Memories in the Making

December 22, 2009 at 11:31 am (Friends News, Fundraising) (, )

2009 has been a wonderful year for Northern Ballet Theatre and a chance to reflect on our many achievements over the past 40 years. We asked some of our contacts in the press to tell us about their favourite NBT moments and memories and these are just a few:

Jayne Regan’s amazingly poignant Juliet – when she curls into a foetal position at her death the audience sat in stunned silence, apart from sobs, before the roars of approval; the moment when the thunderstorm breaks and the rain pelts down over the body of Tybalt and Lady Capulet; Jeremy Kerridge’s dazzling Mercutio and inimitable Scrooge; Denis Malinkine gliding down the staircase in the Brotherston designed Dracula; Keiko Amemori dancing in despair as doomed Butterfly in Nixon’s powerful solo; the marvellous score for A Christmas Carol with its live voices and final snow scene; the inventive sets and Miss Havisham perched on her conch-like tower in Great Expectations; Jonathan Olivier smouldering in leather as Heathcliff; the train puffing out of the station and all the brilliant slapstick of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Michael Pink’s haunting Strange Meeting.

I will never forget when I was with the company in Istanbul with Romeo &Juliet and we heard of Princess Diana’s death. Christopher came on stage in the amphitheatre overlooking the Bosphorus and paid tribute to her. It was pouring with rain and thousands of people were wearing plastic macs provided by the venue and all you could hear was dripping and sobbing. The next day we went to the British Consulate for a service. Members of the orchestra played and in the book of condolence Massimo Moricone wrote: “Amor Vincit Omnia”.
Stephanie Ferguson
Dance Critic and member of the Critics Circle

I remember the first time I saw NBT’s Dracula when it premiered in 2005. It was also the first ballet my partner had seen and he came out of it absolutely entranced. I love it when I invite someone who has never considered going to see dance before and they come out of it inspired and completely transformed in their views. The absorbing sensuality of NBT’s Dracula remains a sure hit for such occasions.
Ali Schofield, Leeds Guide, Plush Magazine

I have many favourite moments watching NBT, but I particularly love David Nixon’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I think the solo where Hippolyta is saying a heartbreaking farewell to her dancing shoes is very moving and wonderful. I also love the way the studio converts into a train in seconds, and the frantic foursome with Helena and co is very funny.
David Bellan, Oxford Times

I have always loved the Northern Ballet Theatre’s version of A Christmas Carol and always look forward to seeing that at Christmas. It’s such a lovely show and makes me feel really festive. My sister worked behind the scenes on the show, back in the early 1990s, and I first went to see it then. It blew me away. I’m sad that I never got to see A Simple Man but I have loved many other productions, particularly Peter Pan – a great show for children – and Romeo & Juliet which is one of the most moving ballets I’ve ever seen.
Emma Clayton, Telegraph & Argus

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NBT joins the Cultural Olympiad in Yorkshire

October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am (Friends News, General Information) (, , , , , , , , , )

NBT is delighted to announce that we are part of a second major Cultural Olympiad Yorkshire project.

Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas

Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas. (Photo: HANSON)

Northern Ballet Theatre has joined forces with Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, Situation Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Art Gallery for Leeds Canvas. Leeds Canvas has been selected as the Yorkshire region winner of a £500,000 commission for Artists taking the lead, one of the major projects for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Internationally acclaimed filmmakers and artists the Quay Brothers will use the entire city as the ‘canvas’ for a series of art interventions and installations, building up to a spectacular one-off event centred around Leeds’ Dark Arches.

Quay Brothers

Quay Brothers

Leeds Canvas is one of 12 commissions that will be realised across the UK over the next three years, each inspired by their location and celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

David Nixon, Artistic Director of NBT said:

“I am delighted that the proposal put together by the Leeds Creative Partnership team has been successful. This project has the possibility to transform Leeds and reach far beyond this city’s boundaries. Through collaboration our possibilities are magnified and our individual strengths personified and by inviting exceptional artists to work with us in Leeds we will create exceptional experiences and opportunities that we hope will have a lasting legacy. The 2012 Olympic games will be such a special time for the country and it will provide us with the opportunity to come together as one community and create some truly exciting work that touches many, many people.”

This is the second Cultural Olympiad project NBT is part of. Last week we announced that we were leading the ‘Don’t Just Sit There’ project.

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Ground Breaking Event Great Success

April 21, 2009 at 11:34 am (Company News, Events, Friends News, Fundraising, General Information, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , )

Yesterday’s ground breaking ceremony was a great success. Friends and Patrons of Northern Ballet Theatre, supporters of our building project as well as members of the Board, staff and dancers from NBT and Phoenix gathered together on Quarry Hill in central Leeds to witness the ground breaking ceremony.

As the sun shone down Andrew Carter, Leader of Leeds City Council got proceedings underway with the ceremonial shovel and both Andrew and Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, gave speeches celebrating the partnerships coming together to make one of the most important cultural developments for Leeds a reality. Dancers David Ward and Rym Kechacha dressed in costumes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream enjoyed clambouring all over the JCB digger – I think everyone wanted to have a go at driving it but common sense prevailed. Mark Skipper spoke on behalf of everyone at NBT when he thanked all our partners and supporters who have given so generously to make our dream a reality. It does mean so much to us. You can add your support by donating through

Here’re some photos from the event taken by Lisa Stonehouse…

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New momentum videos

September 4, 2008 at 11:18 am (Company News, Friends News, Fundraising) (, , , , , , , , )

Building Momentum website

There are two new videos from the architects on the momentum website, for a sneaky preview of what the new studios, performance spaces and other facilities will look like.

Watch the videos and find out how you can help us jump the last hurdle…

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‘Breathing Space’ Project

July 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm (Friends News, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

NBT & Pyramid of Arts on \'Breathing Space\'

Learning & Access continue partnership with Pyramid of Arts


We have once more been working with Leeds based  organisation Pyramid of Arts on ‘Breathing Space’, a project that is exploring the benefits of dance and physical movement with a group of adults with profound and multiple disabilities. So far four sessions have been held and participants have really enjoyed working with NBT Dance Education Officer Caroline Burn. The project finishes on  21 July.

Julia Piggott, Creative Director at Pyramid of Arts said, “Working with movement and live music will give these adults a chance to be creative and increase their movement skills in a safe environment.  It also provides everyone, with and without a disability, an opportunity to communicate and socialise.”

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New Directors for Northern Ballet Theatre

June 26, 2008 at 9:21 am (Company News, Friends News, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , , )

Alan Harrison, John Procter, Denise Jagger 

Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) has appointed three new members to its Board of Directors: Alan Harrison, Director of Information Technology at Yorkshire Water; Denise Jagger, a partner at international law firm Eversheds; and Leeds Councillor John Procter.

Mark Skipper, Chief Executive of NBT said of the new appointments: “I would like to welcome Alan, Denise and John to NBT’s Board of Directors. They are experts in their respective professional fields and have a passion for the arts and we are delighted that they have chosen to share this with us…”

Read the full press release

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Building Project gains ‘Momentum’

January 11, 2008 at 11:19 am (Company News, Friends News, Fundraising) (, , , , , )


NBT’s new building project gains ‘Momentum’

Good progress is being made on the development of our new home on Quarry Hill in central Leeds with Phoenix Dance Theatre. The internal layouts for the building are taking shape and our Architects, Jacobs, are currently working on the external look of the building. Early discussions with Leeds City Council Planning department have been positive and an informal presentation of the design and layout is scheduled to take place on 30 January with the Chief Planning Officer to gauge further support.

The formal OJEU Notice (basically an advertisement asking for expressions of interest to become the building Contractor) has been posted with a deadline of 13 February for expressions of interest.

At this stage we are reasonably happy that the design is within budget but our Quantity Surveyor will carry out a cost check in mid-February just to be sure.

Building work is currently scheduled to start on site in February 2009 for completion in May 2010.

The building is costing £12million and the good news is that we’ve raised £10.5million of that. We still need to raise £1.5million by the end of 2009 and to make sure we do that we are launching Momentum, our capital fundraising campaign. The fundraising launch will take place on 21 February at an event which will be attended by NBT’s Royal Patron – HRH The Earl of Wessex KG, KCVO. There will be many ways in which our supporters can contribute to the campaign including naming rights to the building, naming of the studio theatre, rehearsal studios or even seats within the theatre.

Watch this space for further updates about the new building and Momentum.

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Damart keep NBT warm on China tour

January 7, 2008 at 1:06 pm (Friends News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

Dreda Blow, Michael Berkin, Kieran Stoneley, Chantelle Gotobed. Photograph by Simon Dewhurst

Yorkshire-based thermal specialist Damart kindly kitted out the entire Company who jetted off to chilly China on a four week performance tour. A large supply of Damart thermals was donated to help keep the dancers and crew warm during the tour of China’s main cities including Beijing and Shanghai. The dancers felt the benefit of the thermals during class and rehearsals and they will also come in useful now the Company has returned to the UK during our cold winter days. Dancers Michael Berkin, Dreda Blow, Chantelle Gotobed and Kieran Stoneley took part in a photo-shoot to celebrate Damart’s support and they were quite taken by the thermals which they were able to keep after the photo-shoot.

Click here for press release

NBT Dancers. Photo: Simon Dewhurst

NBT Dancers. Photo: Simon Dewhurst

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Delegation stepping out on a China Mission

December 17, 2007 at 10:34 am (Company News, Friends News, Marketing and PR News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , , )

Kathryn Moore of the Yorkshire Post wrote: “A DELEGATION from the region has jetted off to China today with the Northern Ballet Theatre for a four-week tour designed to raise Yorkshire’s profile in seven Chinese cities. Leeds City Council, Leeds Metropolitan University and Yorkshire Forward are supporting the tour and representatives from each organisation will act as ambassadors for the Yorkshire region.

Click the link below to read the rest of the article…

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Earl of Wessex catches a Dream

November 26, 2007 at 11:14 am (Artist's News, Company News, Friends News) (, , , , , , )

On Friday 23 November HRH The Earl of Wessex KCVO attended an evening performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Northern Ballet Theatre at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking. His wife The Countess of Wessex and a number of family friends accompanied the Earl.  The Earl was welcomed to the theatre by David Nixon, Artistic Director of NBT, Yoko Ichino, NBT Ballet Mistress and David Holder, Theatre Manager. Following the performance, the Earl and His guests went backstage to meet the Company. HRH The Earl of Wessex, KCVO is the Royal Patron of NBT, a position He has held since 2003. His Aunt, HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden was previously Royal Patron until her death in 2002. 

Leading Soloist Darren Goldsmith who met and photographed the Earl said, “It adds something special to an evening when the Earl is in the audience. He always cracks a joke when He comes backstage to meet us and you feel He has a genuine interest in the Company. This will be the third time I’ve photographed a visit by the Earl and it’s a pleasure because he is so relaxed and happy to pose for photographs.”

Photograph by Darren Goldsmith 
Photograph by Darren Goldsmith 
Photograph by Darren Goldsmith 
Photograph by Darren Goldsmith


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