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PRESS RELEASE: Northern Ballet awarded funding for 3 year programme of ballets for children

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Northern Ballet Media Release

For immediate release

27 June 2012


Northern Ballet awarded funding for 3 year programme of ballets for children


Northern Ballet has been awarding funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund to create a three-year programme of small scale family productions and to tour each to 15 venues across the North of England. Accompanied by an audience engagement programme, the productions will be created to inspire and engage children and families who may not usually access the arts. The award of £385,407, the largest award made to any applicant in this funding round, was announced this week.


Northern Ballet’s new production of Ugly Duckling has already been funded by Leeds Inspired to be performed in Leeds communities and will be accompanied by education activities at duck ponds across Leeds over the summer. The performance will tour around the region before coming to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre at Northern Ballet’s home in Leeds on 29 October for 14 performances.


Now, with the extra funding from the Strategic Tour Fund, Northern Ballet will be able to extend the tour of Ugly Duckling to a further 15 venues across the North of England next Spring and to create two further ballets for similar tours over the next two years.


Based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, Ugly Duckling is the story of a lonely duckling who doesn’t fit in with her friends. Throughout the ballet, the duckling learns about herself and those around her and when she learns to love who she is she turns into a beautiful swan and begins a happy new life. The ballet is being choreographed by Northern Ballet dancers Dreda Blow and Sebastian Loe.


The colourful production for children aged four and up will feature a host of animal characters including cats, frogs and a fox. The performance time will be 40 minutes in length and the music performed will range from classical compositions to the theme tunes of popular children’s cartoons.


This is the first time Northern Ballet will produce a ballet for young children and the aim is to engage families in theatre, art and music in a fun, lively and approachable way. The two further ballets, titles of which will be announced shortly, will be similar in length and format and will provide a perfect introduction to live performance, music and dance.


Northern Ballet’s Director of Learning, Selina McGonagle, said: ‘It’s at the heart of Northern Ballet’s mission that we create great art for everyone. We regularly challenge preconceptions about dance and ballet in particular by developing new work based on familiar stories and by taking inspiration from popular culture. Northern Ballet already has a terrific series of family ballets such as Beauty & the Beast, Peter Pan and The Nutcracker. We’re thrilled to have been awarded this money to create and tour a new series of ballets for very small children for the first time, and to develop a specific programme of related engagement activities especially for them.’




Ugly Duckling is an audience outreach project funded by Leeds City Council as part of Leeds Inspired, a Leeds City Council initiative which supports arts, sport and heritage events around the region and offers grants to individuals and organisations for cultural projects. Leeds Inspired is supported by a group of partners including West Yorkshire Playhouse, SAA-UK, Cultivate, Leeds Young Authors, Leeds Initiative, Leeds Met Gallery, Phoenix Dance and Duke Studios.



Tour Listings

Ugly Duckling


Yeadon Town Hall

Sat 20 October, 3pm


Hunslet Club

Sun 21 October, 2.30pm and 4pm


Riley Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Sat 27 October, 2.30pm and 4pm


Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre

Mon 29 October – Fri 2 November

Performances: Daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm (except Thursday 1 November when there is no 3pm performance)


Tickets at all venues will cost £4 - £5

Box Office 0113 220 8008 or


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