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Assis Carreiro MBE

A key figure in the performing arts, with a specialisation in dance, Assis Carreiro is an international cultural entrepreneur working for over four decades with individuals and organisations around the globe.

Passion, energy, commitment and a thirst for developing and nurturing talent and innovative creative initiatives & partnerships have made her a respected key player in the national and international cultural scene.

From 2012-2014, Assis was Artistic Director of Royal Ballet Flanders, where she rejuvenated the award-winning company, with a merger with the Flemish Opera and the development of new repertoire, including creations by Slava Samodurov (Romeo & Juliet), Edward Clug, Ashley Page and Jacopo Godani as well as introducing works by Wayne McGregor, Alexander Ekman, Jiri Kylian and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

Assis was Artistic Director & Chief Executive of DanceEast from 2000–2012. She led the organisation through a period of reorganisation and expansion. Her legacy there is the iconic Jerwood DanceHouse, the cultural cornerstone of the largest urban regeneration project in the East of England on the Ipswich waterfront.

Her career also spans recent experience in government as Cultural Strategist for the High Commission of Canada, London and Director of Culture for the Delegation du Quebec in London.

She has served as Head of Strategic Planning & Development for New English Ballet Theatre. In 2015, she was Creative Producer for Dance UK’s first industry-wide international conference; and Creative Researcher on Digital Dance for The Space.

During 1998/99 Assis was dance programmer at DasTAT in Germany for William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. From 1994-96, she was founding Artistic Director of DanceXchange in Birmingham and went on to work for Wayne McGregor|Random Dance and as Fund Raising Executive at The Place. Prior to moving to the UK in 1994, Assis was Director of Education, Community Outreach and Publications for the National Ballet of Canada .

Assis is Trustee of Rambert Dance School, Project Animo in Australia and Eastern Angles Theatre Company in Suffolk.  She has been an advisor and assessor to Australia Council, Arts Council England, Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council, and Scottish Executive and served on Sir Brian McMaster’s Sounding Board Review for Supporting Excellence in the Arts: From Measurement to Judgement.

Assis was born on the island of Sao Miguel in in the Azores, Portugal, and raised in Canada and as lived in Europe since 1994. She studied ballet and dance for many years and holds a BA (Honours) from Canada’s York University and an MA (Distinction) from Surrey University in Guildford. 

She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from Suffolk College, University of East Anglia and has been a Visiting Senior Fellow in Dance in the School of Arts and Humanities of University Campus Suffolk. 

In 2014  Assis was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for her services to dance.

Assis lives in Mistley, England with her family and two cats. Away from the desk, she spends a lot of time in theatres and art galleries and in the Pilates studio. She is an avid reader, loves travelling the world and collects books and ceramics.

Photo: Sylvaine Poitau


"Assis is incredibly helpful and generous with her time, and aided me greatly in forming a concrete foundation for the next steps both for me and for my shows."

Rebecca Perry - Performer/Producer

"I had the great privilege of being mentored by Assis last year (2019) at two international dance and performance festivals.  Assis’ extensive background and network of relationships within dance in Europe and North America helped me gain a picture of what I was getting into even before I arrived!  She is someone who really listens.  Her thoughtful guidance around shows and places to explore, and people to meet, helped shape my experiences. And best of all, through our conversations she prompted me to reconsider something I had decided against – and she was right!"

Heidi Strauss (she/her) - Artistic Director, adelheid, Toronto, Canada

"Learning from Assis in Edinburgh last year was an incredibly formative experience for me as a producer.  Assis was able to offer me tangible skills on how to sell a show which resulted in me selling my show to a producer in Colombia.  Assis not only provided me with skills for the Edinburgh fringe, but also she provided me with skills that have continued to benefit my work as a producer since then.  Learning from her quickly excelled my career as a producer in a very short period of time and I would highly recommend learning from her"

Tai Amy Grauman - Director, Actor, Playwright, Producer, Canada

“We worked with Assis Carreiro prior to and during Edinburgh Fringe 2019, and her mentoring and coaching helped to prepare us to meet with and cultivate relationships with presenters and producers at the festival. Assis helped ground and focus us, was always available to soundboard, and was instrumental in connecting us with people who would be interested in our work.”

Catherine Magowan and Spy Denomme-Welch - Co-Directors, Unsettled Scores, Toronto, Canada

"Connecting with Assis was the best thing I could have done in my position as a theatre producer and a mentor of young theatre artists. Assis consistently went above and beyond, whether it was making unscheduled time for me or my students, or connecting me to arts organizations, producers and artists. She offers a wealth of knowledge and invaluable advice, and her compassion for the struggle and challenges of a first-time producer at EdFringe was a life preserver in a massive ocean of unknowns."  Kelly Daniels  - Director, Creator, Educator 

"Assis has an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise in the wider arts sector. As somebody coming from an arts organisation I had much to learn and understand about the freelance world in dance. Thanks to Assis’ mentoring I have already learnt so much, I feel more confident in my capabilities and know that I can always turn to her for guidance."

Stina Quagebeur - Associate Choreographer, English National Ballet

"As a mentor, Assis understood who I was and helped me grow as a choreographer and widen my horizons. Not only has she an impressive network but her expertise helps me keep my eyes open not to miss any opportunity and establish a strategy to keep growing. I feel so well taken care of thanks to her availability and kindness."

Constant Vignier - Choreographer & Former Dancer, Scottish Ballet

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