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The Shopkeeper


A thought-provoking duet that uses contemporary dance and comedy to explore the relationship between one man’s struggle between his outward-facing persona and his inner-battle with depression.

Project in development - Premiere Spring 2021


About the project...

The project revolves around two ambitions. 

Firstly, the investigation of a collaboration between contemporary dance and comedy.

Secondly the desire to create a piece touching on mental health issues - specifically depression.

The creative questions will explore how the two media, can complement each other; how spoken words and movements can be combined to create a unique language to raise the issue, engage with the audience and open a dialogue on a topic that needs to be openly discussed.

In this intent, the project will explore the development of a poignant duet, where one actor and one dancer give life to funny and relatable characters through comedy and dance, while underlying some darker societal problems. 

The narrative starting point sees two shopkeepers at the back of their store. Everything seems normal, but looking at it closer, it gets more and more unusual… 

Only at the end, the audience will realise that the man has been on his own all along and the woman only a personification of the depression that he suffers from; portraying the silent, solitary, relentless battle happening in his head.


About the outreach...

This exciting project will make a priority to reach out and engage with a wide and diverse audience. 

Throughout the research and development, the artists will organise outreach visits in mental heath charities and groups as well as in sports centres, bringing dance and theatre in new fields.

Workshops, classes, conversations and invitations to sharing will be put in place, gathering feedback and making sure the work remains relatable and accessible to a broad audience.

A call-out campaign will be put in place to develop a way to connect audiences with the creative process, asking for their input, to share stories of mental health and their relationship to the topic.


About the partners...

The project is supported by experienced and highly qualified partners on both creative & managerial aspects who will ensure its fulfilment and the standard of its outcome.

Spin Arts

Spin Arts, Director Sarah Shead and Associate producer Rosie Watt, has over 12 years of combined experience producing, fundraising, marketing and managing successful artistic projects from national/regional schemes to a range of GFA / Lottery funding projects.
Sarah’s background is in professional development at Dance4 and Yorkshire Dance, and has produced touring shows with companies such as DeNada Dance Theatre, Hagit Yakira Dance and Tell Tale Hearts.
Rosie Watt has worked with clients such as Non Applicables, Earthfall, Kapow, Surface Area Dance Theatre, and has previously worked in marketing, admin, and dance teaching roles for Dance City, and as an assessor for Total Theatre Awards at Edinburgh Fringe in collaboration with The Place.

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Kala Sangam

Performing venue in Bradford, featuring high-quality local, national & international artists from a variety of cultural heritages:

· Brings best choreographers & composers

· Works with artists to offer tailored support to their needs (free rehearsal space, organisational development, writing fundraising applications, performance opportunities, technical support, meeting room space)

Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance is a charity which champions the value of dance and its development in Yorkshire.
We create opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance.

Leeds City College

Leeds City College is one of the UK’s largest FE establishments, offering a diverse curriculum to more than 20,000 students.


 Inkwell work as a project is based on developing creative skills whatever an individuals background or ability, as an integral part of the journey towards recovery from mental health issues.

It encourages personal expression working with adults 16-65+. Creativity can play a significant role in helping people recover and maintain a robust mental health. 


About the future of the work...

This activity is the beginning of a long-term plan Sandrine has to establish herself as a Yorkshire based contemporary dance choreographer & company.
This activity is invaluable to Sandrine’s artistic development as a director, dedicated to reaching new and hard-to-engage audiences across the UK, in dance/theatre venues, particularly reaching many who have not seen contemporary dance before.
Sandrine has begun to establish wider connections including Mental Health charities and groups such as Inkwell, the creative arm of Leeds Mind and sports communities.
With the support of her well-connected dance network in Leeds and in the UK, she is aiming at reaching a wide and diverse audience and present accessible, relatable and high-quality work.