Image: English National Ballet's home on London City Island © Michael Molloy.

We’re thrilled that our new purpose-built home in Canning Town was officially opened last night by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and is now open to the public.

The 93,000 square foot state-of-the-art building gives English National Ballet the space and facilities we need to continue to develop world-class artists, create new works that push boundaries of ballet, and offer new jobs, skills and training opportunities for local communities. The new space has been designed to welcome in the local community, with views into the rehearsal studios, an exhibition space and café, run by The Espresso Room.

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Tamara Rojo, Deputy Mayor for Culture Justine Simons and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the opening of English National Ballet's new building © Laurent Liotardo

Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: “Our new home is a hub for creativity, where imaginations will be ignited. It will be a springboard where artists from all disciplines can meet, grow, exchange, and inspire each other, creating work that can be shared with audiences up and down the country and across the world.

“It is a space where everyone can feel welcome, where we can increase our engagement with our local community, and where people of all ages, young and old, from all backgrounds can enjoy our art form.

“I truly believe that this is the best ballet centre in the world, which will transform the way ballet is created and open up the creative process to our audience.”

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The Dorfman Foyer is the first place everyone coming into the building encounters © Michael Molloy.

The opening celebration was an opportunity for us to thank and celebrate with the many individuals, foundations and organisations that have supported the development of this new space.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the opening of English National Ballet's new building © Laurent Liotardo

The Mayor of London invested £1million through the Good Growth Fund towards English National Ballet’s new building. With the support in creating exceptional facilities, the Company has the tools to launch our ambitious Bridging Neighbourhoods, Growing Talent project. Included in this is a skills programme that will provide training, apprenticeships, volunteering and learning opportunities for 4,000 Londoners over the next three years. This funding will also support new jobs at the facilities, supporting London’s creative industries to continue to grow.

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Looking up at our feature staircase in the Dorfman Foyer © Michael Molloy.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London is a city full of creative talent so I’m delighted that these world-class facilities are opening up opportunities to all Londoners. By enabling the community to practise alongside internationally-renowned professional dancers, these new spectacular studios not only showcase our capital as a world leader for ballet, but help improve the lives and wellbeing of Londoners from all backgrounds.

“It shows the positive impact that culture can have on our communities and, with work on East Bank already underway, is the latest step towards creating a global cultural powerhouse in East London. This sends a clear message to the world that London is open to talent and creativity and always will be.”

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan officially opens English National Ballet's new building © Laurent Liotardo

Our new home is also generously supported by Arts Council England’s Large Scale Capital Programme.

Claire Mera-Nelson, Acting London Area Director, Arts Council England said: ‘We are delighted that English National Ballet are unveiling their new home on London City Island, which we supported with National Lottery funding. This new industry leading facility is future proofing their ability to develop world class artists and performances now and for generations to come. We look forward to seeing the impact on the local community the centre will have, how it will broaden offerings for children and young people and further their flagship Dance for Parkinson’s programme to people across east London and beyond.”

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The Wigoder Gallery continues the public area that can be used for a wide range of activities, from exhibitions and engagement projects to events and chamber music © Michael Molloy.

Our new home received significant philanthropic support from individual donors and charitable foundations including the Clore Duffield Foundation, Dorfman Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Linbury Trust, London Marathon Charitable Trust, Wigoder Family Foundation and Wolfson Foundation. The Costume Atelier is supported by CHANEL. The shell and core of the building was generously donated by EcoWorld Ballymore.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan meets Dyer Symone Frost with Deputy Mayor Justine Simons at English National Ballet's new building © Laurent Liotardo

Guests at the Opening Celebration enjoyed a performance of the Olivier Award-nominated Playlist (Tracks 1,2) created by William Forsythe for English National Ballet and performed by 12 of our dancers in the new five storey production studio, which is fully equipped with fitted fly tower.

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The Production Studio with fly-tower, which will enable English National Ballet to complete a technical rehearsal before we arrive in a theatre © Michael Molloy.

Also on view were some of the seven full-sized studios and dedicated engagement and learning spaces.  The Mayor of London had the opportunity to view a rehearsal with members of ENBYouthCo and meet participants in English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme and Dancing East, a programme of weekly ballet classes for over 50’s.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan meets members of ENBYouthCo and Dancing East at English National Ballet's new building © Laurent Liotardo

At four times the size of Markova House, our former building in South Kensington, this new home allows us to open up the creative process for more people to participate in and benefit from the powerful art form of dance. ENB’s work in the local community has already seen Dance for Parkinson’s taster sessions held in Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge and Havering, and its Dancing East programme runs weekly ballet classes for over 50’s in five community centres in Tower Hamlets. A roadshow of youth workshops will be held in community centres across East London to support a recruitment drive for ENBYouthCo and the Company’s youth dance projects and Ballet Explored workshops focusing on Akram Khan’s Giselle begin in secondary schools.

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Viewing window looking into the Linden Studio, named after former ballerina Anya Linden and generously supported by John and Anya Sainsbury's, The Linbury Trust © Michael Molloy

Our new building will become a focal point for ballet in the capital and on the world stage. It is the latest cultural centre to move east and will be joined on London City Island by the London Film School. Future east London culture developments include East Bank, and the planned education district at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the opening of English National Ballet's new building © Laurent Liotardo

We hope you can visit our new home soon. Upcoming events include:

Sign up to our e-newsletter to find out when more events are announced. For more information about our roadshow for youth events, please get in touch with our Engagement department at engagement@ballet.org.uk

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