The Perse School

Kenneth Tharp OBE (1978)

Kenneth is a key figure on the contemporary dance scene. He danced with the internationally acclaimed London Contemporary Dance Theatre and other leading companies during a 25 year career as a performer, choreographer, teacher and director.

From September 2007 to November 2016, Kenneth headed The Place, the UK’s leading centre for contemporary dance development. As Chief Executive, Kenneth had responsibility for the overall leadership, strategy and management of the organisation, acting as the public face of the organisation, and as an ambassador for The Place’s work. He is now working as a freelance arts professional.

He served on the Board of the Royal Opera House from 2002–2010 and is currently a Trustee of the Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund and sits on the Cultural Learning Alliance steering group. He served on the UK Council of the Creative Industries Federation 2015-16. He is a Patron of Akademi. He was a finalist in the inaugural Black British Business Awards (2014), and a judge for the 2016 awards. He appears in Who’s Who. In 2003 he was made an OBE in recognition of his services to dance.

In September 2015 Kenneth was named among the Evening Standard’s annual Progress1000 list of ‘The 1000 most influential Londoners 2015’and is in the 2017 Powerlist of Britain’s 100 most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage.

Kenneth frequently presents as a keynote speaker in a variety of contexts from schools to leadership courses, industry related events, and the corporate sector. He is a champion of dance, the arts, cultural learning, creativity and diversity, and has been a keynote speaker for Google and Thomson Reuters Black History Month events, and Speakers for Schools.

In September 2014 he came out of retirement as a dancer to appear in The Elder’s Project at Sadler’s Wells. The cast reunited to perform at the Southbank Centre in April 2015 and in Malmo, Sweden in September 2016. The work was nominated for an Olivier Award.

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