Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rekindling the Billy Elliot Effect

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rekindling the Billy Elliot Effect

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone Arts & Entertainment Editor

YOUNG men and boys are to be sought to perform in a spectacular show at Newcastle Theatre Royal with one of the country's most celebrated dance companies.

A stage adaptation of Lord of the Flies, the classic novel by William Golding, will feature professional members of Matthew Bourne's New Adventures dance company alongside the best of the North East recruits, some of them completely new to dance.

The performances, scheduled for November 5-8 next year, will be highlights of the Theatre Royal's spring and summer season, announced yesterday.

But the build-up to the run will begin early in 2014 when a North East recruitment drive will begin for boys and young men keen to dance.

James Mackenzie-Blackman, chief executive of Re:Bourne, the New Adventures education and emerging talent programme, said: "We'll be looking to form a company of around 25 men and boys, aged 10 to 25, but we are also hoping to work with over 300 young men across the North East.

"We're hoping that at least 50% of the company will be people who have never danced before."

He said the Lord of the Flies dance piece had been premiered with a similar company of professionals and local youngsters in Glasgow in 2011.

"That original production was funded by the Arts Council of Scotland and it was a great success. We knew we wanted to do it again and have now been granted just under PS1m from Arts Council England to do it south of the border."

Matthew Bourne's dance shows have become famous throughout the world and have traditionally drawn huge audiences to the Theatre Royal. His famous production of Swan Lake will be back at the venue next April, blazing a trail for this latest New Adventures enterprise.

Having welcomed the project with open arms, Philip Bernays, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, invited Dance City to become its North East partner in the project.

Anthony Baker, chief executive of Dance City, said: "As soon as Philip mentioned this to me I was mad keen because we are trying to get more boys involved in dance. …

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