Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Focus on our National portfolio: Entelechy

  • Date: 18 October 2011
  • Artform: None
  • Area: London
Children and elderly people dancing Dance performance by Entelechy Seven Ages performing company - Southbank Centre, 2010, Roswitha Chesher

Based in Lewisham in south east London, Entelechy works to make art with some of society's most excluded and marginalised citizens. The organisation is one of the 34 new organisations which will join London's national portfolio in 2012.

Entelechy works with elderly people, families who have children with long-term health conditions and complex needs, and young people and adults who have profound and multiple disabilities. David Slater, Director of Entelechy Arts describes the benefits of bringing these diverse communities together saying, 'Some of the most exciting and challenging art is forged from the collision of different worlds and life experiences.'

Entelechy engages people in programmes that place the practice of making and experiencing great art at the very centre of people's lives. As well as using large scale venues such as arts venues, civic spaces and football stadiums, the company brings art into everyday settings from church halls and schools to people's living rooms.

Working in partnership

Skilled in forming strong cross-sectoral partnerships, Entelechy work with arts, health, social care and education partners locally and regionally. Presently, the company is developing work in collaboration with The Albany, Southbank Centre, Siobhan Davies Studios and Freedom Studios in Bradford.

Entelechy is also currently working with the Spitz music collective to creating jazz music and dance events which harnesses the artistic talent of residents in care homes. 'We're exploring ways to make the walls of these institutions porous', says Entelechy Associate Director, Rebecca Swift. 'It's about the careful process of uncovering and nurturing the hidden creative talent of some of our oldest and most marginalised citizens'. 

International partners

The organisation is also working with new international partners. Entelechy's elder's performance company Seven Ages, which features seventy and eighty-year olds from across south London, are now embarking on a two year collaborative partnership with elders from the Casa Das Fases company in the Brazilian city of Londrina. Over the last six months, the participants have exchanged letters, scents, stories and objects and have now committed to a long-term relationship. From this, The Tempest Project, the companies will produce a sequence of real and virtual performance exchanges culminating in joint performances in Brazil and the UK in 2013. 

Members of Seven Ages are also working with seniors from Los Angeles in a series of Skype rehearsals co-devising a soap exploring the perils of transatlantic internet dating when you're in your seventies.

Long-term approach

Entelechy sees the strength of its practice as grounded in its long-term approach. For the last twenty-one years the company has fostered sustained relationships with local people, artists and professional agencies nurturing recognition, respect and trust. Their unique methodology creates a reciprocal learning environment within which the artist is challenged and grows in equal measure with the participant.

Sarah Sansom, Relationship Manager in London's combined arts team, describes Entelchy as a welcome addition to the London portfolio, saying 'Entelechy's unique approach to participatory arts and engagement brings diverse communities together for original artistic experiences.'