In 2016, Nigerian-British Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp was one of almost 300 British actors, musicians, writers and artists that signed a letter calling for the UK to stay in the EU but that appeal fell on deaf ears as Britain eventually decided it wanted out of the European Union. This year, Tharp is making news as one of those appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizbeth II for his services to Dance. He received an honour as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003.
Until last year, Tharp was Chief Executive of The Place. Commenting on his planned departure, from the organisation, Kenneth said, “It has been a great privilege to serve the organisation that helped to shape me as an artist and to work alongside so many deeply committed and talented colleagues. For nearly 50 years, The Place has played an unrivalled role in nurturing and supporting artistic talent and bringing inspirational and adventurous dance to audiences. I have no doubt that the next 50 years of The Place will be as rich and as bold as the last 50.”
According to The Place’s Chairman, Thomas Lynch, Tharp who graduated (1st class) in Contemporary Dance in 1987 has been a great ambassador for The Place and has worked tirelessly to widen dance’s horizon.
Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp was born to an English mother and Nigerian father. He worked largely as a choreographer, teacher and director and as Lead Artist & Artistic Advisor for The Royal Ballet School’s Dance Partnership & Access Programme and Assistant to the Head of Contemporary Dance at Millennium Dance 2000. He is also on the Board of Trustees at the Royal Opera House.
He was a judge at the BBC Young Dancer 2015 Category Finals and has been named in six successive Powerlists of Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage.
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