About/ John Darvell

Artistic Director & Choreographer

John Darvell is a gay man from a working class background in the North East. Throughout childhood he endured the harshness of school bullying and despite his potential only scrapped through education.  Escaping to London in 1987 he started a career path that led him not into the arts but the civil service. He spent much of his early career conforming rather than pursuing his passion to dance and make art.


John’s professional journey into dance began in his late 30’s after taking the courageous risk at 37 to retrain in contemporary dance, leaving the security of day-to-day office work. He has spent the last 10 years forging a remarkable approach to creating and choreographing work, bringing a strong aesthetic from his years as a visual designer. With a thirst for challenging what is deemed normal or traditional, he brings his humour, talent and determined creative spark to any project. His story is an inspiration for anyone coming to dance later in life.


After graduating from Laban in 2007 and initiating NOCTURN he has focused on creating accessible digital dance work and immersive online events, utilising social media to engage audiences. His programme of community outreach work is renowned for inspiring and engaging both young and adult dancers. His desire to overcome barriers in what ever form they may be is the key focus for the company.


John has written articles for People Dancing, the National Dance Teachers Association, and his educational work has featured in publications such as Kidscape - ‘How to create kind schools alongside contributions from Dance United and 2Faced Dance. He was on the Board of the now disbanded National Dance Teachers Association. A regular teacher at the industry event MOVEIT hosted in London each year.


A successful applicant for the Clore Leadership Programme Intensive (Short Course) a pioneering initiative to develop and strengthen leadership across cultural and creative sectors in the UK. John is excited about the opportunities that this training has given him to expand the work of the company.


He has often been a guest on BBC Berkshire and Oxfordshire radio.