- English National Ballet and English National Ballet School set to move into joint state-of-the-art home in Canning Town, East London
- ENB's success in stage two application to Arts Council England's Capital Large Grants programme for a £3 million investment in its new home
- Christopher Wheeldon to create a new in-the-round version of Cinderella for English National Ballet and the Royal Albert Hall
- ENB's second bill featuring female choreographers, She Persisted includes a new work inspired by Ibsen's A Doll's House by First Artist Stina Quagebeur
- She Persisted also features Pina Bausch's Le Sacre du printemps and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings
- Lest We Forget returns to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War
- Akram Khan's Giselle tours internationally to the Harris Theater, Chicago and to the Chekov International Festival at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
- Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon performed on tour and at the London Coliseum
- ENB in Paris, following the Company's performances at the Palais Garnier, to be released via YouTube
A new home
English National Ballet has announced its 2018-2019 season at a press conference at London City Island, the site of its future home. Next season begins as the Company prepares to move to its new purpose-built home at London City Island in Canning Town, a new neighbourhood from EcoWorld Ballymore.
The Company has been successful in its stage two application to Arts Council England's Capital Large Grants programme, funded by the National Lottery, for a £3 million investment in its future home. Bringing both English National Ballet and English National Ballet School together under one roof for the first time. The new building will create a centre that combines state-of-the-art training, fitness and rehab, and teaching facilities, seven stage-sized rehearsal studios, and a unique production studio with five-storey fly tower unrivalled in the UK.
The new building will include digital infrastructure which will allow both organisations to capture and share work and engage with audiences around the UK and the rest of the world, and dedicated Engagement spaces to further the Company's work with the local community and wellbeing programme including its flagship English National Ballet Dance for Parkinson's programme. Fundraising for English National Ballet and English Ballet's new move is ongoing.
Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, said,
We are so grateful to Arts Council England for their continued support and investment in our new home, which will be a space that will echo the sound of creative Britain. It will be a place where artists will be nurtured from school to beyond their stage careers, and where our continued commitment to their health and fitness will have the best possible infrastructure.
We will have state of the art spaces to allow us to further create ground-breaking new work and continue to develop our artform. It will be a space we will be able to share with other artists and artforms, and will allow us to be even more open and welcoming to our local communities and audience.
Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella
One of the first new productions to be created in the Company's new home is by Christopher Wheeldon who will create a new in-the-round version of Cinderella in June 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall. It will feature over 90 dancers with “magnificent sets and costumes, theatrical surprises”.
Lucy Noble, Artistic Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said,
We're thrilled to be co-producing Christopher Wheeldon's exquisite production of Cinderella with English National Ballet, specially adapted for the world's most famous stage. The Royal Albert Hall and English National Ballet have a long and happy partnership, which started in 1997 with Swan Lake and has since seen hundreds of thousands of people enjoying ballet in-the-round in our wonderful Hall. This co-production continues our shared ambition to take great art to everyone.
“World's most famous stage”?
Second programme dedicated to female choreography: She Persisted
ENB continues to showcase the woman's voice in choreography with its second programme dedicated to female choreography, She Persisted at Sadler's Wells in April 2019. Following 2016's She Said programme, She Persisted includes the premiere of Nora, a new work by First Artist Stina Quagebeur, based on Ibsen's A Doll's House.
She Persisted also sees the return of Pina Bausch's Le Sacre du printemps. Regarded as one of Bausch's most important works, English National Ballet is only the second ballet Company in the world to be allowed to perform the work.
First premiered in April 2016, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings is also revived. Based on the life of Frida Kahlo, Broken Wings was nominated for Best Modern Choreography at the 2016 Critics Circle National Dance Awards. Broken Wings will see legendary ballet star and Guest Ballet Master at English National Ballet, Irek Mukhamedov, reprise his role as Diego Rivera.
Lest We Forget returns to Sadler's Wells
To commemorate the end of the First World War, English National Ballet's Lest We Forget programme returns to Sadler's Wells in September 2018. Featuring three poignant works, Lest We Forget reflects on the experiences of those who fought in the conflict, and those who stayed behind. Drawing on superb design and evocative scores, choreographers Liam Scarlett, Russell Maliphant and Akram Khan have created dance pieces full of unforgettable and haunting images.
Since its premiere in 2014, Lest We Forget went on to receive the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance, and Best Modern Choreography at the 2014 Critic's Circle National Dance Awards for Akram Khan's Dust. English National Ballet also became the first ballet company to perform at Glastonbury when it presented Dust on the Pyramid Stage in front of over 30,000 people.
Continuing its commitment to UK touring and presenting ballet to the widest possible audience, Autumn 2018 sees English National Ballet in Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, outside London for only the second time in 30 years, touring to Manchester, Southampton, and Milton Keynes, with the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Also performed as part of English National Ballet's Autumn tour is its hugely successful production of Derek Deane's Swan Lake. It will tour to Liverpool and Bristol, again with the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Following performances of Manon and Swan Lake on tour, English National Ballet will present both productions at the London Coliseum in January 2019.
Continuing its Christmas tradition of presenting a Nutcracker production each year since 1950, ENB's Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum following sold out performances in 2016 and 2017.
- 2019 sees the tenth anniversary of its Emerging Dancer competition, recognising the excellence of the Company's artists, this annual celebration sees six finalists mentored by their peers to perform in front of a panel of preeminent judges.
- 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 audiences as young as three. Since 2012, over 250,000 people have seen a ballet from the series.
- To mark two years since English National Ballet became the first UK company in 60 years to perform on the Palais Garnier stage, ENB in Paris will be released in June 2018 via our YouTube channel. A film by Michael Nunn & William Trevitt, this five-part documentary follows the Company as it prepares to make history with its performances of Le Corsaire on this world-renowned stage.
- Taking the very best in British ballet to audiences across the world, English National Ballet tours Akram Khan's Giselle internationally next season. The Company will make its first performances in the United States for over 30 years in February 2019 when it performs at the Harris Theater in Chicago, and for the first time in the Company's history it will perform at the Chekov International Festival on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre June 2019.
Fact and figures…
During the 2016-2017 financial year the Company gave 175 performances in England and a further six abroad, to a paid attendance of over 296,000 people, reaching a capacity attendance of 87%.
English National Ballet is committed to taking world class ballet to the widest possible audience and in 2016/2017 over 30,000 tickets sold were priced at £14 or under across every UK venue.
In 2017 ENB's website was redesigned and re-launched. In 2016 it created an enhanced digital campaign for Akram Khan's Giselle, with a bespoke microsite which housed images and short films chronicling the creative process. To date, the site has had over 485,000-page views and the films have had over 6.5 million views.
The digital reach and participation showed significant growth in 2016/2017 with a 33.91% increase in visitors to the website from the previous year, a 116% increase in followers on Instagram, 60.1% increase in Facebook followers, a 30.7% increase in YouTube subscribers, and video content received 14.9 million views.
Justin Bickle, Chairman of the Board, to stand down
English National Ballet announced that Justin Bickle will step down as chairman in 2018. Justin Bickle joined the Board in 2009, succeeding John Talbot as Chairman in 2013. Bickle, who moved to Dublin following his new role as Co-Founder and CEO of Glenveagh Properties PLC, announced his plans to the Company in December 2017. The search for a new Chair is underway, and the Company expects to announce Bickle's successor in Summer 2018.
It has been my great honour to serve as the Chairman of ENB's Board for the past five years, and to have led some of the most significant moments in its recent history; in particular securing the deal with EcoWorld Ballymore in order to create our new purpose-built, world-class home for the Company and English National Ballet School at London City Island. I'm incredibly proud to have helped enable this investment in the Company, its dancers, musicians, staff and students as I know it will allow English National Ballet to truly cement its place as a real powerhouse in the dance world.
English National Ballet 2018-2019 Season
Lest We Forget
Sadler's Wells, London
Thursday 20 September – Saturday 29 September 2018
Manchester Opera House
Wednesday 17 October – Saturday 20 October 2018
Milton Keynes Theatre
Wednesday 24 October – Saturday 27 October 2018
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Wednesday 31 October – Saturday 03 November 2018
Wednesday 21 November – Saturday 24 November 2018
Tuesday 27 November – Saturday 01 December 2018
Thursday 13 December – Sunday 30 December 2018
Thursday 03 January – Sunday 13 January 2019
Wednesday 16 January – Sunday 20 January 2019
Akram Khan's Giselle
Harris Theatre, Chicago
Thursday 28 February – Saturday 02 March 2019
Sadler's Wells, London
Tuesday 02 April – Saturday 13 April 2019
Sadler's Wells, London
Tuesday 07 May 2019
My First Ballet
Further details to be announced shortly
Royal Albert Hall, London
Thursday 06 June – Sunday 16 June 2019
Akram Khan's Giselle
Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
Thursday 11 July – Sunday 14 July 2019
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.