900 students and teachers explore opportunities in the arts with Northern Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet

Northern Ballet is preparing to welcome 900 students and teachers from over 20 schools and colleges in West Yorkshire to a special dedicated performance of the Company’s new Romeo and Juliet at Leeds Grand Theatre on 11 March. The performance, which falls during National Apprentice Week, is a key part of the Grand Futures Leeds Arts Partnership and Northern Ballet’s START project which together aim to introduce young people to the arts and the potential opportunities for a future career within the arts industry.

The performance will be attended by 120 students and teachers from the Grand Futures Leeds Arts Partnership. The partnership was launched in 2014 with Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, City Varieties Music Hall, Hyde Park Picture House, East Street Arts, Yorkshire Dance, Leeds City College and Leeds City Council’s Artforms. The organisations have been working together to address some of the challenges around young people accessing careers in the arts and increasing awareness of the arts and the job roles available within the industry. During the project, 20 new apprenticeship and internship positions have been created across departments and further training opportunities and schools events have been delivered by the partnership throughout the year.

Keisha Hamilton, Northern Ballet’s Dance Education Apprentice said: ‘I have always been interested in dance but wanted to know how I could build a career in the art form not necessarily performing on the stage. My apprenticeship with Northern Ballet has given me lots of opportunities to develop skills in dance education by learning first-hand from their professional artists. I have learnt a lot and know there is so much more I can achieve.’

In addition, 780 pupils and teachers participating in Northern Ballet’s START project will also attend the performance of Romeo and Juliet. The START project is designed to introduce pupils to the world of theatre and dance as well as providing teachers with a greater understanding of dance education. For many pupils, taking part in the project has given them their first opportunity to go to the theatre. The pupils have been working with Dance Education Officers from Northern Ballet since October including taking part in workshops which involved an introduction to ballet where they explored the story of Romeo and Juliet.

Northern Ballet’s Learning Project Manager, Jo Dean, said: ‘It’s not only important to introduce young people to going to the theatre but it is essential that having been inspired by what they see they are aware of the different opportunities available to them in the future. By working with young people across the age ranges we can open their eyes to the variety of roles and jobs within the arts and through Apprenticeship schemes support them to gain the skills and experience they need to fulfil their potential.’
For more information on Northern Ballet’s START project or the Grand Futures Leeds Arts Partnership, please contact Shelley Firth by emailingshelley.firth@northernballet.com, or call 0113 220 8000.