Stopgap Dance Company

Stopgap Dance Company create world-class dance productions. They employ disabled and non-disabled artists who find innovative ways to collaborate.

Stopgap value a pioneering spirit and are committed to making discoveries about integrating disabled and non-disabled people through dance.

Difference is our means and our method

As a charitable organisation, they openly share skills and knowledge through performance, professional training, community outreach and publications. They create works for the widest possible audience because they want to shift perceptions about difference and inspire everyone to achieve their potential.

  • Photo by Chris Parkes

    Artificial Things

  • Photo by Chris Parkes

    Artificial Things

  • Photo by Chris Parkes

    The Awakening

  • Photo by Chris Parkes

    The Awakening

  • Photo by Ludovic

    Bill and Bobby

Stopgap’s productions are devised by the company dancers and collaborators, working as an ensemble under the artistic direction of Lucy Bennett.

Our productions seek to offer a window into a parallel world where human interdependence, strength and vulnerability play out with poetic realism.

Stopgap are a British company and work in partnership with Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation. They are also a resident company of Farnham Maltings and University of Surrey.

Contact details

Sho Shibata

Farnham Maltings
Bridge Square
United Kingdom

Artistic Director(s)

Lucy Bennett




Stopgap Dance Company

Trailer for the latest Stopgap Dance Company production, Artificial Things.


Artificial Things (indoor production)

Duration: 90 minutes (including 20-minute interval)
Number of people on road:
5 dancers
2 management staff
2 technical staff
1 access officer
Freight: Freight necessary

Freight details:

Transportation of set with 3.5t Luton Van driven by our staff.

Alternatively, the essential set can be reproduced by local set makers following our specification and instructions, and small props can be sent by excess baggage.


Slowly suffocating in each other’s company, a group of individuals seek escape in a bash of riotous rock-n-roll. However, their wild disorder descends into playground politics and reveals some uncomfortable truths.

In this cinematic and evocative production, Stopgap Dance Company creates a compact world of riddles that question our notions about unity and co-existence.

Scale: Small-Medium Theatre Stage

Extra information

Artificial Things features dancers David Toole from DV8’s award winning film Cost of Living, with Laura Jones, Chris Pavia, David Willdridge and Amy Butler.

The theatre design was inspired by a series of strange and intense paintings by a Serbian artist Goran Djurović, re-imagined by Anna Jones from Curious Space. Chahine Yavrovan’s stunning but disquieting lighting enhances the interplay between light and shadow, with strong highlights sitting next to deep colours. 

Artificial Things is accompanied by unnerving and simmering scores by Christopher Benstead, Jim Pinchen and Andy Higgs. Yoshifumi Inao, former Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company, is the guest choreographer for the opening scene.

Supporters: Arts Council England, Farnham Maltings, Pavilion Dance, PASS Circus Channel (Interreg), The Point – Eastleigh, University of Surrey, Zinc Arts

Stopgap would also like to thank the following artists for their input and support in developing ideas: Company Chameleon, Charlie Morrissey, Thomas Noone, and Rootless Root. Thank you also to Chisato Shemesh for support in rehearsal direction for scene one, David Coll Povedano and Gwendal Beylier of C'ie XY/Les Magnificos for the acrobatics training in scene two and Joop Oonk for assisting Chris Pavia during the devising process.

Bill & Bobby (outdoor production)

Duration: 15 mins
Number of people on road: 2 dancers
1 Support staff
Freight: Freight necessary

Freight details:

Transportation of set with 3.5t Luton Van driven by our staff.

Alternatively, the essential set can be reproduced by local set makers following our specification and instructions.


After a night on the town two revellers awake to find themselves in a bath… Convinced that the party is not over, the two friends play a tipsy tribute to the dancing partnerships of the silver screen. 

Bill & Bobby celebrates a golden time of good old-fashioned entertainment, when dancing together and 'happily ever after' went hand in hand.

Extra information

Production credits

Choreographed by: Lucy Bennett and David Toole

Performed by: Lucy Bennett / Amy Butler / Hannah Rotchell and David Toole

Lucy's body double: Helen Bendell

Special thanks to Joop Oonk for assistance during R&D stage 


Commissioned by

Without Walls with individual commissioning support from consortium partner Winchester Hat Fair


Research and Development Commissioned by

The National Theatre


Supported by

University of Surrey

The Awakening (outdoor production)

Duration: 20 minutes (can be performed twice-a-day)
Number of people on road: 4 dancers
1 technical staff
1 management staff
Freight: No freight necessary

Freight details:



The Awakening is a quiet but simmering disruption in outdoor spaces. Choreographed by learning disabled dance artist Chris Pavia, The Awakening involves four characters trapped in a strange but mesmerising ritual. The Awakening is performed by four disabled and non-disabled dancers.

Commissioned by: The Mayor of London's Liberty Festival with support from Arts Council England

Supported by: University of Surrey and Wellington College

Scale: Small outdoor

Extra information

About Chris Pavia:

Chris Pavia is a dancer with Downs Syndrome, who has been working with Stopgap Dance Company for fifteen years. Stopgap has been supporting Chris' development as a choreographer and helped him to build a portfolio of choreographic works. Following his success in presenting his work at Resolution platform at The Place in January 2013, Stopgap Dance Company has commissioned Chris to make a 20-minute outdoor dance piece for national and international touring.

Having completed a successful UK tour in summer 2014, Chris became the first learning disabled dance artist ever to make work for national touring. 

As an artist, Chris is interested in examining the anxiety of being stranded. He associates this anxiety with his worst nightmare, which gives his choreography hypnotic and dreamy qualities. Through his work, he is telling us that ‘we might be able to get out of this bad dream if we could just wake up’.

This kind of internal discourse makes Chris’ work thought provoking, and it goes some way in changing people’s perspective on the type of work that learning disabled artists can create.

Wrap-around work

Stopgap are committed to sharing their expertise of integrating disabled and non-disabled dancers. Through workshops and publications, Stopgap take their expertise to professional dancers, teachers, students and members of the community. Stopgap are committed to training disabled and non-disabled dancers to establish integrated groups across the world.

Press Comments & Testimonials

Thought-provoking, intelligent, imaginative, powerful

 ★★★★★ TV Bomb on 'Artificial Things'

The security and daring with which they move and the emotional honesty they bring seems second nature

★★★★ The Times on 'Portfolio Collection'


Bold and disarming 

★★★★ Exeunt Magazine on 'Artificial Things'


Exhilarating, emotional and provoking 

★★★★ Edinburgh Guide on 'Artificial Things'

Alongside this flurry of movement, there was an emotional depth that pervaded the work.

★★★★ ThePublicReviews.Com on 'SPUN Productions'

Inventive and visually stunning on 'Artificial Things'


'Acrobatic and captivating storytelling colourful performance with speed, clarity and humour.'

Sundsvall Tidning, Sweden on 'SPUN Productions'


'Everything about the immensely watchable work speaks of channeling individual traits – needs, as well as strengths – into a performing unity that has humour, risk, invention and innovative movement.'

Glasgow Herald on 'Trespass'


An outstanding offering of the day.

El Punt, Spain on 'Corpus'