically spoken.

Widely admired, her beauty and intelligence were so perfectly matched - it was hard not to be in awe of her - and with her calm collectedness she made everyone feel safe and welcome. Her accumulative experience was to be reckoned with, as was her sharpness of wit...Emma did not suffer fools!

I am deeply grateful for her visible leadership in dance as a woman and a mother - forging creative experiences and participation for families in dance theatre, operating where no one had gone before. I was able to move with my son in his first dance experience at the age of three... all part of Emma’s artistic vision realised In collaboration with Lucy Moelwyn-Hughes for “Make it Shake it!” at The Place.

I am grateful for her wonderful collaborative spirit, her fierce determination to produce and support innovative contemporary dance work for new audiences - together with Kiki Gale we went on a three-year co-production adventure - East London Dance, Sadler's Wells and Stratford Circus in the creation of “Varmints” with Wilke Branson. With that signature fountain pen and graph paper with which to plot and plan, she made it fun too!

But it was Emma’s love of dance artists that made her a notable force. Her innate ability to search out interesting artists, to build frames and new platforms and at the helm of Dance Umbrella as Artistic Director, she took flight. And even then, so seamlessly she forged a succession plan…paving the way for Freddie Opoku-Addaie to lead on with invention and innovation.

Her passing is an unfathomable and untimely loss for her loving family and friends…and the shock across the dance sector is unsurprisingly palpable - she has knitted us all together with life affirming memories in a myriad of unforgettable ways.

We love you so EG

Frauke Requardt

I feel incredibly indebted to Emma. Beautiful, gorgeous Emma.

She generated plenty of opportunities for me to grow and develop as a dance maker and she did this with grace, humour and gusto. There was always an air of possibility and lightness there when she was around.

Most importantly, she, together with Kate McGrath introduced me to David Rosenberg. She helped us make our first big outdoor show together as Requardt and Rosenberg. I remember us all driving around London together and her climbing over fences to look for a decent piece of wasteland for ‘Electric Hotel’. We had a dress-run in the middle of the night in the pouring rain watching from the open boot of her car. She was up for it all!

I am so happy to have known you, Emma.

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