As if the return of Akram Khan’s Giselle for English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary 2019-2020 season wasn’t enough, the season will also include a new full-length production from the choreographer. There is much to look forward to elsewhere too, including Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella and the return of Le Corsaire, both of which will tour.
What will be English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary season, the first after moving to their new home at London City Island, will be celebrated with three special gala performances at the London Coliseum featuring extracts from a diverse range of repertoire spanning the company’s history. Artistic director Tamara Rojo says the gala will “celebrate the sheer love of dance, both on and off the stage, that has been part of our vision from the beginning.”
Taking inspiration from Mary Shelley’s literary classic, Frankenstein, Khan’s new ballet, titled Creature, is influenced by essential questions on ambition, human endeavour and morality. Creature is co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, where it will premiere in April 2020.
Akram Khan said, “Since I was a child, I have been obsessed and fascinated with the story of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. The outcast, the monster, or the stranger has always been a common theme in my works. But in this new creation, I am looking further into the areas related to the sense of abandonment, rage and loss. Having made Giselle on English National Ballet in 2016, I am extremely excited to create a new full-length work with them.”
Following Christopher Wheeldon’s restaging of his Cinderella for in-the-round performances at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2019, the proscenium arch version of this super interpretation of the familiar story can be seen in Manchester and Southampton. Elsewhere, Le Corsaire returns to Milton Keynes six years after its 2013 premiere in that same city, before performances at the London Coliseum in January 2020.
Also at the Coliseum is Nutcracker, following performances in Liverpool.
International ballet star, Brooklyn Mack, will perform with English National Ballet as a Guest Artist during the Autumn-Winter 2019-2020 Season. Mack last performed with English National Ballet in 2016, in Le Corsaire.
Looking abroad, English National Ballet are to tour Akram Khan’s Giselle to Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (June 2019), the Chekov International Festival on the Bolshoi Theatre stage in Moscow (July 2019), the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona (April 2020), and to the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris (July 2020) as part of the festival Les Étés de la Danse.
The popular Emerging Dancer evening, which sees six finalists mentored by their peers to perform in front of a panel of eminent judges, returns in Spring 2020.
Continuing the My First Ballet series, the company and English National Ballet School will tour a new version of My First Ballet: Cinderella.
Plans for English National Ballet’s Summer 2020 performances will be announced later this Spring.
Celebrating and thanking its touring communities, English National Ballet will give away 70 tickets during each run in every city it tours to. Working with its partner venues, these tickets will be distributed to people who are making a positive impact in their community. To thank its audiences and fans, English National Ballet will also give a ‘Golden Ticket’ for a special English National Ballet experience to one audience member per performance throughout the season. Opportunities will include behind-the-scenes tours, complimentary tickets, and meet and greets.
Away from the stage, English National Ballet will have moved into a new home at London City Island, Canning Town. This state-of-the-art building, also a new home for the English National Ballet School, features a theatre size production studio fitted with fly tower, allowing productions to be fully shaped away from the theatre.
The Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund has committed to a £1million grant to support English National Ballet’s move and their East London focused project, Bridging Neighbourhoods – Growing Talent, through which the company will share its new infrastructure as a multi-disciplinary creative hub for active participation and skills development, and as a catalyst for bringing communities together through the sharing of culture.
The project will generate 8 new full-time jobs, 20 new Associate Artists and deliver a new skills development programme that provides training, apprenticeships, volunteering, residences and learning opportunities for 4,000 people over the next three years with a focus on recruitment from the local area and across East London.
Akram Khan’s Giselle
Sadler’s Wells, London: September 18-28, 2019
Palace Theatre, Manchester: October 17-19, 2019
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton: October 23-26, 2019
Milton Keynes Theatre: November 20-23, 2019
London Coliseum: January 8-14, 2020
Liverpool Empire: November 27-30, 2019
London Coliseum: December 11, 2019 – January 5, 2020
70th Anniversary Gala
London Coliseum: January 17 & 18, 2020
Creature by Akram Khan
Sadler’s Wells, London: April 1-8, 2020
Spring 2020 (details to be announced)
My First Ballet: Cinderella
Spring 2020 (details to be announced)