Sharon Watson - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre

After previously studying at London School of Contemporary Dance, Sharon graduated from the BPA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance at NSCD in 1997.

Sharon Watson is the seventh Artistic Director of award-winning Leeds-based company Phoenix Dance Theatre. Throughout her illustrious career, she has won numerous accolades including 'Yorkshire Woman of the Year' 2016, and has maintained her commitment to improving diversity within the arts by supporting the creative voices of women and black and ethnic minority artists.



Sharon was one of the first female dancers to join the originally all-male award-winning Phoenix Dance Company. She toured with the company between 1989 and 1997 and choreographed Never Still and Shaded Limits during this time.

Sharon left Phoenix to pursue various other ventures, including setting up her own company ABCD, before returning to assume the post of Artistic Director in 2009. Since then, Sharon has choreographed Fast LaneMeltNever 2 StillRepetition of ChangeTearFall and Windrush: Movement of the People. From 2015-2018, she also worked as the chairperson of the Leeds 2023 European Capital of Culture bid.

Sharon has received numerous accolades in recognition of her strong leadership and contribution to arts and culture in the North of England. In 2010 the Cultural Leadership Programme recognised Sharon in their ‘Women to Watch’ list, and in 2016 she won the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement in Business Award. She received the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts’ Companionship Award from Sir Paul McCartney, was recognised as one of Grant Thornton’s ‘100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy’ in 2017, and was on the Northern Power Women Awards’ 2017 Top 50 Power List. In 2018, NSCD awarded Sharon with an Honorary Fellowship, the highest award the School can currently bestow.

Headshot by Jack Thomson

Windrush: Movement of the People performance image by Brian Slater