Director of the Copenhagen International Theatre
Davies has a total of 30 years as a festival programmer and organiser of 44 international festivals and initiator / head of 9 national and international arts organisations, 5 of these were indeed founded by him.
Born of German and Welsh parentage and brought up in Germany, North Africa and England, Davies was originally educated as a Town Planner at Nottingham, England, 1968-72. After a short period at Manchester City Council, he relocated to Denmark where he has been based since, apart from 2000-2006 when he returned to England.
Davies has held many posts and appointments concurrently. He has served on the National Theatre Council, acted as Chairman of the Danish Council of Culture and has twice been awarded the highest civil awards by the Danish Queen in 1990 and 1996 (“Ridder” and “Ridder 1 class” ). He is also a “Chevalier des arts et des letters”, an award made by former French Prime Minister Jack Lange. In 2006 he was awarded the leading arts award in Denmark, the William Hansen Award for life long achievement in the arts.
After relocation to Denmark in 1973 he initiated the public arts programme of the first independent arts centre in Denmark, Huset, Aarhus, in 1977. He ran this until 1978. Autodidact in the field of the arts and with scantly knowledge of Danish he managed not only to survive but to place the centre at the core of the contemporary youth culture of the time with a full programme of more than 400 pubic events per year.
From 1978-90 he was arts officer for the Albertslund New Town, Copenjagen, and also acted as an arts consultant for the region of Copenhagen. At the, same time he initiated – as a private venture - a programmes of international theatre in Copenhagen and this resulted in the first and probably most important theatre event of the decade - the first “Festival of Fools”. With 5 festivals following this until 1985 and more than 200 companies from 30 countries this was the start of 25 years of international programming and more than 1,000 dance, performance, theatre companies from most of the globe.
Copenhagen International Theatre still maintains an innovative role in the arts scene of the country and CIT has initiated a number of groundbreaking series such as Dancin’ City from 1990-1996 and the series of “Images” festivals from 1991 which profiled arts and culture form non western cultures. The success of the first three “Images of Africa” festivals created the basis to set up The Danish Centre of Culture and Development in 1998 under the Danish Ministry of Culture (a similar organisation to Visiting Arts in the UK), and since then he has served on the board until 2000 and following this, acted as advisor for DCCD, including acting as arts programme co-ordinator for DCCD’s Images of The Middle East festival in 2006.
Parallel with his engagement in CIT, Davies was invited to be director of The Aarhus Festival from 1985 -1990 which gave this broad arts festival a more contemporary and international profile. This culminated in 1990 with the first European focus on the “new” Eastern Europe with “ A Window To The East”.
In 1989 he advocated for three centres in Copenhagen - one for contemporary dance, one for music and one for theatre. After succeeding in securing the backing of the media and arts organisations, the city accepted this and the first centre was opened in 1990 with Davies as director. The Kanonhallen Theatre became the leading space for innovative performance in the country.
Following this, Davies took up the post as director for Copenhagen European Capital of Culture in 1992. The largest of the Cultural Capital programmes to date, the programme was based on a regional collaboration with 42 local authorities and with an operating budget of €150 million plus a budget for investment of more than €200 million which facilitated some 22 permanent structures in the city, including the Arken museum of contemporary art, the Vega rock venue, the Photography Gallery and many others.
With a total audience of more than 11 million in the year, the project launched networks, new festivals and new arts institutions and this managed to buck the curve of a downwards spiralling investment in the arts in the city. Following this, Davies was responsible for the National Cultural Foundation – which funded experimental and for innovative projects, and he also resumed his work with CIT on a full time basis. In 1996 CIT launched a major series of Sommerscene programmes which ran until 2006.
He relocated to England in 2000 where he acted as director of the Salisbury Festival until 2004 when he was invited to set up a new literary based institute in Norwich - The New Writing Partnership, a collaboration between The City if Norwich, Arts Council England and The University of East Anglia.
In 2006 he returned to Denmark with his family and is now engaged in CIT and a number of freelance ventures, plus lecturing and consultancy. Since writing a report “Cultural diversity and the arts support system in Denmark” this theme has dominated much of his current work.
He has just led the launch of a new 10 year programme from CIT entitled Metropolis. The programme was initiated in the summer of 2007 which opened this year and which will link artists in a number of major world cities on the them on urbanity and the city, looking at the interface of arts and architecture in the context of the city. Cities to be involved in the project include Marseilles, Istanbul, New York, London, Beirut, Berlin.
Queen of Denmark Award 1990 and 1996 (“Ridder” and “Ridder 1 class” )
France: Chevalier des arts et des letters
Danish Cultural Award: William Hansen Award for life long achievement in the arts (2006)
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
The SEAS Platform 2008-2010
(02 December 05 - 31 December 10)
(19 January 05 - 19 January 07)
(26 April 04 - 26 September 04)