Theatre life from with Elizabeth Adlington, area theatre manager at the New Theatre, Oxford

Tomorrow we have a very special company bringing us their production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake – English Youth Ballet. Co-founded in 1998 by Janet Lewis MBE, a former ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet Company and the London Festival Ballet, EYB works to give young dancers the opportunity to perform within a professional setting in their own region.

This is the first time that they have performed in Oxford, so the auditions that took place here in May were very popular – over 300 youngsters aged between eight and 18 attended! Janet and her team have whittled this down to 100 talented dancers who have since been rehearsing tirelessly in order to bring Swan Lake to life on the New Theatre stage.

What an opportunity. With the key roles danced by international principal artists, who also coach the young company, the local youngsters are given an unique opportunity to experience the world of professional, adult ballet, receive expert tuition and direction, and to really explore the nature of life as a ballerina. We’re all very much looking forward to seeing the results of all their hard work tomorrow and on Saturday, so do please come along and support young, local talent.

English Youth Ballet is just one of the companies that come to the New Theatre to make use of our large scale facilities to give young people both a chance to experience the thrill of performing professionally and the chance to celebrate their achievements by performing to all their friends and families. Stagecoach Theatre Arts have long been coming to the New for their annual showcase (as well as often providing professional productions with local children for children’s roles), and more recently, both the Elite Dance School and Spotlight have begun to be regular visitors to our stage. The atmosphere backstage is always very different when we have dressing rooms full of young performers – energy is bouncing off the walls as they take in the whole experience.

It is always a lot of hard work but the example set to them by their teachers and directors is exemplary. It is wonderful to see theatrical professionals dedicate so much of their time to helping the next generation get a foot in stage door. We’re also delighted to be able to open the doors of the venue to such excellent groups of people, and be able to support their work in every way. So if you think that we might be the venue for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!