The Mayor of London officially opens
English National Ballet’s new home in East London
- English National Ballet’s new state of the art home will provide a world-class centre for ballet in East London
- £1million from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund towards the new purpose-built home will generate jobs and apprenticeships for people in the local community
- The 93,000-sq ft. new home houses a production studio with fly tower, seven full-sized studios, state-of-the-art wardrobe and medical facilities and public spaces
English National Ballet’s purpose-built new home in Canning Town East London, was officially opened last night by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and is now open to the public.
The 93,000-sq ft. state-of-the-art building gives English National Ballet the space and facilities needed to continue to develop world-class artists, create new works that push the boundaries of ballet, and offer new jobs, skills and training opportunities for local communities.
While visiting the new premises, the Mayor of London saw a performance of the Olivier Award-nominated Playlist (Tracks 1,2) created by William Forsythe for English National Ballet and performed by 12 of its dancers in the new five storey production studio, fully equipped with fitted fly tower.
Also on view were the seven full-sized studios and dedicated engagement and learning spaces showcasing English National Ballet’s work with local communities, including a rehearsal from young members of ENBYouthCo. The Mayor of London also met participants in English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme and Dancing East, a programme of weekly ballet classes for over 50’s.
The Mayor also learnt about English National Ballet’s plans for an apprenticeship programme in its extensive wardrobe workshop and met some of the company’s dancers, production and wardrobe staff to hear more about its transformational new facilities.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London is a city full of creative talent so I’m delighted that these world-class facilities are opening up opportunities to all Londoners. By enabling the community to practise alongside internationally-renowned professional dancers, these new spectacular studios not only showcase our capital as a world leader for ballet, but help improve the lives and wellbeing of Londoners from all backgrounds.
“It shows the positive impact that culture can have on our communities and, with work on East Bank already underway, is the latest step towards creating a global cultural powerhouse in East London. This sends a clear message to the world that London is open to talent and creativity and always will be.”
Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: “Our new home is a hub for creativity, where imaginations will be ignited. It will be a springboard where artists from all disciplines can meet, grow, exchange, and inspire each other, creating work that can be shared with audiences up and down the country and across the world.
“It is a space where everyone can feel welcome, where we can increase our engagement with our local community, and where people of all ages, young and old, from all backgrounds can enjoy our art form.
“I truly believe that this is the best ballet centre in the world, which will transform the way ballet is created and open up the creative process to our audience.”
At four times the size of its former building in South Kensington, English National Ballet’s new home allows the company to open up the creative process for more people to participate in and benefit from the powerful art form of dance. The building, which has been designed by Glenn Howells Architects, has been designed to welcome in the local community, with views into the rehearsal studios, an exhibition space and café.
The Company’s work in the local community has already seen Dance for Parkinson’s taster sessions held in Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge and Havering and its Dancing East programme runs weekly ballet classes for over 50’s in five community centres in Tower Hamlets. A roadshow of youth workshops will be held in community centres across East London to support a recruitment drive for the ENBYouthCo and the Company’s youth dance projects and Ballet Explored workshops focusing on Akram Khan’s Giselle begin in secondary schools.
The new home will become the focal point for ballet in the capital and on the world stage. It is the latest cultural centre to move to East and will be joined on London City Island by the London Film School. Future East London culture developments include East Bank, and the planned education district at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Mayor of London invested £1million through his Good Growth Fund towards English National Ballet’s new building. With the support in creating exceptional facilities, the Company has the tools to launch our ambitious Bridging Neighbourhoods, Growing Talent project. Included in this is a skills programme that will provide training, apprenticeships, volunteering and learning opportunities for 4,000 Londoners over the next three years. This funding will also support new jobs at the facilities, supporting London’s creative industries to continue to grow.
English National Ballet’s new home on London City Island is also generously supported by Arts Council England’s Large Scale Capital Programme.
Claire Mera-Nelson, Acting London Area Director, Arts Council England said: ‘We are delighted that English National Ballet (ENB) are unveiling their new home on London City Island, which we supported with National Lottery funding. This new industry leading facility is future proofing their ability to develop world class artists and performances now and for generations to come. We look forward to seeing the impact on the local community the centre will have, how it will broaden offerings for children and young people and further their flagship Dance for Parkinson’s programme to people across east London and beyond.”
The project received significant philanthropic support from individual donors and charitable foundations including the Clore Duffield Foundation, Dorfman Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Linbury Trust, London Marathon Charitable Trust, Wigoder Family Foundation and Wolfson Foundation. The Costume Atelier is supported by CHANEL. The shell and core of the building was generously donated by EcoWorld Ballymore.
English National Ballet School move into their spaces at the new building this winter.
English National Ballet 2019-2020 Season
- English National Ballet says ‘Thank You’ as it celebrates its 70th Anniversary
- Akram Khan to create second full-length production for English National Ballet
- Le Corsaire returns with performances at Milton Keynes Theatre and the London Coliseum
- Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella to be performed in Manchester and Southampton
- The Company’s first full Season after moving to their new home at London City Island
- Mayor of London awards £1million grant through his Good Growth Fund to support English National Ballet’s ‘Bridging Neighbourhoods – Growing Talent’ project
- English National Ballet appoints first Medical Director to maximise the benefits of the new building’s state-of-the-art fitness and rehabilitation facilities
2020 marks English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary with celebrations taking place throughout the 2019-2020 Season that give opportunities for the Company to say, ‘Thank You’ to its audiences, fans, friends and partners.
The 70th Anniversary will be celebrated with three special Gala performances at the London Coliseum featuring extracts from a diverse range of repertoire spanning English National Ballet’s history.
Tamara Rojo CBE, English National Ballet’s Artistic Director said: ‘Our 70th Anniversary Gala performances are a rare opportunity to showcase in one place a huge variety of brilliant work from our extraordinarily rich history. This will be a Gala that celebrates the sheer love of dance, both on and off the stage, that has been part of our vision from the beginning. Throughout the three performances we will be bringing together as many people as possible from the English National Ballet family, on stage and in the audience, to celebrate and give thanks for the generosity of all who make this the very special Company it is. Alongside the Gala, we want to make sure we thank our audiences and partners throughout the season and will do so in a variety of creative ways.‘
Celebrating and thanking its touring communities, English National Ballet will give away 70 tickets during each run in every city it tours to. Working with its partner venues, these tickets will be distributed to individuals who are making a positive impact in their community. To thank its audiences and fans, English National Ballet will also give a ‘Golden Ticket’ for a special English National Ballet experience to one audience member per performance throughout the season. Opportunities will include behind-the-scenes tours, complimentary tickets, and meet and greets. Further details and additional events to be announced throughout the season.
English National Ballet will mark its 70th Anniversary having moved into a new home at London City Island, Canning Town. This state-of-the-art building, designed especially for English National Ballet and English National Ballet School and featuring a theatre size production studio fitted with fly tower, allows for the 2019-2020 Season to be shaped with a renewed commitment to, and freedom for, creativity and ambition.
Renowned choreographer Akram Khan returns to create a second full-length production for English National Ballet following the success of Giselle. Taking inspiration from Mary Shelley’s literary classic, Frankenstein, Khan’s new ballet, titled Creature, is influenced by essential questions on ambition, human endeavour and morality. Creature is co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, London, where it will premiere in April 2020.
Akram Khan said: ‘Since I was a child, I have been obsessed and fascinated with the story of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. The outcast, the monster, or the stranger has always been a common theme in my works. But in this new creation, I am looking further into the areas related to the sense of abandonment, rage and loss. Having made Giselle on English National Ballet in 2016, I am extremely excited to create a new full-length work with them.’
Tamara Rojo said: ‘Akram is an extraordinary artist, with an exceptional vision and inquisitive, inspiring mind. His masterful choreography is like no other and he has the skill to use his unique language to craft a narrative that asks some of the most challenging questions faced by the human race right now. I am looking forward to working with Akram and his team again and excited to see where this exploration takes him and the company in what will be our third project together.’
The 2019-2020 Season will also see the return of Khan’s first full-length collaboration with English National Ballet, Giselle, with performances at Sadler’s Wells in September, with English National Ballet Philharmonic. Co-produced with Manchester International Festival and Sadler’s Wells, the critically acclaimed reimagining of the iconic ballet received its world premiere in 2016 and has since been seen live by over 80,000 people through tours to nine cities, both in the UK and internationally. Giselle has also been broadcast in cinemas and was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray.
For the first time, there will be an audio described performance of Giselle at Sadler’s Wells this autumn, making the ballet accessible to visually impaired people. Based on the original audio description created by Audio Described Aotearoa as part of the Auckland Arts Festival, a description of the action as it appears on stage will be given as well as an on-stage ‘touch tour’ ahead of the performance, in which participants are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with costumes and props through touch.
Continuing its commitment to UK touring and presenting world-class ballet to the widest possible audience, Autumn 2019 sees English National Ballet present three acclaimed ballets, Cinderella, Le Corsaire, and Nutcracker, on tour.
Following Christopher Wheeldon’s restaging of Cinderella for in-the-round performances at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2019, English National Ballet will bring the proscenium arch version of this sparkling ballet to audiences outside of London in Manchester and Southampton. This inventive production combines magnificent sets and costumes, beautiful choreography, and Prokofiev’s sublime score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Having delighted audiences around the world with tours including Japan, Paris, and Spain, Autumn 2019 sees Le Corsaire return to Milton Keynes six years after its 2013 premiere in that same city, before performances at the London Coliseum in January 2020. The only UK company to perform the complete work, English National Ballet’s production was staged by Anna-Marie Holmes and features sets by Hollywood designer, Bob Ringwood, and a sweeping score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Tamara Rojo said: ‘Le Corsaire is a spectacular ballet that gives us another opportunity to showcase the extraordinary talent that is present throughout the entire Company right now. There is a physical power and brilliant dramatic presence in this generation of dancers, and I am looking forward to seeing them take on these roles which I think they will relish and have such fun with, and I think audiences will too.‘
Continuing its Christmas tradition of presenting a Nutcracker production each year since 1950, English National Ballet’s Nutcracker will tour to Liverpool ahead of performances at the London Coliseum. Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score is performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. Since its premiere in 2010, this festive family favourite has been seen by over 660,000 people, and continues to attract new audiences, with 70% of 2018’s audience members first time attenders at the London Coliseum.
English National Ballet remains committed to developing and nurturing talent within the company. Emerging Dancer, which returns in Spring 2020, recognises the excellence of the Company’s artists through an annual celebration that sees six finalists mentored by their peers to perform in front of a panel of eminent judges. The winner of Emerging Dancer is announced alongside the People’s Choice award and the Corps de Ballet award, introduced to recognise the hard work and dedication of an exceptional member of the corps.
Developing the ballet audience of tomorrow, English National Ballet and English National Ballet School’s My First Ballet series takes a popular ballet title and adapts it in time and length, making it accessible to children as young as three. Since 2012, over 290,000 people have seen a ballet from the series. 2020 sees a new version of My First Ballet: Cinderella performed on tour in the UK.
International ballet star, Brooklyn Mack, will perform with English National Ballet as a Guest Artist during the Autumn-Winter 2019-2020 Season. Mack last performed with English National Ballet in 2016, in Le Corsaire.
Taking the very best in British ballet to audiences across the world, English National Ballet tours Akram Khan’s Giselle internationally next season. Following tours to Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in June 2019 and at the Chekov International Festival on the Bolshoi Theatre stage in July 2019, English National Ballet will take this stellar production to the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona in April 2020, and to the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris in July 2020 as part of the festival Les Étés de la Danse.
Plans for English National Ballet’s Summer 2020 performances will be announced later this Spring.
The Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund supports English National Ballet’s Bridging Neighbourhoods – Growing Talent project
The Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund has committed to a £1million grant to support English National Ballet’s move and their East London focused project, Bridging Neighbourhoods – Growing Talent. Through this project English National Ballet will share its new world-class cultural infrastructure on the Lea River Estuary as a multi-disciplinary creative hub for active participation and skills development, and as a catalyst for bringing communities together through the sharing of culture.
The project will generate 8 new FTE jobs, 20 new Associate Artists and deliver a new skills development programme that provides training, apprenticeships, volunteering, residences and learning opportunities for 4,000 people over the next three years with a focus on recruitment from the local area and across East London.
Patrick Harrison, English National Ballet’s Executive Director, said: ‘This grant is greatly valued in supporting our ambitious aims as we make our move to East London. As the cultural anchor on London City Island, we will use public spaces, exhibition and shared workspace, a costume-making workshop and production studio to bridge relationships with creative partners and local communities, and make space available for learning, apprenticeships and employment.‘
Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: ‘We are pleased to support English National Ballet in its new home at London City Island, and that the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund has helped unlock significant wider benefits from this project. I’m confident our support will translate into a programme of local learning and employment opportunities in the future for Londoners in this area and across the capital.’
English National Ballet’s Capital Fundraising Campaign: English National Ballet also announces today generous support from the Dorfman Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Rothschild Foundation, 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, alongside donations from individual supporters.
Thanks to this and to early supporters of the project including Arts Council England, Linbury Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wigoder Family Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Clore Duffield Foundation and Wolfson Foundation, £34million of the £36million needed to build English National Ballet and English National Ballet School’s new home at London City Island has already been raised.
To raise the final £2million, English National Ballet’s fundraising campaign continues, with a new capital campaign microsite launched today. Every donation facilitated by the microsite contributes towards equipping the new home with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, from sewing machines for the costume workshop, to mirrors for the studios, to treatment beds for the health suite.
English National Ballet’s Capital Campaign microsite can be found here: donate.ballet.org.uk.
English National Ballet appoints first Medical Director: Continuing its commitment to its dancers’ health and well-being, English National Ballet has appointed Andy Reynolds as Medical Director, a new role within the organisation which leads on the provision of science and medicine to all dancers at English National Ballet.
Reynolds joins the company from Harlequins Rugby Football Club where he was Head of Medical Services and brings with him extensive experience as a medical lead having managed all aspects of medical care for the First XV Premiership team and other squads within the club. His role saw him act as lead diagnostic clinician and manager of a large multidisciplinary team delivering medical and rehabilitation provision.
The Medical Director will work to maximise the benefits of the new premises state-of-the-art fitness and rehabilitation facilities which include a gym, Pilates studio, hydrotherapy pool and treatment rooms, implementing processes and strategies to allow English National Ballet’s dancers to prepare, perform, and recover to the best of their abilities.
Tamara Rojo said: ‘The appointment of a Medical Director is integral to our ambition to establish English National Ballet as a renowned centre for medical, fitness, and injury rehabilitation provision in the dance world. I look forward to welcoming Andy to the team as we strive to further invest in the health and well-being of our dancers in a way that supports their artistic development, so they can reach their full potential as artists.‘
For more details about ENB performances and how to book tickets
English National Ballet’s 2019-2020 Season:
Akram Khan’s Giselle
Sadler’s Wells, London
Wednesday 18 – Saturday 28 September 2019
Box Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.ballet.org.uk/giselle
Palace Theatre, Manchester
Thursday 17 – Saturday 19 October 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3019 or www.ballet.org.uk/cinderella
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Wednesday 23 – Saturday 26 October 2019
Box Office: 02380 711811 or www.ballet.org.uk/cinderella
Milton Keynes Theatre
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 November 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or www.ballet.org.uk/lecorsaire
Wednesday 27 – Saturday 30 November 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3017 or www.ballet.org.uk/nutcracker
Wednesday 11 December 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020
Box Office: 020 7845 9300 or ballet.org.uk/nutcracker
Wednesday 8 – Tuesday 14 January 2020
Box Office: 020 7845 9300 or www.ballet.org.uk/lecorsaire
English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary Gala
Friday 17 – Saturday 18 January 2020
Further details to be announced
Creature by Akram Khan
Sadler’s Wells, London
Wednesday 01 – Wednesday 08 April 2020
On sale details to be announced / www.ballet.org.uk/creature
Further details to be announced
My First Ballet: Cinderella
Further details to be announced
Akram Khan’s Giselle
Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona
Wednesday 22 – Saturday 25 April 2020
Akram Khan’s Giselle
Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris
Further details to be announced