Scottish Ballet unveil exciting plans under new artistic director

Scottish Ballet’s chief executive Cindy Sughrue and incoming artistic director Christopher Hampson have unveiled the exciting plans they have put in place for the company’s future.

Speaking a press conference held at Scottish Ballet headquarters in Glasgow yesterday, which was broadcast online across the world, Cindy and Christopher announced exciting plans to work in partnership with a selection of schools, colleges, and partners, as well as bring a number of new productions to the stage.

For the first time ever, Scottish Ballet will present the work of five-time Olivier Award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne OBE, granting the company an exclusive licence to Matthew's Highland Fling.

Inspired by La Sylphide, Highland Fling follows the antics of James - a young Scot with sex, love and rock-and-roll on his mind – whose addiction to excess finds him in the company of a beguiling gothic fairy on the eve of his wedding to his beloved Effie. Scottish Ballet will tour Highland Fling across Scotland in spring 2013.

This autumn Scottish Ballet will also launch *Hansel & Gretel, and Me, an exciting, innovative new project connects creation to education and gives communities a chance to participate in ballet in the broadest possible sense.

Working with schools, colleges, and partners - including the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, acclaimed author Louise Welsh and Forestry Commission Scotland – Scottish Ballet with brainstorm ideas based on the themes covered in Hansel & Gretel, including betrayal, loss and fear.

Each aspect of the project will them come together to inspire of Christopher's first choreography for the company and the first ever large-scale professional, full-length ballet production of Hansel & Gretel, which will tour to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Belfast and Newcastle in winter 2013 and 2012.

Other exciting plans include working with a number of choreographers, both new and established, including California's Helen Pickett and Canada's award-winning Crystal Pite.

The company also announced it will become among the first to commission an innovative new work from James Cousins, a 22-year-old London Contemporary Dance School graduate.

In addition to that, Scottish Ballet will also continue to broaden its repertoire of established, classic and contemporary masters with future acquisitions including, amongst others, an additional work from Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

The company also has plans to develop workshops allowing it to work with artists and innovators across many platforms, allowing it to continue the professional development and choreographic opportunities for the dancers of the company - including hopes to to re-establish Scottish Ballet 2 (SB2) - a smaller offshoot of the professional company.

Speaking about the new plans, incoming artistic director Christopher Hampson said: "As Scotland's national dance company we look forward to enriching, enthusing and engaging with communities, participants and audiences across Scotland and beyond.

"We may be the smallest of the national ballet companies in the UK, but like Scotland itself, we're outward-looking and pioneering. Our size and approach means we're adaptable, agile and able. We are excited to be working with a wide range of choreographers that will allow us to broaden the repertoire and produce new work in original ways. Commissioning new work always has been, and will continue to be, the lifeblood of our company."

Cindy Sughrue, chief executive of the company, added: "Scottish Ballet is proud to be a cultural ambassador of a country with such a unique and exciting identity, and we look forward to further developing this through our work on the world stage.

"We are in conversation with major international promoters and arts festivals, and we’re exploring innovative new ways to present our work. We look forward to revealing further plans soon."

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