JOANNA LUMLEY TO HOST
SPECIAL GALA PERFORMANCE BY
THE NATIONAL YOUTH BALLET OF GREAT BRITAIN
AT SADLER’S WELLS ON SUNDAY 4 SEPTEMBER 2016
· The evening will celebrate the legacy of Founder and Artistic Director Jill Tookey, who passed away in March this year
· Joanna Lumley has been a patron of National Youth Ballet since 1989, and will host the gala in memory of Jill
National Youth Ballet is delighted to announce that Joanna Lumley will host a special Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday 4 September, celebrating the company’s inspirational Founder and Artistic Director Jill Tookey, who passed away in March this year.
Joanna Lumley has been a patron of National Youth Ballet since 1989, when she met Jill at one of the company’s performances at Sadler’s Wells. Joanna has since become a huge supporter of the company, and has narrated two of their ballets. Joanna will host the gala performance on Sunday 4 September, where she will be joined on stage by many returning alumni, who now dance for leading companies including Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
Over three decades, Jill Tookey quietly became one of the industry’s most influential dance leaders, inspiring generations of young dancers and choreographers, many of whom have embarked upon successful professional careers after their time with NYB. Jill was appointed a CBE for services to dance in the 2016 New Year Honours, and in June this will be presented at Buckingham Palace to her ten-year-old granddaughter, and 2016 NYB company member, Gabriella Rummery.
The 2016 programme, which also includes performances at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley on Friday 27 and Saturday 27 August, will showcase highlights from National Youth Ballet’s 29-year history through some of Jill’s favourite commissions. These include The Old Man of Lochnagar, a ballet based on the children’s book by HRH The Prince of Wales, choreographed by Olivier Award winner and NYB alumnus Drew McOnie. NYB’s innovative Beyond Ballet platform will also return, showcasing young choreographic talents presenting their own works. The Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells will also include new commissions and performances from returning alumni including choreographer Andrew McNicol, West End performer Lucinda Lawrence and Birmingham Royal Ballet first artist Ruth Brill.
The 2016 Season is led by Artistic Director in Residence Mikah Smillie, a graduate of the Royal Ballet School’s Teachers Training Course, Associate Artist for Re:Bourne, mentor for NYB’s Beyond Balletchoreographic platform, teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and freelance rehearsal director.
National Youth Ballet involves talented young dancers aged 8 to 18 in every aspect of creating a ballet, from the conception of an idea through to performance on stage at a professional level. The Company also encourages children from all walks of life to become involved with dance through schools and community workshops. NYB utilises the skills of students in associated arts and encourages the talents of young designers, costumiers, musicians and student teachers in the preparation and production of all their work. Through the Beyond Ballet platform, the Company also nurtures young choreographic talent, supporting young choreographers in devising and showcasing their own works at professional level. This year 120 dancers from across the country were offered places with the Company, and will perform in the 2016 season.
Notable NYB alumni include Drew McOnie (choreographer), Sir Gregory Dean (Principal at Royal Danish Ballet), Jessica Brown Findlay (Actress, Downton Abbey) and Tyrone Singleton (Principal at Birmingham Royal Ballet), as well as many alumni working for leading companies including Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. Patrons include Carlos Acosta, Sir Matthew Bourne, Darcey Bussell, Joanna Lumley, Dame Monica Mason, Wayne Sleep and Sir Peter Wright.