About us /
The team

Daniela Essart, Artistic Director

Daniela is the artistic director and co-founder of Scarabeus Aerial Theatre. Since 1988, she has directed and co-devised all of the company’s production. Daniela graduated in Theatre and Film Studies at Turin University in Italy, and completed an MA in Performing Arts at Middlesex University. She trained in Physical Theatre with Jacques Lecoq, Philippe Gaullier and Monica Pagneux, as well as acrobatics, stilts, aerial techniques, abseiling and yoga.

With Technical Director Søren Nielsen, Daniela has developed a vision for a performance language that fuses aerial dance and stilts choreography with visual theatre with a narrative. She creates site responsive and touring performances, which have an intensely visceral response to space, place and text. Daniela has worked collaboratively with a range of established and up and coming artists from different fields and has collaborated with companies such as Candoco Dance Company, National Youth Theatre, Little Angel Theatre, Srishti Dance Creations and more.

Read it on The Guardian

Søren Nielsen, Technical Director

Søren is the technical director and co-founder of Scarabeus Aerial Theatre, a long established multidisciplinary aerial performance company, and one of the UK leading exponents of site responsive aerial performance in unusual places. Søren started as a performer specializing in stilt dance, acro balance on stilts and aerial techniques such as trapeze and harness (vertical dance).

In the last 10 years Søren’s work for Scarabeus has involved site specific shows rigged in unusual location such as buildings, trees, tall ships, aerial structures and even a disused satellite dish. Søren also works regularly as a rigging consultant, rigger and trainer for other companies including: WacArts, Walk the Plank, Graeae Theatre and Greenwich and Docklands Festivals, The Circus Space, High Performance Rigging, Wildworks and Battersea Arts Centre, The Generating Company, Gravity and Levity, Emergency Exit Arts, and Cirque du Soleil.

Lise Smith, General Manager

Lise has been working in arts management for over ten years. After completing her Professional Diploma at Laban, Lise worked as a teacher and animateur for organisations including Greenwich Dance Agency, Barnet School Sports Partnership and Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and managed a number of dance education programmes in London and East Anglia. She has worked as a freelance producer and company manager for touring companies including Kate Flatt Projects, Bricolage Dance Movement, Tara Pilbrow Dance. Lise joined Scarabeus in October 2014.

Lise also writes for a number of arts publications including londondance.com, DanceTabs and londonist.com. She was part of the Cloud Dance Festival selection panel in 2010, and one of the Prix Jardin d’Europe judges in 2010. As a choreographer, she makes work for Cambridge Contemporary Dance (CCD), SIN Cru Theatre and a number of youth groups. Very occasionally she can even be spotted performing, most recently with New Art Club (Hercules, 2015).