We’re very excited to announce our 2018-19 season, featuring Lest We Forget, Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, Derek Deane’s Swan Lake, Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker, She Persisted (a triple bill of works by Stina Quagebeur, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Pina Bausch) and Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella in-the-round.
Next season, preparations begin for our move to a new home at London City Island in Canning Town. We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been successful in a stage two application to Arts Council England’s Capital Large Grants programme, funded by the National Lottery, for a £3 million investment in this 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 our work with the local community and wellbeing programme, including our flagship Dance for Parkinson’s programme. Fundraising for English National Ballet and English National Ballet School’s move is ongoing.
One of the first new productions to be created in our new home is from multi award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who premieres a new in-the-round adaptation of his production of Cinderella in June 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall. Co-produced with the Royal Albert Hall, Wheeldon’s inventive production features over 90 dancers and combines magnificent sets and costumes, theatrical surprises, and lively choreography in what promises to be the ballet spectacular of 2019.
We continue to showcase women’s voice in choreography with our second programme dedicated to female choreography, She Persisted at Sadler’s Wells in April 2019. Following 2016’s acclaimed 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 Pina Bausch’s masterwork Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) return. Regarded as one of Bausch’s most revered works, English National Ballet is only the second ballet company in the world 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 National Dance Awards. Broken Wings will see legendary ballet star and Guest Ballet Master Irek Mukhamedov reprise his role as Diego Rivera.
To commemorate the end of the First World War, our acclaimed Lest We Forget 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 piece full of unforgettable and haunting images.
Since its premiere in 2014, Lest We Forget has gone 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 we presented Dust on the Pyramid Stage in front of over 30,000 people.
Autumn 2018 sees the Company tour Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon outside London for only the second time in 30 years, touring to Manchester, Southampton, and Milton Keynes. Famous for its expressive choreography and dramatic challenge, Manon features some of the most demanding and fulfilling roles in ballet. Manon is accompanied by Julies Massenet’s haunting music performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Also performed as part of the Autumn tour is our hugely successful production of the timeless classic Swan Lake choregraphed by Derek Deane. Touring to Liverpool and Bristol, Swan Lake features some of the most iconic scenes in ballet performed to Tchaikovsky’s glorious score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Both Manon and Swan Lake then return in January 2019 for performances at the London Coliseum.
Continuing the Christmas tradition of presenting Nutcracker each year since 1950, the family favourite returns to the London Coliseum following sold out performances in 2017 and 2016.
Committed to developing and nurturing talent within the Company, 2019 sees the tenth anniversary of our Emerging Dancer competition. Recognising the excellence of our artists, this annual celebration sees six finalists, mentored by their peers, perform in front of a panel of preeminent judges. The winner of Emerging Dancer is announced alongside the People’s Choice award and the Corps de Ballet award, introduced to recognise the hard work and dedication of an exceptional member of the corps.
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. Next year’s production will be announced later.
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.
Meanwhile, Akram Khan’s Giselle tours 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 Chekhov International Festival on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre in June 2019.
Manon, Swan Lake and Nutcracker open for priority booking to Friends from 10am on Thursday 14 March, with general booking open from 10am on Monday 19 March. Become a Friend today to enjoy priority booking, access to exclusive events throughout the season, and great discounts.
She Persisted, Cinderella in-the-round, My First Ballet and Emerging Dancer 2019, will open for booking later on in the year. Sign up to our e-newsletter to find out when booking is announced.
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.