Through the Keyhole

May 14, 2010 at 8:09 am (General Information, momentum) (, , , , , , , , )

There was buzz of excitement on Quarry Hill last week when a group of
Northern Ballet Theatre staff entered their new home for the first time.

Although not yet complete, NBT’s new home is taking shape at a terrific pace,
and staff from Wardrobe, the Academy, Communications and Fundraising were able to see where their very desks would be.

It was fascinating to see how far the building has come from the plans pinned to the wall in West Park. Have your own virtual tour with footage captured on the day.

Click here to view the video on YouTube


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Running for momentum

May 10, 2010 at 9:43 am (Fundraising, General Information, momentum) (, , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre’s Director of Communications, Laraine Penson, has completed her two weekend challenge of running more than 23 miles in two separate race events while raising money for momentum, NBT’s capital fundraising campaign. She completed the Bluebell 10 mile race around Calderdale in 1hr and 53 mins and the Leeds half marathon this weekend in 1hr and 59mins. Laraine raised £440.00 for momentum.

Laraine said, “I’d like to thank everyone who supported me. My legs ache a bit today but both races were really enjoyable. It was great to see so many people running, having fun and raising thousands of pounds for charity.”

Donations can still be made on-line at

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The DoC runs for momentum

April 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm (General Information) (, , , , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre‘s Director of Communications, Laraine Penson, is running for momentum, our capital fundraising campaign. Over two weekends in May Laraine will run over 23 miles in order to help NBT reach it’s final fundraising total for the new building which we are planning to move into in September.

On Sunday 2 May Laraine will run the Bluebell 10 – a 10.3 mile race including trails, tracks, minor roads and the beautiful bluebell woods in the heart of Yorkshire. Don’t be fooled by this desription, it also takes in Calderdale’s steepest hill and ends with a river crossing. The following weekend, Sunday 9 May, Laraine will run the Leeds half marathon, 13 miles around the scenic undulating landscape of Leeds. If you would like to support NBT’s new building by sponsoring Laraine please visit

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Corporate Financier takes Chair of Northern Ballet Theatre Board

April 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm (General Information) (, , , , , )

David Forbes

David Forbes

One of Leeds’ leading corporate financiers is to take over as Chair of the Board of Directors for Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT). David Forbes, a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division of Rothschild, replaces Councillor Bernard Atha, to lead a recently strengthened Board with newly appointed directors from the world of education and media.

NBT continues to go from strength-to-strength. Having celebrated a successful 40th anniversary, the Company has secured funding for an exciting new production and has started its first tour of the year, performing to large and enthusiastic audiences in Leeds and around the country.

David takes up this position with NBT as it prepares to move into its new home in the centre of Leeds which it will share with Phoenix Dance Theatre. This highly visible powerhouse for inventive dance which will offer dance enthusiasts and audiences, not just in Leeds but across the north of England, closer access to two of the UK’s most important companies in the largest purpose-built dance space outside London. It will also offer meeting and conference and lecture facilities to corporate businesses.

David Forbes joined the Board in December 2003, bringing to it his extensive business experience and his wide-ranging contact base in the region. He has been a highly visible member of the business community in Yorkshire since 1989. He is also a Patron of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

David Forbes, Pippa Moore, David Ward and Bernard Atha

David Forbes, Pippa Moore, David Ward and Bernard Atha at Northern Ballet Theatre's new home, currently under construction in the heart of Leeds

David said: “This is a truly exciting time for Northern Ballet Theatre and I don’t think I have ever seen the Company more confident. There is no doubt in my mind about the importance of having such strong cultural companies based here in Leeds and how well they represent the region around the rest of the country and abroad.

“I will be doing all I can to secure financial support for the Company from the corporate sector as every business in the city gains from having NBT here.

“Bernard Atha will be a hard act to follow. He has made a huge contribution to the Company over many years. I feel very honoured to have been offered this position and look forward to leading the Board in developing what can only be a bright future for NBT.”

NBT’s Chief Executive, Mark Skipper, says:

“We’re thrilled to have David as our new Chair. This is, as he says, an exciting and vital time for the Company. David has been on the Board for more than years now, so he understands the workings of the Company and the challenges we face. I have every faith that his wealth of experience and his many skills will be of tremendous benefit in this position and will help NBT to develop a secure and solid future.”

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British Ambassador to Italy enjoys the sites in Leeds

March 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm (General Information, momentum) (, , , , )

British Ambassador to Italy, Edward Chaplin, paid a visit to the site of the new home for Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre on Quarry Hill on Wednesday. He was accompanied by NBT’s Chief Executive, Mark Skipper, Deborah Green, Chief Executive of Marketing Leeds, and members of the NBT Board, Victoria Tomlinson and Denise Jagger.

Victoria Tomlinson, Deborah Green, Edward Chaplin, Denise Jagger and Mark Skipper

Victoria Tomlinson, Deborah Green, Edward Chaplin, Denise Jagger and Mark Skipper

Edward was on a visit to Leeds following the highly successful Leeds in Milan event last year, which saw leaders from the region’s financial, legal and creative sectors travel to Italy to forge relationships with their counterparts in Milan. He was very impressed with the scale of what was being delivered and plans to make a return visit to see the completed building. 

NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre are building a new powerhouse of dance in Leeds for dance artists, enthusiasts and audiences across the north of England. Their new purpose-built home, which is due for completion later this year, will be the largest purpose-built space for dance outside London.

Following the visit to Quarry Hill Edward also visited the newly refurbished Howard Assembly Room and took a tour of the Grand Theatre.

Mark Skipper says, “It is encouraging to know, especially ahead of the upcoming Leeds in Barcelona visit next week, that international trade missions such as these do help to raise awareness of the tremendous activity and growth in the region.”

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Romeo & Juliet at momentum

March 3, 2010 at 9:22 am (Artist's News, momentum) (, , , , )

On Monday 3 March we paid a visit to the momentum site with Pippa Moore and David Ward in the guise of Romeo & Juliet.

We asked Pippa about the photoshoot and about the new building, as well as talking with Bernard Atha, Northern Ballet Theatre Chair, about the long held dreams for a Northern Ballet Theatre home…

Watch this video on Youtube.

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Latest Images From Our New Building

January 29, 2010 at 10:30 am (Fundraising, General Information, momentum) (, , , , , , , )

Work is progressing apace on our new home in the heart of Leeds. During a site visit by members of our board, Mark Skipper and Judith Hartley we caught the progress on camera…

See more photos from the visit…

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Nottingham’s Favourite Ballet Company Delighted With Donations

November 25, 2009 at 11:21 am (Fundraising, General Information) (, , , , , , , )

Nottingham audiences at performances of Northern Ballet Theatre’s (NBT) A Christmas Carol proved that there were no Scrooges among them with their generous donations to momentum, NBT’s fundraising campaign for a purpose built home on Quarry Hill in central Leeds.

Dancers in costume held collection buckets at the exit doors after performances throughout the week and a staggering £3,936.00 was donated. NBT is truly grateful for this support from its Nottingham audiences. The Company has been touring to Nottingham for the past 20 years and always receives a warm welcome at the Theatre Royal.

The Company’s new building in Leeds will be a powerhouse for dance – the largest space for dance outside of London. Bringing together two of the UK’s leading dance companies, NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre, it will be the only dance centre to house a national classical and a national contemporary dance company alongside each another. It will also be home to the NBT Academy and to Leeds Metropolitan’s new Dance Degree classes.

Everyone at NBT would like to say thank you to everyone who gave so generously. The total amount received or pledged towards momentum now stands at £1,462,441.72 of our £1.5million target.

NBT returns to the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 13 to 17 May with its stunning production of Peter Pan a production that fascinates children and adults alike with its tale of Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, pirates, fairy dust, crocodiles and of course Captain Hook.

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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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Latest Podcast

April 20, 2009 at 11:39 am (Company News, Podcasts) (, , , )

Listen to the lastest Northern Ballet Theatre podcast in which we talk to dancers and NBT staff about the prospect and benefits of having a new building in the heart of Leeds.

Right-Click [Apple users, click & hold] and select Save As… to download to your computer.

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Warming Up On New Building

April 20, 2009 at 9:21 am (Company News, Fundraising) (, , , )

Sharon Watson, NBT's Dairector of Learning & Access leading a team from Wates Construction in a dance session.

Sharon Watson, NBT's Dairector of Learning & Access leading a team from Wates Construction in a dance session.

Daragh Corcoran from BBC Radio Leeds interviewing NBT's Chief Executive, Mark Skipper.

Daragh Corcoran from BBC Radio Leeds interviewing NBT's Chief Executive, Mark Skipper.

To kick off the start of work on site of Northern Ballet Theatre’s new building with Phoenix Dance Theatre, NBT’s Director of Learning & Access Sharon Watson led a dance session for the team from Wates Construction. The whole thing was broadcast live on BBC Radio Leeds and as Sharon got the builders ready for their day on site, Radio Leeds’ Daragh Corcoran interviewed NBT’s Chief Executive Mark Skipper and Phil Harrison from Wates Construction.

You can listen again by clicking here, the interviews took place just after 8am.

For further information on the new building or to make a donation visit building-momentum.

Sharon Watson, NBT's Director of Learning & Access, leading the Wates Contruction Team in a dance session.

Sharon Watson, NBT's Director of Learning & Access, leading the Wates Contruction Team in a dance session.

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Breaking Ground on New Project

April 20, 2009 at 8:12 am (Company News, Events, Fundraising) (, , , , )

Artists Impression of New Building

Artists Impression of New Building

We’re delighted to be able to share some exciting news about our new building project. The ground breaking ceremony to mark work starting on site takes place this afternoon with representatives from NBT and Phoenix Dance Theatre joined by Andrew Carter, the leader of Leeds City Council, Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire, as well as partners from Leeds Metropolitan University, architects the Strategic Design Alliance and Wates Construction. Dancers dressed as fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream will also attend the ceremony. Photographs from the ground breaking ceremony will be on-line tomorrow.

We’re having a double celebration today because the momentum capital fundraising campaign has broken the £1million mark. We are now working hard to raise the remaining £500,000 of the £1.5million target. Help us reach our goal by donating on-line at building momentum

Read the full press release here [pdf].

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New momentum galleries

November 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm (General Information) (, , , , , , , , , )

momentum website

There are new galleries in the events section of the momentum site
The page now features photographs of all previous momentum events plus details of future ones…

Find out more

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New building for dance given green light by planners

October 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm (Company News, Fundraising, Marketing and PR News) (, , , , , , , , , )

Planners at Leeds City Council have given the green light to plans for a new centre of excellence for dance in Leeds. The new building will be home to Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and Phoenix Dance Theatre (Phoenix) and will be built on Quarry Hill next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yorkshire Dance, the BBC and the Leeds College of Music. The designs by the Strategic Design Alliance, a partnership of Jacobs Architecture and Leeds City Council’s in-house architectural consultancy, were passed at a planning meeting earlier today.


The ambitious plans are for a six-storey building consisting of seven dance studios including a 200-seat studio theatre, office space, a health suite and a costume workshop. Alongside the two professional companies the building will eventually house a full-time classical dance school as well as Leeds Metropolitan University’s dance degree courses. The building will open in summer 2010.


In February NBT and Phoenix launched momentum, the campaign to raise the remaining £1.5million of the £12million building. To date the campaign has raised more than £800,000 from a number of trusts, foundations and individual donors. Mark Skipper, NBT’s Chief Executive is spearheading the momentum campaign:  “The planning decision means that we have reached a key milestone in this project’s progress. With building work due to start on site in four months time we are now looking for a number of businesses and individual donors to step forward and help us meet our fundraising target and achieve our ambitions.” Anyone wishing to support the momentum campaign should visit or contact Melanie Aram at NBT at


The new building has received wide support from across the region with Leeds City Council investing £6.7million, including a contribution from Yorkshire Forward, and Arts Council England, Yorkshire investing £3.5million through the National Lottery.


Andy Carver, Executive Director of Arts Council England, Yorkshire said: “It’s great news that this exciting project has reached such a significant milestone. ­Two of the country’s leading dance companies will have a state-of-the-art new home in Leeds, bringing great dance to many more people in Yorkshire and beyond.”

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Gaining momentum

September 9, 2008 at 10:38 am (Company News, Events, Fundraising) (, , , , )

Over 100 guests including the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Frank Robinson enjoyed an evening with Northern Ballet Theatre at the West Yorkshire Playhouse at an event to support our momentum campaign. Our guests attended a pre-performance reception where we had the opportunity to tell them all about the project and give the first showing of our new animated film of the building.

NBT’s Artistic Director David Nixon, Chief Executive Mark Skipper and NBT Board member, Denise Jagger spoke about the importance of the new building to the Company, asking individuals and the business community to support a bright future for dance and give to the campaign

Paul Harness

Our guests then enjoyed a performance of A Tale of Two Cities, NBT’s new full-length ballet based on Dickens’ classic novel, created by guest choreographer and ex-Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House, Cathy Marston. 

During the interval NBT’s Classical Training students gave short demonstrations of their work which will be greatly enhanced by our purpose-built facilties. It is our aim to eventually run a full-time classical dance school from the new building giving talented young people from across Yorkshire the opportunity to pursue their dancing ambitions without having to leave home.

Paul Harness

“The changes and developments taking place in Leeds are breathtaking and the physical investment in the cultural life of the city, for example at the Grand Theatre and Leeds Museum, is clear to see. Our new building for dance is a part of that and as such it will be a source of pride, a symbol of a brave and confident city whose people and business leaders make great things happen and dreams come true.” Mark Skipper, NBT Chief Executive

Help us make that dream a reality, give now to momentum.


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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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Public art for our new dance centre

July 24, 2008 at 10:48 am (Company News, Fundraising) (, , , , , , , , , )

The search is on for an artist to create an artwork especially for our new building.

An exciting part of the plans for NBT’s capital project is the commissioning of a piece or pieces of Public Art to be incorporated within the building. The commission forms part of Leeds City Councils ambitious Public Art plans and, along with the exhibition space, extends even further what the new building will have to offer the communities of Leeds and the north of England.

There is a broad brief for the Public Art commission, it could be anything and use any medium, other than water. There are three potential locations identified by the design team for the public art: the entrance area, the glazing to the south façade, and the projecting balconies to the south façade.

Leeds City Council has started the procurement process and an artist should be appointed in October. For artists wishing to enter the procurement process the deadline for expressions of interest is 5pm on Monday 11 August, visit: to sign up.

Enquiries about the tender website/process to Julie Brennen, Procurement Unit, email tel: 0113 24 74088


For more information on the planned building, and to find out how to help us realise it visit

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Next step in giant leap of faith

June 9, 2008 at 9:59 am (Company News, Fundraising) (, , , , , )


Read an article about our new building from the Yorkshire Post magazine, published on Saturday 7 June …

“The new, as yet un-named building, will be the only centre in the UK to house a contemporary dance company alongside a classical narrative one, with a school and a dance degree course. NBT’s orchestra will also benefit from the new facilities with the chance to do in-house recordings of commissioned scores and the possibility of lunch-time recitals by the musicians. Mark Skipper (NBT Chief Executive) adds: “The new dance centre and more importantly what will take place inside it, will establish Leeds as a powerhouse for dance in the UK… it will be source of pride for the wider community, everyone in Yorkshire and beyond who values our work.”

Read the whole article here

Visit the Momentum website


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Development in our campaign for a new building

May 27, 2008 at 10:21 am (Company News, Fundraising) (, )


Our campaign for a new building in central Leeds with Phoenix Dance Theatre took an important step forward last week when Leeds City Council announced that it will be working with Wates Construction as the preferred participating contractor.


As the project moves through the design process, Wates will work with the architects to develop the design proposals, solve any potential logistical problems and cost the building construction.


Our fundraising campaign, momentum, the campaign to raise the final £1.5 million required to complete the £12million project, continues to gather pace. For further information and to make your donation visit

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More Momentum Launch Images

March 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm (Events, Fundraising) (, , , , , , , , )

HRH Earl of Wessex, NBT's Royal Patron. Photograph by Lisa Stonehouse

More photographs of the Momentum Launch event last month can now be found on the new Momentum website.
The events gallery can be found here:

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Momentum Launch

February 22, 2008 at 10:41 am (Company News, Events, Fundraising) (, , , , , , , )

Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre revealed a stunning new vision for a centre of excellence for dance in Leeds last night at the launch of momentum, the campaign to raise the remaining funds required for the new buidling. HRH The Earl of Wessex attended the launch where new designs by the Strategic Design Alliance, a partnership of Jacobs and Leeds City Council’s in-house architects, were unveiled. In addition, Leeds Metropolitan University announced that it is investing in the new dance centre in an exciting partnership with NBT and Phoenix.

Read the full press release.

A new fundraising website was also launched yesterday to help raise funds for the momentum project.

Click here to visit the new site

Photographs of the launch:

Momentum Launch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

Momentum Launch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

Momentum Launch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

Momentum Lauch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

Momentum Lauch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

Momentum Lauch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

Momentum Lauch. Photo: Lisa Stonehouse

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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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