Ballet on Briggate 2010

August 31, 2010 at 3:37 pm (Events, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

Hironao Takahashi & Michela Paolacci - Photo by Ryan Hopkinson

Hironao Takahashi & Michela Paolacci - Photo by Ryan Hopkinson

This Saturday we will be taking to the streets of Leeds with Ballet on Briggate – a chance to see Northern Ballet for free while you do your shopping! We will have a large stage outside Debenhams in the centre of Briggate where there will be performances by Northern Ballet dancers, Northern Ballet Academy and Phoenix Dance Theatre Academy students, prize giveaways, a chance to join in with some ballet moves and much more!

Dancing in the street - Photo: Jo Dean

Dancing in the street - Photo: Jo Dean

The dancers will be performing extracts from The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, and we will be encouraging the public to have a go themselves, with our ballet barre and energizer activities. There will be a chance to win free tickets for Northern Ballet performances, as well as discounts and vouchers for everyone who attends.

Northern Ballet Academy students

Northern Ballet Academy students - Photo: Ryan Hopkinson

There aren’t many opportunities to see your favourite ballet company for free, so pop along to Briggate between 12pm – 2pm on Saturday to join in all the action!

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Academy Classes Filling Up

August 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm (Academy, Classical Training, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , )

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

Photo: Hannah KirkpatrickWe now only have a few weeks left of enrolment for our classes for young children and places are filling up fast. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for your child to train with Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds.

Classes range from mini movers (a parents and tots class) to classes for 16-year-olds.

The classes are a great way for children to make friends, stay active and learn more about music and dance as well as working alongside the professional dancers.

To find out more please visit the academy webpage or call to speak to Hannah or Faye in the Academy department: 00113 274 5355.

Photo: Hannah Kirkpatrick

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A Dancer in Macau, part 2

July 20, 2010 at 10:54 am (Dancers, dancers' diaries, Hong Kong & Macau 2010, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Here’s Hannah‘s final report from the international tour…

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Friday in Macau

We had class today at 12.30 – 13.45, then straight into the tech at 14.00- 17.00 with the Orchestra here in Macau. Time for a quick swim after early breakfast, a dip in the pool is a really great way to start a day! The tech went really well and the Orchestra sounded great, I keep my ear’s open as it’s only human nature to go on auto pilot after hearing the recording for a week or so. A live orchestra really does give a show that extra lift and edge of excitement. The show was a success and people of Macau relished the chance to scream ‘yes’ to believing in fairies. Room service at the hotel for me after the show and then bed ASAP, starting to feel like the end of the season!

Ayana and Christie

Ayana and Christie

Julie at the mirrors, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

Julie at the mirrors, there certainly isn't a lack of space!

The Stars...

The Stars...

Saturday the last day

The rain is beating down at quite a rate but I think we will be typhoon-free or at least if it could hold off till we take our flights home tomorrow that would be great. Tonight is David Ward’s last show with the Company and a chance for us all to say farewell to him before he departs for a new adventure in Ballet Met, Ohio, USA. We also say a fond farewell to Georgina Gabbie (Doll) who is leaving us to tour with Evita. David and Georgina will be very much missed.

We had class with Dan today at 11.30 and then double duty with performances at 14.30 and 19.30. In between the shows I took the 4 minute walk back to the hotel to get on top of my luggage, literally! Some people went for a last afternoon dip in the pool.

Show went really well tonight, extra excitement as so many of the dancers will be on their way home tomorrow to see family they haven’t seen for up to a year. I am sure there will be much celebration this evening!

The auditorium at Macau Cultural Centre

The auditorium at Macau Cultural Centre

The Darling nursery all set for the final show

The Darling nursery all set for the final show

Loads of room backstage, the pirate ship can be laid our flat

Loads of room backstage, the pirate ship can be laid our flat

Ash putting his priate belly to good use as an iPhone stand!

Ash putting his priate belly to good use as an iPhone stand!

Sunday, home time!

We left at 9.30am from the Grand Lapa, which we have all enjoyed calling home for the last five days. We are off to all four corners of the globe as we also start our summer break today: Japan, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and so on.

I have really enjoyed this overseas summer tour and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our fab techies, our great physio, Adam, who goes out of his way to make sure all of us are fit, well and happy. The ballet staff, music staff, wardrobe and Doll. But also my fellow dancers who I am always honoured to share a stage with. Every department has pulled together as only NBT can and have really pulled off eight wonderful shows to be proud of

I asked around and highlights of this tour have been the pool (!), the amazing audiences in HK and Macau, spending time together, all touring departments, the Cirque [de Soleil] show and getting to dance aboard. It has been a long season from August last year to now. We started with Dracula and have ended with Peter Pan. We had a crazy busy but awesome Christmas season with the Alumni Christmas Carol and the highlight that was the Gala. I feel privileged to do this job and I am well aware I couldn’t do it if NBT didn’t have the support of all our friends and audiences. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

First things we will be doing when we get home, having a cup of tea! Being reunited with family and pets who include Kitri and Basilio the Yorkshire Terriers in France and Coco the Boxer in Italy. I am off to Koh Samui, and then back to Yorkshire to rescue my garden! Till next time, it’s good bye to HK and Macau and hello holidays!!!

Good bye from all of us and see you in September! (Vicky, Christie and Micky)

Good bye from all of us and see you in September! (Vicky, Christie and Micky)

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Dangerous Liaisons @ West Yorkshire Playhouse

July 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm (General Information, Tour News) (, , )

Dangerous Liaisons at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this September

Dangerous Liaisons at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this September

A fantastic poster for Dangerous Liaisons is up outside the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It’s our first production of the season which features Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.

Tickets for the season are on sale now.

You can learn more about our production of Dangerous Liaisons on our website and you can book directly from the theatre:

West Yorkshire Playhouse – Box Office: 0113 213 7700 or Book Online.

Performances run from Tuesday 7 September to Saturday 11 September. Evening performances are 7:30pm, Tuesday matinée 2:30pm and the Saturday matinée begins at 2:00pm and is Audio Described.

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Northern Ballet Theatre supports Dancing on Parliament tomorrow!

July 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm (Events, General Information) (, , , , , , , )

Arlene Philips launching Big Dance 2010

Photos: ©David Parry/ PA & © Hugo Glendinning

Our friends at Dance UK and English National Ballet will be Dancing on Parliament tomorrow, Thursday 8 July between 12noon and 2pm. If you’re in London and can join them please go along and show your support. Please also contact your MP and ask them if they are going. Ask them to do something brilliant with their lunch break tomorrow. You can do this through

The T-Mobile Big Dance Bus will be travelling across London during Big Dance week and is making a one off stop at the prestigious and stunning Horse Guards Parade, in between Parliament Square and the edge of St James Park. Dance UK has been working in partnership with English National Ballet and City of Westminster Council to produce a diverse showcase of local and national talent for this event.

Let’s show MPs from across the country the thriving dance the UK has to offer and all its successes.

The T-Mobile Big Dance Bus has a ‘pop up’ mobile dance floor and on board this double-decker bus you’ll find an interactive space to learn more about the UK dance sector. For more information on Big Dance Bus activities, visit

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Groups enjoy ‘cracking’ evening in Manchester

June 25, 2010 at 9:56 am (Events, General Information) (, , , , , , , , )

David Nixon, OBE, and the attendees watching Julie Charlet performing an excerpt from Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy.

David Nixon, OBE, and the attendees watching Julie Charlet. Photo: Rachel Poole.

Last Thursday Northern Ballet Theatre hosted a special event at City Inn, Manchester, to introduce group organisers to the wonderful world of The Nutcracker. Guests were given a greater insight to the production with a talk from the man behind the ballet, NBT Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE. They were then treated to the Chinese Dance and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy performed live by NBT dancers – a fantastic opportunity to enjoy these dances in an intimate setting.

Amidst the wine and fabulous canapés (the mini fish and chips went down a particular treat!) guests were able to see the Company’s new brand in all it’s glory – including previews of all of autumn’s new posters.

Whilst the group organisers booked their outing to The Palace Theatre this November to see the full production of The Nutcracker, one guest, budding ballerina Hannah (pictured below with dancers Ben Mitchell, Thomas Aragones and Julie Charlet) was delighted to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Budding Ballerina Hannah with Northern Ballet Theatre Dancers

Budding Ballerina Hannah with Northern Ballet Theatre Dancers Ben Mitchell, Thomas Aragones and Julie Charlet. Photo: Rachel Poole.

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First Experiences of Ballet

June 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm (Events, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , )

Pupils from Thorn Park School for the Deaf in Bradford have produced a video reporting on their experiences of learning ballet for Headliners, a UK charity which encourages personal development through journalism. The students were taught by Northern Ballet Theatre‘s Dance Education Officer, Caroline Burn and Learning & Access Musician, Dave Burnett.

They also attended a performance of Wuthering Heights at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford and they give their thoughts on the production.

Headliners is a UK charity which encourages personal development of young people through journalism.

Original article on Headliners: Ballet a Hit With Deaf Young People

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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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Brownies & Guides Take Over NBT

May 12, 2010 at 11:28 am (Academy, Classical Training, General Information, Learning & Access, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy) (, , , , , , , , , )

Cara O'Shea on pointe

Sophie Alder showing the perfect Peter Pan poseOn Sunday 9th May 100 Brownies and Guides descended on Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) to take part in a fun filled day of dance classes with NBT staff.

Cara O’Shea, Northern Ballet Theatre Academy ballet tutor, led the ballet technique sessions and Sophie Alder, Dance Education Officer, led the creative sessions.

Cara was really impressed with the standard of the students saying:

“Everyone has had a fantastic day. The students have worked so hard and have been really quick to pick up the exercises.”

Sophie taught the students some extracts from NBT’s productions of  Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They then worked on creating their own pieces based on the steps that they had learnt.

The day was rounded off with a performance to all the parents so they could see what their bidding ballerinas had been up to.

Guides having fun

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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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Thank yous from Queensferry Primary School

May 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , )

At the beginning of March, Sophie Alder (Dance Education Officer) and musician Alan Costello spent some time at Queensferry Primary School during the company’s tour to Edinburgh. Several groups from the school enjoyed taking part in workshops, which enabled them to find out more about Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan and ballet in general.

As you can see from some of the letters we received it seems a great time was had by all:

Thank you for the wonderful piano playing and the fantastic instruction. I really enjoyed the experience of trying ballet out. When I was little I was jumping around in my living room like a ballet dancer I always dreamed of being one.

My favourite part was when we were jumping over the lines in the gym hall and how we were pretending that there [sic] were loads of different creatures in it like piranhas, sharks, jellyfish and lots more.


I would like to start this letter with a big thank you for teaching us a part of ballet and the piano playing was phenomenal.

The ballet was so fun I wish you could come every week.


It was brilliant and I wasn’t expecting it to be that good! My favourite bits was when we were doing the bouncing and jumping. My other favourite bit was the pirate – make up your own dance bit! I loved doing all of it. You taught it so well with extra brilliant music.

I don’t think it would have been as fun if it wasn’t you doing the music and the teaching. I learnt so much in that hour and a half session.

I would like to take this last opportunity to say thank you again on behalf of me, my class and my school. Thanks again.


And we’d like to say thank you to Queensferry Primary for the hospitality of the faculty, staff and pupils.

If your school is interested in repertoire based workshops then drop Philippa Plumtree-Varley an email for details.

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Poppy’s Work Experience With Northern Ballet Theatre

May 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , )

During our visit to Norwich Theatre Royal last week, the company were joined by 14 year old Poppy Stevens. Poppy came to undertake a work placement with Northern Ballet Theatre and gain some experience of all the different roles involved in making a production actually ‘happen’.

Poppy has very kindly written about her week and it certainly sounds like she enjoyed her time with us.

Hi I’m Poppy.

On the 26th April 2010 I started my week’s work experience at Norwich Theatre Royal. Northern Ballet Theatre were on their Summer Tour and were at the Theatre performing Peter Pan. On the first day I helped to off-load pieces of scenery from the lorries and I met Laura Sprake and Abigail Wilkinson – they sort of took me under their wing. They showed me how the company worked and introduced me to loads of different people. By the second day I was sitting with Laura during the rehearsals with a set of cans [earphones] on!! I really felt like part of the team. I learnt so much about how a stage works and how things like rig-checks are done – in the space of 2 days already.

On the third day I had really become more confident in having a laugh and talking to the people within the company. Again I sat with Laura in the lighting booth during the actual performance, watching the BEAUTIFUL show whilst listening on my cans to everyone backstage. The show ran really smoothly – I was surprised at how well everyone got on and worked together. On the 4th day I met Caroline Burn when I went to the wonderful workshop, Ballet Explored. I helped out then watched the company ballet class. During the matinee performance I helped Dolly (Georgina Gabbie: Wigs Mistress) with make-up and wigs. It was so much fun. Dolly welcomed me like an old friend just the same as everyone in the company.

On my last day the first thing I did was help out with Caroline’s Mini Movers workshop for the under 5’s and I made a wand! In the afternoon I helped with the Mature Movers workshop and danced with them. During the evening show I was really excited because I was shadowing Liv (Olivia Dermot-Walsh: Stage Manager) and a different Laura on stage. I was allowed to do some cues in the show which was really good. After the show had finished I nearly cried because it was like leaving a new group of friends. I was given a signed programme and poster – thanks to Laura Sprake, Jason Raper and Caroline Burn (who got it signed for me).

It was the experience of a life time and I hope I will see all the Crew very soon.
A big thank you to NBT for welcoming me and being so wonderful!

Poppy Stevens
Age 14

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Ballet v Football – the Battle of Fittest

April 22, 2010 at 11:10 am (General Information) (, , , , , , )

Milton Keynes Theatre saw a battle of the fittest earlier this week between NBT dancer Toby Bately and Aaron Wilbraham star player for The MK Dons. Both at the top of their game The MK News took a look at their lifestyle and punishing training schedules to find out who wins the epic battle of tackle versus tutu!

Toby Batley with Aaron Wilbraham

6 ft Dancer Tobias tells us:

“I train 6 days a week with an hour and 15 minutes of Ballet and technique training, usually followed by 6 hours of rehearsal for the show. I also spend time in the gym or swimming. I guess it’s around 50 hours a week in training and I’m on stage for 7 two-hour shows a week. Health is extremely important as a dancer you can’t let anything slip as that could result in injury. We have to have a strong upper body to lift our partner and a strong core and sense of balance to do turns and complicated tricks, all this and we need to be pretty flexible too. Diet isn’t something I worry about too much but I do try to get my five-a-day and I have to say that I don’t really have any health vices apart from maybe knowing when to stop.”

Pro footballer Aaron, 6ft 3 also has a strict regime of four days training a week and a game on a Saturday with an occasional midweek game too and says:

“Training sessions usually last around 90 minutes, split into high tempo bursts. As well as football we will do weights programmes, core stability and yoga. I also work out in the gym. Health is massively important in my career. If you’re not fit and healthy you can’t perform to your optimum level, it’s really important for footballers to have good core strength for holding off defenders when you’re in possession. We work very hard at improving this. My diet is low-fat, high-carb with lots of fruit chicken and veg. I like to think that I’m pretty healthy.”

So what’s the verdict? Adam Rowland currently touring as a physiotherapist with NBT but no stranger to Rugby League said of our competitors:

“These young men are in their prime and in tip top condition and clearly work hard to maintain this level of fitness which is so important in their careers. Although training varies between the guys you will find Cardio anaerobic exercise which uses your body fats and sugars is critical for footballers who need to use their bodies more intensely over short periods of time whereas a a dancer needs a strong aerobic exercise which uses pure oxygen as they need a larger range of stamina and energy over a longer period of time. This is maybe why you see differences between the type of exercise used and diet. But I have to say it would be hard to decide who would win the battle of the fittest!”

Toby agreed: “I’m not sure I’d be able to beat Aaron on the pitch”, with Aaron adding “I certainly couldn’t do that with my leg!”

Toby and Aaron outside the theatre

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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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Dance Vote 2010

April 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm (General Information) (, , , )

Keiko Amemori in Angels in the Architecture - Photo by Bill Cooper

Keiko Amemori in Angels in the Architecture - Photo by Bill Cooper

In the run up to the general election, DanceVote 2010, created and backed by a steering group of the major dance organisations, is looking for assurances from the main political parties that they will support the thriving dance sector.

DanceVote 2010 has five aims

  1. To connect every politician standing for election to parliament with a dance activity in their local area
  2. To highlight the popularity of dance among constituents and the benefits to residents
  3. To underline the need for sustained public funding in order to build on (and not undermine) the progress achieved over the past few years
  4. To champion the value of dance as an art form, as well as in health and education
  5. To secure a statement on how candidates will support dance and the arts if they are elected

Why we need to talk to politicians now?

The current economic climate means that getting dance recognised and connected to politicians, in a local context, is more vital than ever. With difficult spending decisions ahead, we need politicians to understand that dance is something local voters care about, and that investing in dance provides value for money and benefits to local people. If spending cuts are being made, we don’t want dance activity to be the easiest thing to cut because politicians do not have knowledge of local dance activity.

Getting involved is quick and easy

Whether its ballroom or ballet, morris or contemporary dance that gets your adrenalin pumping, GETTING INVOLVED IS EASY, click here to send a personalised email to your local Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates explaining why you are passionate about dance, and asking them to pledge their support for dance and the arts.

DanceVote 2010 champions all dance, both professional and participatory. It is co-ordinated by Dance UK, working in partnership with a steering committee of leading dance professionals representing diverse backgrounds.

To find out more about DanceVote2010 go to or call Dance UK on 020 7713 0730.

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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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Peter Pan – Nottingham Cast

April 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm (Casts) (, , , , , , , , )

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan - photo by Alistair Muir

Ashley Dixon as Peter Pan

Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Theatre Royal Nottingham.

Nottingham Theatre Royal Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

Information on further events at the theatre, touch tours, audio described performances and workshops.

Please note, casts are subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, 13 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Wednesday, 14 April

Evening, 7.30pm

Thursday, 15 April

Matinee, 2.00pm

Evening, 7.30pm

Friday, 16 April

Evening, 6.00pm

Saturday, 17 April

Matinee, 2.30pm (Audio Described)

Evening, 7.30pm

    Buy tickets for Peter Pan from Nottingham Theatre Royal.

    Nottingham Theatre Royal Box Office: 0115 989 5555

    Information & Photos of Northern Ballet Theatre’s production of Peter Pan.

    Information on further events at the theatre, touch tours, audio described performances and workshops.

    Please note, casts are subject to change without notice.

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    Easter Course Day One!

    April 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm (Easter course, Events, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , )


    This morning saw the West Park Centre buzzing with activity, as 31 budding young dancers arrived at NBT’s headquarters for the annual Easter Course.  The early start and the fact that it is the beginning of the school holidays did not seem to deter anyone taking part, the group was raring to go!

    The morning began with a short introduction by our Dancer Education Officer, Caroline Burn, who is leading the course.  Caroline introduced other members of the team who will be around during the week – including Megan, Selina and Mike (Michael Berkin, Company dancer) who are going to be ‘on hand’ to provide advice on movement and help develop the choreography.  The group also met the man himself, Philip Feeney, who has written the music on which the final piece is to be based.  Despite the threatened rail strikes, Philip made it up from London to accompany the course today and will be back again on Friday. 

    Caroline took the group through a couple of exercises to ‘break the ice’.  One of these exercises involved all 31 dancers putting themselves in order of their birthdays without speaking – simply through miming and using hand signals.  Despite some of the group trying to get away with whispering to each other (tut tut!), it was remarkable how quickly they successfully lined up in more-or-less perfect order.  After a short break it was time to begin daily class.  Although the inclusion of a couple of press-ups was a challenge after a weekend of Easter eggs, the varied exercises got the dancers warmed-up, their muscles stretched, and limbs moving before the serious work began! 

    Once the group had heard the music Philip has composed, it was time to brainstorm ideas for the piece including possible themes, types of movement and its general overall dance style.  The creativity continued after lunch with the group learning a small section of choreography to the music, which they then had to expand and develop in smaller groups.  Having looked at partnership work during the morning, the dancers were able to get together in pairs to experiment with lifts, counter-balancing, and explore different contact-points between their bodies.  Dancer Mike Berkin was on hand to help them, giving advice and suggestions to groups as they developed their ideas. 

    From a quiet start with little chatting between the course participants, I have just left a hubbub of noise down in the main hall at West Park.  Everyone seems to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and coming up with some wonderful ideas for the piece.  More tomorrow…

    Philippa Plumtree-Varley

    Learning & Access Coordinator

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    Leeds in Barcelona

    March 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm (Events, General Information) (, , , , , )

    Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT), along with Opera North and Phoenix Dance Theatre are leading Live in Leeds – a cultural showcase as part of Leeds in Barcelona.

    NBT’s Technical Director, Andy Waddington, has been leading on the organisation of Live in Leeds. His work began back in September 2009, when he battled uncharacteristic cold weather conditions to find a location for the event. Here he tells us a bit more:

    NBT, Opera North & Phoenix Dance Theatre will be providing the entertainment for the Leeds in Barcelona delegation and VIPs.

    This gives three artistic companies the opportunity to showcase their talents on an international stage.

    We’re supplying the technical support and theming for the evening’s entertainment and dinner. It’s being held at the five-star Melina Barcelona Hotel where the business and artistic delegations are staying.

    As we aren’t performing in a theatre it has been something of a logistical challenge. We’ve created a central stage which is surrounded by the delegation’s tables – effectively ‘Dancing & Opera in the Round.’

    NBT are performing sections from ‘As Time Goes By’, the choreography has been tweaked by David Nixon to suit the different type of stage and ballet master, Daniel de Andrade, is carrying out the staging on location.

    As the Company are currently performing Peter Pan in Woking technical is being provided by Events & Technology Ltd, Barcelona. Our contact, Nacho Murillo, has been invaluable helping with the infrastructure for the evening.

    All is going to plan for the night – the truck containing costumes, leaflets and ballet barres left West Park on Saturday and is due to arrive Monday evening. The dancers and technical crew are travelling out on Tuesday giving them only a day to rehearse on the stage in the round.

    Everybody’s really looking forward to taking part, to showing off the amazing skills from the heart of Leeds.

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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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    Wuthering Heights, Sheffield Cast

    March 17, 2010 at 10:03 am (Casts) (, , , , )

    Photo: Merlin Hendy

    Wuthering Heights is at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 16 till Saturday 20 March.

    Box office: 0114 249 6000 or book online.

    Casts are, as always, subject to change…

    Tuesday 16 March

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Wednesday 17 March

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Thursday 18 March

    Matinee, 2.30pm

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Friday 19 March

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Saturday 20 March

    Matinee, 2.30pm

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Wuthering Heights is at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 16 till Saturday 20 March.

    Box office: 0114 249 6000 or book online.

    Casts are, as always, subject to change…

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    Reaching New Heights…

    March 12, 2010 at 9:28 am (Articles) (, , , , )

    The Sheffield Telegraph has a great feature by Ian Soutar about Wuthering Heights, on at the Lyceum Theatre next week.

    THE windswept majesty of the Yorkshire moors comes to Sheffield next week when Northern Ballet Theatre present Wuthering Heights at the Lyceum.

    Read the full Arts Guide: Reaching New Heights at the Sheffield Telegraph.

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    Wuthering Heights – Edinburgh Casting

    March 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm (Casts) (, , , , )

    Photo: Merlin Hendy

    Wuthering Heights is at Edinburgh Festival Theatre from Thursday 11 till Saturday 13 March.

    Box office: 0131 529 6000 or book online.

    Casts are, as always, subject to change…

    Thursday 11 March

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Friday 12 March

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Saturday 13 March

    Matinee, 2.30pm

    Evening, 7.30pm

    Casts are, as always, subject to change…

    Wuthering Heights is at Edinburgh Festival Theatre from Thursday 11 till Saturday 13 March.

    Box office: 0131 529 6000 or book online.

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    Around the Web…

    March 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm (General Information) (, , , , , , , , )

    There’s a great profile on Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director (and former Northern Ballet Theatre Director of Learning & Access) Sharon Watson on the Cultural Leadership Programme’s Women to Watch List…

    On the Ballet News blog there’s a Cupcakes & Conversation interview with our very own Kenneth Tindall

    We’re in Edinburgh with Wuthering Heights this week, Herald Scotland has an interview with our Artistic Director, David Nixon and The Scotsman has an interview with Wuthering Heights composer  Claud-Michel Schönberg and his wife, former NBT dancer, Charlotte Talbot.

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    Boys Wanted!

    March 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm (Easter course) (, , , )

    Photo: Brian Slater

    Photo: Brian Slater

    In the Learning & Access department we are currently busy putting together all the arrangements for our forthcoming Easter Course – answering phone enquiries, sending out information, and processing incoming applications… Whilst drinking plenty of cups of tea and eating some yummy biscuits!  A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make the Easter Course happen, not only involving the stuff Caroline is currently doing on the ‘artistic’ side but purely in administrating the course.  Everyone has to be in the right place, at the right times, and with the right music, equipment and space to work in otherwise the course just simply couldn’t go ahead!

    Having been on a number of Easter Courses at Northern Ballet Theatre when I was younger, I am finding it interesting as the new Learning & Access Coordinator to see all the activity that goes on to make such a course happen.  It makes me wish I wasn’t too old to take part!

    Photo: Brian Slater

    Photo: Brian Slater

    We have had a number of applications so far for this year’s course – from young people spread right across the 11 to 16 years age range, as well as those with a great variety of dance experience.  Some have simply done dance classes at school, whilst others attend training on a weekly basis, but all you really need to take part is enthusiasm and a willingness to move about and be creative!

    There is one snag with the applications we have received so far though… There is a definite lack of boys!  I imagine men in tights and girls in tutus may be the first thing many people think of when they hear the word ‘ballet’, but this is certainly not the case with the Easter Course!  Not only will one of the company’s leading male dancers be helping to deliver the course, but it will also be a great way to make new friends, unleash your creative side, try out different styles of movement, and get active.  Dance is far from ‘girlie’ – did you know that many rugby and football teams take their warm-up techniques from ballet and admire the great strength dancers have to carry out their daily work?  So lads, why not come and try creative dance out for yourself!

    Philippa Plumtree-Varley
    Learning and Access Co-ordinator

    Photo: Brian Slater

    Photo: Brian Slater

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    Romeo & Juliet Cast Sheet for Leeds Grand Theatre

    February 26, 2010 at 10:14 am (Casts) (, , , , , , )

    Montagues; Capulets; a Ball; the balcony; fights; death; unrestrained passion; an all-consuming love; the ultimate tragedy.

    Northern Ballet Theatre’s classic adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy returns to the stage. Passionate and dramatic, this is ballet at its most intense.

    Sets and costumes designed by the award winning Lez Brotherston, stunning dancing and Prokofiev’s timeless score make Northern Ballet Theatre’s critically acclaimed Romeo & Juliet an unforgettable theatrical experience.

    Romeo & Juliet at Leeds Grand Theatre

    For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

    Book tickets from Leeds Grand Theatre. Or call the box office: 0844 848 2702

    Casts are subject to change…

    Saturday 27 February, Matinée

    Saturday 27 February, Evening

    Monday 1 February, Evening

    Tuesday 2 March, Evening

    Wednesday 3 March, Evening

    Thursday 4 March, Matinée

    Thursday 4 March, Evening

    Friday 5 March, Evening

    Saturday 6 March, Matinée

    Saturday 6 March, Evening

    Casts are subject to change…

    Book tickets from Leeds Grand Theatre. Or call the box office: 0844 848 2702

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    ‘As Time Goes By’ Casting, Leeds Grand Theatre

    February 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm (Artist's News, Casts) (, , , , , , )

    As Time Goes By is an opportunity to see the company perform a rich variety of work by an array of talented choreographers. All music is played live by the Nothern Ballet Theatre Orchestra.

    All roles for the evening including Powerhouse Rhumba, Glass Canon & Angels in the Architecture are performed by Northern Ballet Theatre dancers.

    To book tickets please contact Leeds Grand Theatre on 0844 848 2701

    For more information on As Time Goes By visit our website.

    Please be aware that the cast can change at any time without notice…

    Tuesday 23 February

    Don Quixote


    As Time Goes By

    Wednesday 24 February

    Don Quixote


    As Time Goes By

    Thursday 25 February (Matinee)

    Don Quixote


    As Time Goes By

    Thursday 25 February (Evening)

    Don Quixote


    As Time Goes By

    Please be aware that the cast can change at any time without notice…

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    Loving Leeds…

    February 22, 2010 at 10:15 am (Artist's News, General Information, Interviews, Podcasts) (, , , , )

    In this latest podcast Northern Ballet Theatre dancers tell us what the love most about Leeds…

    (right click here to download the mp3 file.)

    Michela Paolacci & Hiro Takahashi in Leeds City Centre

    Michela Paolacci & Hiro Takahashi in Leeds City Centre, Photo: Ryan Hopkinson

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Christopher Hinton-Lewis on Moving On

    February 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm (Artist's News, Interviews) (, , )

    In this podcast Christopher Hinton-Lewis talks about leaving Northern Ballet Theatre after 10 years and his dreams for the future…

    Click to download this Northern Ballet Theatre podcast…

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    Valentine’s Day Interview with Lori and David

    February 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm (Artist's News, Interviews) (, , , , )

    Northern Ballet Theatre dancers Lori Gilcrist and David Ward have been dating for over four years – in this interview they reveal all about each other…

    Where did you meet your Valentine?

    David: We obviously met in the company! We had our first date in a night club and then we started dating on and off for a while. But we have been together five years.

    What is your Valentine’s finest quality?

    Lori: hmmmmm I don’t actually know!

    David: Well I don’t know you’re supposed to answer for me!

    Lori: He’s caring, defiantly caring and kind.

    David: Her finest quality is that she loves animals.

    What is your Valentines worst habit?

    David: That I never do the washing up or clean?

    Lori: Definitely, definitely!

    David: We take it in turns so if I make dinner she can wash up…

    Lori: But if I make dinner I wash up!

    What would be your Valentine’s dream holiday?

    David: Any holiday!

    Lori: That’s true…

    David: Lori is addicted to holidays so as far away and as long as possible! We are hoping to go to Bali after the tour to China for 10 days to two weeks. So that’s our next dream holiday!

    Which ballet couple best describes your relationship and why?

    Lori: Maybe Lysander and Hermia

    David: Yea… I prefer Demetrius and Hermia it’s a bit more fun, a bit younger!

    What would your Valentine eat is it were their last meal on earth?

    Lori: Rice and peas and chicken!

    David: Probably Sunday Roast.

    Who is more romantic?

    Lori: David, definitely

    David: For sure!

    Who has the better sense of humour?

    Lori: David!

    David: For sure!

    Who is more likely to deal with a spider?

    Lori: Me!

    David: I hate spiders!

    Lori: He could cry…

    Who is more of a gambler in every day life?

    Lori: I’d say we’re quite equal.

    David: Yeah we are quite equal, we don’t like to plan too much, take everyday as it comes so that’s a bit of a gamble I guess.

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