John Ashford was the first theatre editor at Time Out. He subsequently became Manager of the Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre, at a time when it was producing the early plays of Sam Shepard and Caryl Churchill, and Richard O'Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. He was then appointed Director of the Theatre at the ICA, promoting seasons of experimental theatre, performance work and new rock bands. In 1985 he brought the Canadian dance company La La La Human Steps to London.
As Theatre Director of The Place in London from 1986-2009, Ashford was instrumental in the growth of contemporary dance's popularity in the UK. He established the theatre as Britain’s busiest dance venue, promoting the early works of companies including DV8, Adventures in Motion Pictures and Wayne McGregor Random Dance, and presenting the first UK performances from international artists such as Wim Vandekeybus, Sasha Waltz and Rui Horta. In 2004 he created The Place Prize, a biennial choreography competition which is the richest and most prestigious in UK dance.
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