Nonsuch History and Dance was founded in 1966 by Peggy Dixon as a performance company and in 1976 it gained charitable status to pursue its educational work. Since then we have worked throughout the UK fulfilling our mission to use the dances of history to teach, train and entertain. Nonsuch works with a wide variety of cultural, heritage and educational organisations across the country on a broad range of events. Whether developing bespoke dance projects with local communities, presenting theatrical shows, running schools workshops or bringing history to life in stately homes; historical accuracy and high quality entertainment are blended in a unique and engaging format.
Under the artistic directorship of Darren Royston, in 2008 the company presented a sell out show, Love’s Proper Exercise, at St John’s Smith Square, London. For further information on our more recent events click here.
We span eight centuries of dance within our repertoire, moving from medieval to 1950’s jive. Our dancers and teachers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, some professionally trained, some trained through our own programme of classes, workshops and summer schools.
We work wherever possible with live music, but also have a comprehensive collection of recorded music that accompanies the manuals, recorded by specialists in early music, on period instruments.
We create and maintain elaborately detailed costumes for performance and teaching, and work with early musicians to create an authenticity in performance that is mesmerising to watch, but equally absorbing to participate in.
With Nonsuch, history is colourful, vivid and comes alive before your eyes.
The company takes it name from Nonsuch Palace, which was located southwest of London. The palace was built by request of the Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII, and the builders recycled materials from the medieval monasteries that had recently been suppressed. When the palace was completed, around 1540, it was named Nonsuch, as it was considered to be like no other palace in England. "There was nonsuch like it."