Choreographer & Director - Simon Birch

Simon Birch Dance enables me to pursue my passion for choreography and work with a growing team of collaborators.
I trained at the Northern School of
Contemporary Dance after which I 
performed in works by Nigel Charnock,
Liv Lorent, Gill Clarke, Emilyn Claid,
Herve Jourdet and others.

As a choreographer I have not only devised
my own projects but have also been
commissioned by, among others,
Akram Khan, C Scape Dance Company,
Freefall Dance and Verve. My work has been
toured throughout the UK and abroad.
I have worked across art forms, most notably collaborating with visual artist Trish O’Shea, creating work that used film, text, movement and visual imagery.
In 2014 I collaborated as a choreographer on cross-disciplinary research project Transmission with Becs Andrews Company. The live performance of this work was presented at the York Festival of Ideas in 2012 and the Transmission film was premiered in September 2012 at University of Salford’s College of Science & Technology's two-day ‘Disease Ecology’ conference, hosted at MediaCityUK in Manchester.
My most recent outdoor work Terrarium – Dance in a Bubble, which was performed inside a 4.5m diameter globe and designed for outdoor locations, toured throughout the UK. Performances of Terrarium took place across the North York Moors National Park, Central London as part of the City of London Festival, Sheffield and Leeds as part of imove and Big Dance, Hull Freedom Festival and in Cornwall as part of the SALT landscape/dance Festival 2013. 

Dancer: Emily Dobson
Photography: Steve Tanner





James Southward trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance graduating with first class honours degree and the Carole Woolridge Award for Performance. On leaving NSCD he joined Simon Birch Dance. He has recently performed with Janis Claxton, James Wilton Dance, Tamsyn Russell, Gary Clarke and Scottish Dance Theatre.
Isabel Singerland trained at Rotterdamse Dans Academie, Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She has performed with MiddletonCorpus, Simon Birch, Mimmo Miccolis and Monica Nicolaides (Monix Arts).
Emily Dobson is a dance artist based in Cornwall. She is a founder of Freefall Dance Company. She has performed with Cscape Dance Company, Kneehigh Theatre and Attik Dance. She works as a choreographer and in this role has worked across artforms. Her dance for camera work has toured Budapest and Russia as part of the ArtKino Film Festival.


Antony Waller is a producer and presenter of dance, working with touring dance companies, presenting venues and theatres and a range of cultural organisations. He has 30 years experience of working in the UK dance industry, having managed dance development agencies in Yorkshire and Cornwall as well as countless dance-based projects and programmes in National Trust properties, castles, lakes, beaches and even mines He is co-Director of Dance Republic 2, a dance organisation based in Cornwall and curates SALT, a festival of dance in the landscape.    


JON HUGHES composer

Anthony Middleton was an international level acrobatic gymnast, competing as a member of the British squad in many international competitions (winning World Bronze Medal, 2003). He trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (Leeds), graduating in 2010. After his graduation, Anthony joined BalletBoyz touring works by Russell Maliphant, Freddie-Opoku Addaie and Jareck Cemerek. In 2012 Anthony joined Motionhouse Dance Company, touring the production 'Scattered' in the USA and China. He has also danced with companies/ choreographers: Tanz Lucerne Theater (Switzerland) and Cas Public/ Helene Blackburn (Canada). Anthony began creating work under the company name of 'theMiddletonCorpus' in 2010. His most recent creation for 'Momentum Youth Dance Company' ("More than flesh and bone") was performed at the U.Dance 2014 National Platform.
Jon Hughes is a composer, sound designer, sound artist and researcher based in York. At present he is a postdoctoral research associate working on the Sountracks project at the University of York in the Department of Music and the Department of Archaeology. This cross-departmental 2 years project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, examines using sound to explore landscape biography specifically at the Creswell Crags archaeological site in Nottinghamshire. Recent composition work includes Terrarium (2012/13), a dance installation created in collaboration with choreographer Simon Birch, and A Cornish Soundscape, a soundscape installation created for the ceremony to inaugurate Dawn French as the first Chancellor at Falmouth University. Recent sound design work includes a new play and theatrical production Demons (2015), created with Common Ground theatre. Recent publications include Sonic Horizons of the Mesolithic: using sound to engage wider audiences with Early in the journal World Archaeology, May 2014.


Polly Motley trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and was part of 4D – the London Contemporary Dance School’s postgraduate performance company. She has performed with Fin Walker, Kneehigh Theatre, Cscape Dance Company, The Royal Opera, Thea Sharrock, The People Pile, Jorge Crecis, Tom Jackson Greeves and many more.


Ruth Pethybridge is a dance artist, choreographer and facilitator. She has delivered dance in diverse  settings with all ages: from babies to the elderly. Her practice emphasises creativity in choreographic processes, finding ways to form people’s unique choices and ways of moving into performance work. Ruth is currently based at Falmouth University in her third year of a practice based PhD researching cross-generational dance performance. In 2011 Ruth worked alongside Rosemary Lee as rehearsal director on ‘Square Dances’ for London festival Dance Umbrella. Ruth also continues to make choreographic work and perform with Cecilia Macfarlane and Crossover Intergenerational Dance Company, whose pioneering work was the inspiration for her area of study.
Since graduating from Bretton Hall in 2000 other projects have included working with Oxford Youth Dance, Anjali Dance Company, Big Dance London, and Pegasus Theatre among others, and in roles such as Education Co-ordinator for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. In 2006 she gained a distinction for an MA Dance Cultures, Histories and Practices and went on to receive the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship for Research into Movement and Dance; travelling to Argentina to study Tango and its use in palliative care. Her subsequent article ‘Un Abrazo Sin Tiempo’ was published in 2008. Ruth has presented her academic work at key conferences. Ruth facilitated the first ‘Age Inclusive’ National College for Community Dance course in 2008 for the Foundation for Community Dance, and authored the corresponding handbook. 

CLAIRE INGLEHEART musical & choir  director

Claire Ingleheart is a composer, musical director, multi-instrumentalist, choir director, workshop leader and associate lecturer at Falmouth University.  With 25 years experience working in theatre and playing in bands she has worked with Wild Works Theatre, Michael Sheen, The National Theatre, Nottingham Television Workshop, Travelling Light, Horse and Bamboo, Dodgy Clutch Theatre, Braga Tanga, The Underbelly and Femmes de la Mer.
An experienced performer, composer and arranger, Claire also leads two community choirs, The Suitcase Singers and The Ingleheart Singers, both of whom are taking part in Shoreline.

SARAH WALLER education director

Sarah Waller is a Creative Producer and Educator specialising in performance and community celebrations. Her work is a combination of installation, dance and creative curriculum development. Sarah works collaboratively with teams of artists, performers, teachers, young people and families.
After finishing her degree at Middlesex University (Dance and Education (QTS) Hons), Sarah founded Cupids Crafty Arrows Dance Education Company, creating and performing work in Primary schools across Yorkshire and Humberside.
In 1997, Sarah moved to Cornwall and began developing creative education projects in schools across the county. In 2001, Sarah became an Advanced Skills Teacher, recognising her achievements in primary education and dance. Sarah has worked as a Consultant to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority after pioneering dance projects in small rural primary schools that shifted perceptions about performance in schools.
Sarah has worked closely with ‘Creative Partnerships’ in both Cornwall and the West Midlands, developing a range of programmes that support schools and teachers to think differently about education, working alongside creative practitioners to raise the aspirations and achievements of young people. Sarah went on to become the Dance Advisor for Worcestershire County Council, and has recently been part of a national pilot project exploring how to engage families in cultural activity. This was developed in partnership with Croome Court (NT), in collaboration with artists, photographers and families from the local community. Sarah is also an Associate Lecturer with Plymouth University, teaching Dance as an art from within Education. Sarah has worked extensively with heritage organisations, including ‘The British Museum’ where she developed and directed ‘Virtual Hurlers’, a digital performance project, working closely with the learning team, curators and young people to explore one of the top ten treasures of the museum, ‘The Rillaton Cup’.


DEBBI PURTILL dancer & company teacher

Debbi Purtill is a dance technique and yoga teacher, performer and choreographer who trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Her performance career spans 25 years and has encompassed both dance and theatre, working with choreographers, directors and visual artists including Nigel Charnock, Herve Jourdet, David Massingham, Paul & Menno Nooijer, Alan Lyddiard and Becs Andrews and includes a career long collaboration as a performer and teacher with Simon Birch Dance.
During the past 14 years she has been a dancer and rehearsal director with balletLORENT, performing in many of their works to date including: ballet in Shriek; The Ball; La Vie; The Ferryman; la nuit intime; Angelmoth; Designer Body; Rapunzel and The Night Ball and in 2014 she was appointed Associate Director with the company.
In the early 90’s she taught technique and choreography for the HND in Dance at Newcastle Upon Tyne becoming course leader after two years. She founded her own company,Debbi Purtill Dance in 1995 touring her own work regionally and nationally.
Debbi has taught and choreographed extensively across the UK and during the past 10 years she was a dance lecturer at NSCD where she developed and refined her teaching of Graham based technique.
Her continued professional development has included studying with yoga teacher Godfri Dev and most recently completing her MA in Professional Dance Practice.