RPS Drummond Lockyer Fund for Dance

As long as there has been music, there has been dance. The Royal Philharmonic Society is proud to help composers and choreographers bring exciting new works to life, through the RPS Drummond Lockyer Fund for Dance.

Recognising the increasing challenge and expense of staging dance with live music, we hope the Fund will enable practitioners to activate plans that may not otherwise have been possible, making a difference to their progress and profile.

It began life in 2007 as the RPS Drummond Fund in memory of the writer, broadcaster and lifelong dance aficionado Sir John Drummond CBE. In the years since, it has supported a range of collaborations between composers and choreographers, as detailed here. It was set up by John’s longterm partner Bob Lockyer OBE, himself a major force in British dance for decades. Sadly Bob died in June 2022 and you can read our tribute to him here. In recognition of all Bob himself did, and his relationship with John, the fund now bears a new name: the RPS Drummond Lockyer Fund for Dance.

We are very grateful to Bob for a gift he left in his Will to ensure the Fund may continue for some years to come. When such funds have been received by the charity, we will be able to announce what we can offer to projects this year. Please revisit this page and follow our social media @RoyalPhilSoc for updates, and thank you for your patience in the meantime. For now, here are details of last year’s terms and process for reference, which may change slightly next year but are expected to broadly remain the same.

Who can apply?

UK-based professional dance artists, choreographers, companies, festivals or venues with at least two years’ standing, looking to commission a composer to write new music for performance that will involve live instrumental musicians or singers.

Alternatively, the application can come from a composer so long as they have plans and performance outcomes taking shape with a choreographer and dancers.

Applicants should express why a project like this will have worth for themselves and/or their company and their audience, and what they hope to achieve with it that they have not previously.

What sort of composer?

The composer may be an early-career or established artist but must have some proven acumen for writing music of character and distinction for live instruments or singers.

If you would like to undertake a project like this but would like our help suggesting and introducing a composer with whom you could collaborate, we are happy to chat, to see if we can help in any regard. The RPS has a 200-year history of commissioning outstanding composers dating back to Beethoven and would be pleased to tell you about composers whose creative aspirations may ally with your own. Please contact us about this in good time before preparing your application, if needs be.

How should the grant be used?

We recognise that all practitioners are different. Some may simply value the means to pay a composer to write music for them. Others might want to devote some initial funds to research and development, so a composer and choreographer can experiment and test new ground together, before embarking on a piece. Others may need help to hire musicians and stage the ensuing performances, or capture it digitally to share with wider audiences.

In your application, you should give us a picture of all your major project costs, how you would like to assign the RPS Drummond Fund’s support to these, and where you intend to find the remaining funds.

You can apply for up to £10,000. (This may change in future years, to be confirmed.) Our advisory panel may decide to fund one application outright - or more than one in full or in part - depending on the range and size of applications received.

What performance outcomes are expected?

For this Fund, we do expect projects to culminate in performance with live musicians and an attending audience. It is unlikely that we would support a project that culminates in just one performance. We generally expect there to be several performances either in an initial run or planned for later stages after the premiere.

We are also keen to ensure that funded works endure in some regard, so ask all applicants to express how they may achieve this, either through a number of performances, by a commitment to adding the work to their repertory, and/or through creative digital capture which may be used to market the work, interest future promoters or so it may be seen online for posterity.

Your first performance should ideally fall within two years of the closing date for entries, but do let us know if, for any legitimate reason, you anticipate it may be after this.

What do we ask in return?

We principally ask that, at every reasonable opportunity around the premiere and future performances, as well as online and in the work’s score, it is acknowledged that the work was commissioned in partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Society with funding from the RPS Drummond Fund. A set of guidelines for such acknowledgement is presented to the recipient with their grant offer.

How can I apply?

We aim to keep applications straightforward. Your submission should be no more than three pages, bound in one PDF.

In this, please

  • tell us about your project, including details of the composer, choreographer, company (if applicable) and any other key artists, and what you collectively hope to achieve.
  • tell us about your intended performances (with provisional dates / venues if known), how you intend to market these and how you hope to ensure the work endures, for instance through further performances, engaging digital or other lateral presentations of the work.
  • indicate what funds (up to a maximum of £10,000) you are seeking, providing a budget for the overall project with an indication of what within this you would like to be funded by the RPS, and where you intend to find any remaining funds required.

You should send your PDF submission to the Royal Philharmonic Society by email.

2022 applications for the Fund are now closed. We expect to re-open applications in 2023.

If you submit your application well in advance of the closing date then find your plans have changed, please note we cannot accept emailed changes or updates: you should instead resubmit your application entirely, before the closing date. We cannot accept any applications or updates after the closing date, but understand that the detail of applicants’ projects may continue to evolve. Those to whom we offer grants will be asked to let us know any further updates at that stage.

If you would like any guidance in making an application, or to establish if your plans are eligible for consideration, you may contact the RPS team by email at admin@philharmonicsociety.uk or phone on 020 7287 0019.

Please note, applications are considered by an advisory board comprising experts in the dance and contemporary music professions, and their decision is final.


The RPS has a long tradition of supporting composers, dating back to Beethoven. We are only able to keep helping composers thanks to a generous family of individual donors, trusts and corporate sponsors, and initiatives such as the RPS Drummond Lockyer Fund for Dance. If you would like to help us to bring more new music to life, please do contact us on admin@philharmonicsociety.uk.

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