NEWSLETTERS 2009

December 2009
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
March 2009

 

December 2009

Hi Again

Well I have to say Southport was a very dramatic end for what has been a very roller -coaster year for EYB ! Rehearsals were plagued by absenteeism with an unprecedented 6 people missing from the parents showing, very busy understudies! One Saturday the fire alarm went off during the morning meeting and we all had to evacuate into the pouring rain until it was sorted out! Turns out there was a badminton tournament in the school and their tea urn was under the smoke detector! Shades of Shrewsbury.

The school was very impressed with our response, not so with the badminton lot, they just kept playing wondering when the noise was going to stop! Then there was the theatre, a technical nightmare and a bit chaotic in the management department (the resident stage manager was very good and helpful though as were the rest of the crew), To compound the difficulties I had managed to leave one of the cloths behind (long story going back to Halifax) and Miss Lewis’ husband had to save the day by retrieving said cloth from the garages and drive all the way to Southport with it in the boot of his car! I had to buy him a very large Gin and Tonic in the interval that night I can tell you! At this point I thought nothing else could go wrong, foolish me. Disaster struck. After dancing the Prince on the first night Matthew was struck down by food poisoning and/or a bug and was unable to perform the next day (the hotel we were staying in was closed down and quarantined after we checked out because a bug was laying low the guests! made the local news). After some hasty rehearsals Miss Lewis and Alex changed the Snow Pas De Deux into a solo which Alex did magnificently with Emma in the wings giving moral support and ready to shout instructions should she forget the changes! Lorien and Emma did the leads for both shows and produced some very strong performances, as I am very fond of saying to Lorien “There is no shallow end in EYB, it’s deep all the way down”. To add to the drama Ailsa MacCalman who was playing the Maid and Madam Bonbon had also come down with food poisoning from a dodgy burger! She was determined to do the shows but it was touch and go. Things were so bad that as I knew one of our students, Ellie Waite, was coming to see the show I told her to bring her point shoes which she dutifully did and checked an old DVD to see the choreography. Fortunately Ailsa made it through the shows and Ellie was able to enjoy the show rather being thrown on! Stranger things have happened. I remember back in the Lewis London Ballet days a friend of mine came to see a show and asked if he could do class as he was interested in working with us. Miss Lewis said “Lets see what you are made of” taught him one of the dances, put him in a costume and he was on that night! Never the less to say he got the job.

The other big problem then was Matthew was our second driver and was to drive the principals back to London after the shows which of course he was in no condition to do. Fortunately, because I had forgotten the cloth (watch me wriggle out of this one) Miss Lewis’ husband was there with another car and was able to take the Principals home becoming the hero for the second time in two days! The other sad thing was my sister Helen’s (who is our on tour wardrobe mistress) ill health prevented her being with us again. She is in hospital as I write this but hopefully will be home for Christmas. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing her a speedy recovery. So all in all we were feeling very battered and bruised by the end of Southport.

On the plus side the performances went well with one of the best audience attendance of the year and a lovely performance from our guest Steven Wheeler as Drosselmeyer. Steven saw me do the role many times in the Lewis London Ballet days (The version we do was created on me by Miss Lewis back in 1986) and was determined to do it the way I wanted even though he has done other versions. He was very nervous about the magic tricks but I am pleased to report that they went off without a hitch. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him again! At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Luke Davies (Child/soldier/chinese) for performance quality and contribution to choreography, Ailsa MacCalman (Maid/Arabian/Madam Bonbon) for professionalism when ill and improved point work, the Waltz of the Flowers group for improved point work and nice arms, the Reed Pipes for smiling and Alice Cunningham (Sugar Plum Attendant) for consistent work. Prizes went to Timothy Booth (Father/Mouse king/Spanish/Jig) and Emily-Jayne Prescott (Doll/Sweet) who smiled from class to rehearsal to performance. Strangely I have had no messages this month, hopefully it is because you are all too busy to write and not something wrong with my e-mail service!

So to round up, as I said before it’s been up and down for us this year. As with the rest of the country it has been a tough year financially, attendance down at the box office and less people coming to auditions but the audition in Preston was as healthy as ever and we have our “big venues” next year so we survive, as Miss Lewis says “we fully intend to be around in 10 years time”. We have had personal highs and lows as well, the Joy of Miss Lewis’ wedding and the tragedy of losing Tony Philips too soon. Of course the constant high is the wonderful performances you all give. It’s what it is all about kiddos, says so on the back of the T-Shirt! As usual at this time of year you can catch Julianne, Matthew and Lorien on tour with the Strauss Gala, they are always pleased to see you all at the shows. Well I feel Christmas is officially here for me, cards done, Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart” album on in the background and it is snowing outside! . I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends over Christmas and new year so I will wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Cherish your loved ones and as always (once the mince pies have settled) keep working hard!

Dominic


October 2009

Hi Again

Just a short letter from me this month. The performances in Southsea were very strong indeed, what was particularly pleasing was the way all the corrections we worked on after the dress rehearsal were applied in the evening performance and the shows built from there. It is one of the hardest things to impart to students (especially the younger ones) that just learning the choreography is not enough, each rehearsal has to be used to improve the way you perform the steps not just when you have an audience in front of you! The cast in Southsea were a particularly rowdy bunch (and you all know by now how much I hate noise!) but Bridget asked me to mention how well behaved the younger boys were in the theatre after having been typical “Little Boys” during rehearsals :) In this production Trevor choreographed the Hunt dance for the first time which included a game of Quoits! (Look it up) Very amusing! As with the rest of the venues this year ticket sales were down but the theatre said we had done well compered to other shows and have invited us back for 2011. Rehearsals in Southport are going well (we seem to have done a lot of “Souths” this year). Southport will include a special guest appearance from Steven Wheeler in the role of Drosselmeyer, Steven is an old Colleague of mine, Miss Lewis and Julianne from the Lewis London Ballet days and went on to be a soloist with Northern Ballet Theatre, it will be fun to work with him again! We are all very tired after a long and eventful year and looking forward to the winter break. A special thank you to all the parents who made suggestions for a venue to rehearse in in Nottingham, your help is greatly appreciated.

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Wilis as a group, Kate Hoggard (Dukes Wife) for improved confidence Ella Richards (Cook), Niamh Wilkinson (Housekeeper), Lawrence Andrew and Joseph Vaughan (2 Butlers), Harriet Marden  (Wili) for Improved stronger pointe work and Sam Allen (Wilfred) for a sensitive performance. Prizes went to Lydia Mackett  (Child) and Grace Fennelly (Friend).

I have had messages from Shannen Redmond who passed her GCSE Dance with an A two years early and got Merit for her RAD intermediate, Freddie Gunningham who attended his first RB summer school and will be performing with BRB in “The Nutcracker”,  Charlotte Buckley who is now attending Bird College doing a BA Honours in Dance and Musical Theatre and Sam Butler who after going through Tring is now entering the profession with Ballet Theatre UK on their tour of “The Nutcracker” along with Natalie Cawte. I hope you will go along and support them if they come to a theatre near you! Congratulations to all!

That's all for now, keep working hard!

Dominic


September 2009

Hi Again

As I’m confined to home with the dreaded lurgi I’ve actually got some time to sit down and write this. As you all know by now the summer holidays are our busiest time of year with back to back and this year overlapping productions so everything becomes a bit of a blur! I cant believe Shrewsbury was only just over a week away and we are already half way through Southsea! Both the Theatres in Dunstable and Shrewsbury are new, Dunstable has managed to iron out the bugs from 2 years ago when it had just opened before our visit but Shrewsbury was chaos. It didn’t help that there was no manager or that most of the people in charge of running back stage were on holiday!  Everything took so long to do and none of the information for our visit had been passed on to the right people and the little that had was all wrong so that by the last day we all felt we had been there an extra day. It also didn’t help that the steam from the kettle in the green room set off the fire alarm and we all had to evacuate the building during the technical rehearsal on the Thursday night! Fortunately the students were all beautifully well behaved while in the theatre (well, while in view anyway, I’ve seen the photos on facebook :) ) which made life a bit less stressful for all concerned. Dunstable was of course our summer “Crash Course” and once again proved to be very strong group, in fact one of the best we have had and for the most were well behaved as well. The cast in Shrewsbury were fewer with a bigger range of levels so had longer road to travel but they got there in the end. There were some sparkling performances from the solo girls (who have worked with us before so we expect as much) and the young man who played the photographer was a pleasure to work with and had an exceptional stage presence. Both companies worked together very well and the group work was very tight. It is one of the pleasures of the job when on day 6 or 7 of a project and I take class, suddenly there is a company look and feel to the group, the arms move at the same time, heads go the same way and everyone holds themselves well and look ready to work. Makes it all worth while.

At the certificate ceremony in Dunstable commendations went to the Morning Hours, Little Friends, Dolls and Night Hours groups. The 3 young boys - Ben Wood for use of feet and pirouettes, Zack Guest for his mime and consistency and Tyla Munday for carrying on when his partner went off - and the older boys for improvement. Individual commendations went to Eleanor Pettit (Morning hour/Czardas), Megan Lester (Spanish Doll/Night hour), Isabella Good (Chinese Doll/Night hour), Lila Beck (Scottish Doll/Night hour), Cordelia Braithwaite (Dawn Solo), Megan Pay (Little Friend/Prayer), Holly Murphy (Villager) and finally Georgia Myatt and Sophie Donnelly (Work hours and Czardas). Prizes went to Kesi Dorey (Coppelia Doll) and Emily Hart (Little Friend).
At the certificate ceremony in Shrewsbury commendations went to The Guests group for improved pointe work, The Solo Jewels for always smiling,  Reece Lewis (Duke) for improved stage presence and strong mime, Alex Johnson (Charm Boy and Black cat) for use of legs and feet, Angelo Daniel (Lead Monster and Russian) for his dynamic lead monster, Charlotte Statham (Duchess) for performance quality and Francesca Whyatt (Guest) for improvement. Prizes went to Joshua Wyatt (Photographer) and Emma Bowden (Friend).

I have had messages from Rachel Hotham who got a Distinction for her RAD Advance Foundation and will be attending the RAD doing a BA Honours course and LRAD, her sister Evelyn attended the White Lodge summer school and has joined the Pre Senior course at Central, Sophie Bartlett who has joined the Legat program with a scholarship, Caroline Rees passed her RAD Advance 2 much to her relief as she was ill that day, Jessica Arnold who got distinction for both her RAD Intermediate and Grade 6 and has stated with the RB senior associates and finally Alex Johnson who is now a RB junior associate. Well done all.

Well that's all for now, must get back to my Lemsip and tissues. Keep your news coming in and it goes without saying “keep working hard”.

Dominic

July 2009

Hi Again

Well this a first for us at EYB, we have just had a summer break! The summer holidays are normally back to back productions but this year we actually managed to shut up shop for 2 weeks and run away (Sweden for me). Mind you we all needed a break after 4 projects and the last one in Halifax. We have not done so many long journeys for a year so it was quite tiring. The cast in Halifax were quite a handful, I’ve never known a group to be so accident prone! The end of the school year is always difficult for us as there are exams, dance school shows, dance exams etc. to contend with which always affects the attendance so the understudies are always working overtime. As always in the North the standard was very high so there were very strong performances from both the students and the principals. Alex and Matthew did their official premier as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince and did a lovely performance, I was very proud of them.

Our big news was Miss Lewis’ wedding on the 14 July! It was a wonderful day, the weather behaved it’s self for the church service and photos and didn’t rain until we were all undercover for the reception. It is a very romantic story as Miss Lewis and her husband Tony were teenage sweethearts back in the ‘60s. Their careers lead them down very different paths in life (with Tony ending up in Australia) but then they rediscovered each other 40  years later and their paths are now together. There were over 150 people there for both the Wedding and reception. On Miss Lewis’s side there we representatives from the different eras of her career as a dancer (The Royal Ballet and London Festival Ballet) and as a director (Dublin City Ballet, The Genee Ballet, The Lewis London Ballet and of course EYB) so it was great fun to catch up with old friends. We even had a small performance by past dancers and musicians from the LLB days, strangely singing rather than dancing. All in all it was great day and I’m sure you will all join us in wishing Miss Lewis and Tony continued happiness in their life together.

At the certificate ceremony in Halifax commendations went to Sophie Griffin (Clara), Eleanor Boothroyd, Katie Wisniewski and Leah Wise (Flowers), the Mice group for use of legs and feet, the Lead Flowers as a group with a special mention for Sarah Booth, Lucy Brodie (Maid and Madam Bonbon) for her use of face, Nehana Gittens (Governess/ Arabian) for her acting, Lauren Worley (Spanish/Teenager) and finally Benjamin Davis and Josef Jagger for their excellent understudying.
The Senior prize went to Jay Jones (Father/Mouse king/Jig) and the Junior Prize to Abbie Blake (Snowflake)

I have had messages from Caitlin O’Farrell who continues to do well at Tring and appeared with NYB in Wayne Sleep’s production of “Cinderella” as an Ember Fairy, Leah Butlin who got distinction for her Advanced Foundation and will be joining Central Ballet School’s Pre Senior Program in September, Freddie Gunningham who appeared with BRB as the Changeling Boy in their production of “The Dream” and will be attending the Royal Ballet Summer School, Kayleigh Joy Jackson who has gained a fully funded place at Elmhurst, Michael Preston who will be appearing with the Chelmsford Ballet Company, Ellie Warner who has been accepted into the new Legat Associates Program and is doing well in her academic studies as well and finally Oliver Cooper who has got a scholarship for the Legat School and will also be appearing in NYB’s production of “Cinderella”.

Well that's it from me, enjoy the rest of your summer breaks (It’s back to work for us) and be ready for the hard work when its over.

Dominic

June 2009

Hi Again

This section of the letter is going to be sort, the reason will be apparent below. The shows in Southend went well. It was hard work getting them on as we only ever had the full cast for the dress and 1st night! (Totti Goodman was unfortunately taken ill for the shows on Saturday ) So the understudies were very busy for this production. The cast presented Miss Lewis with a wonderful handmade card signed by all at the end of the project (Well done Tom Broderick for organising it!) and there were the usual emotional farewells at the end.
It was a very busy week for the EYB team as we also premiered a new show “Ballet Virtuoso” at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard. The program was a mixture of ballets from the “Virtuoso” company and the “Lewis London Ballet” days. A blast from the past! I will post when we are doing more dates.

At the certificate ceremony in Southend commendations went to the Wilis as a group for good concentration, Armarni Knight (Wood Nymph) for hard work, Suzanne Ling and Shelby Murrell (Housekeeper and Cook) for their performance and excellent understudy work - they stood in nearly every day for the Nymphs in rehearsal and the 2 shows on Saturday! Further commendations went to Adam Rollinson and Ashley Hayes (Hunt Gentlemen), Henry Woods and Michael Preston (Butlers), Chloe Rowe (Friend and constant understudy for the Wilis) and Molly Headford (Lady in Waiting).
Prizes went to Sophie Rye (Villager), Ruth Olajugbagbe (Parlour Maid) and Tom Broderick (Wilfred)

I have had messages from Paige Jackson who has been awarded a full scholarship to go to Elmhurst and will be stating in year 7 in September, Kayleigh Joy Jackson who has also been awarded a full scholarship to go to the Hammond school in September, Isabella Knight (who I omitted to include in the commendations list for Worthing - sorry) got 91% for her grade 4 RAD and has been accepted into The Royal Ballet school at White Lodge and Dan Looney who will be studying for a BA Honours Degree at Arts Ed from September. Well done all!

We had tragic news this week, Tony Phillips, our Stage/Technical manager sadly passed away on Tuesday 2 June. Tony was a founder member of the EYB team and worked with us up to his untimely death. Ill health prevented him from touring with us these past 2 years but he continued to work with us liaising with the Theatres and scouting out new venues. It is partly down to him that we are going to Halifax and Southport this year. The timing of his passing is even more tragic as he lived near Halifax and was looking forward to seeing us all again at the shows there. Tony spent most of his life working in theatre but his enduring love was for the Ballet, he worked with most of the independent Ballet companies in this country at one time or another as well as for Northern Ballet and Ballet Rambert and while living in Manchester did lots of work for the Northern Ballet School at the Dance House and Operas at the Royal College of Music .  Tony was also the last stage manager for the Lewis London Ballet so has been a friend and colleague to Miss Lewis, Julianne and myself for the best part of 20 years. Tony and I worked together many times between the LLB and EYB years - he once interrupted a holiday in Scotland to help me fit up a show at the Edinburgh Festival that I was directing - and I will miss him deeply. He was a kind, warm, generous and humble man who always looked out for the welfare of the performers he worked with. Miss Lewis and I will be attended his funeral on Thursday 11 June and I’m sure you will join all of us at EYB in sending love and thoughts to his wife Liz at this difficult time. Those of you who are old enough drink a glass (or in my case a bottle or two) of red wine in his honour.

Tony

Take care of yourselves and work hard

Dominic

May 2009

Hi Again

Well we’re back from a very dramatic visit to Worthing. It  was one of those projects where everything seems to be sent to test us. Because of the Brighton Festival and illnesses we did not have the whole cast together until the parents day! At one point in rehearsals we were getting confused to who was in the dances and who was understudying and I think Emma only had all her Reed Pipes once. Oli was only available for the Friday and Saturday performances (a very flying visit) and although he had come over to rehearse with Julianne in London he could not get to any of the rehearsals at the school so none of the students had met him so you can imagine their surprise when “Mr Long Legs” (as one of the Mothers dubbed him) suddenly appeared on stage on Friday night! Things were a bit stressful at the theatre, as you may remember the theatre in Worthing is very small and we have to house half the cast in the theatre bar front of house and take them out side to get them back stage, fortunately the weather held out although the storm on Friday night had me worried that we were going to need lots of plastic bags and brollies! Things were made even more stressful by the constant harassment by West Sussex  Council, not much fun for Miss Lewis having them threatening to sue her, Strangely enough East Sussex is now behind us after all the problems in Hastings but the problem still remains that the councils around the country have their own interpretations of the law. It is beginning to look like we will have to get a High Court ruling to what the law is and then get the councils to have one policy. More hassle and very costly for Miss Lewis. West Sussex decided to inspect us just as the beginners call went for the dress rehearsal so you can imagine the fun we had getting dancers to the stage on time while they were trying to grill the chaperones. The dress did have some nice highlights as well, Alex and Matthew did their first Grand Pas in readiness for when they move into the role in Halifax and Emma made a special guest appearance as Madame Bon Bon. She said she had a ball doing it and it was nice to see Miss Lewis smiling. Well in spite of all of the above the shows went very well with both shows on Saturday sold out and there were lots of emotional farewells on Saturday night with lots of hugs and tears and little faces covered in lipstick. Makes it all worth while.

Now  we have a guest spot from a student for a change. Last summer Ellie Waite won a day at the ROH and finally got to go last week so here is her account of the day

“Well... where do I start?! After catching a train at 7 'o'clock, we got down to London and headed for Covent Garden! I met my friend Lydia at the stage door, and we waiting there while Francesca Filpi was called to the stage door! Whilst sitting there, we saw Laura Morena and others sign in and head up for morning class!! Miss Filpi met us and then took us to watch her and the Royal Ballet Company in class! She introduced us to a number of people and everyone was sooo friendly! Then class began! I had such a huge smile for the rest of the day!! Seeing Mara Galeazzi, Roberta Marquez and more was breathtaking. Everyone was so graceful and beautiful to watch, especially at the end when the male dancers showed off with impressive tour en lairs whilst the girls practised their fouettes en pointe! The word for the whole of the day was 'amazing'! 'Wow...she's amazing, oh my gosh, that's amazing'!! I was totally in awe and couldn't believe I was really there! After a short break we watched a la sylphide corps rehearsal, with Ursula Hagali and Dame Monica Mason coaching it!!!!!!!!!! AND... afterwards Dame Monica Mason came up to us and spoke to us! She said it was lovely to have us there for the day... she was so friendly!!! So, after that unbelievable moment we then watched Helen Crawford and Iohna Loots in a rehearsal coached by Lesley Collier doing the peasant solo from Giselle. It was AMAZING!! They are such different dancers but both stunning. Lunch was a quick 15 min on the terrace looking over the busy Covent Garden after the whirlwind of excitement in the morning! Next we had the absolute privilege of watching Johan Kobborg choreograph a brand new piece on Alina Cojocaru, Steven Mcrae and Sergei Polunin!!!!!!! To top it off, Alina came over to us to talk to us and shake our hands!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it! It was unbelievable to actually be in the room as a dance was being made, by such a fantastic choreographer! I think it's safe to say we were speechless after that. Finally, we went to watch a rehearsal of the end of the Firebird, with what must have been the whole company! There were so many people! Roberta Marquez danced the lead and was phenomenal, she had so much passion and presence that even in rehearsal clothes, you believed she was the firebird! I loved the power, strength and dramatics behind all the movements and it was just amazing! I had never seen the firebird and from that rehearsal I think I'd  love to see it now!!! So, after being gripped all day, at about 5:30 we met our parents and went out for a bite for tea, before returning back and taking our seats at the side of stage ready for the performance!!!!!!! The stage manager was lovely, and gave us free programs which the principals, Mara Galeazzi, Helen Crawford and Brian Maloney kindly singed for us!! Seeing the dancers warm up before curtain up as well was fascinating, every time, hitting perfect pirouettes and arabesques! And so before long, the show began and was indescribable! All I can say was that I cried at the end of both acts! The emotions were so intense and seeing it so close up was such a one in a life time chance, as was the whole entire day!!! Some of the dancers winked and smiled at us throughout the performance which was lovely, and Monica Mason at the end thanked us for coming and said it would be great to have us again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But we thought, no... it's the other way around! Thank you!!! We even got to have a picture on the stage afterwards  which was amazing!! (I've attached it below!) So overall it was a fabulous day, with so many great memories to go with it! My face hurt from smiling all day!! I can't believe I was lucky enough to experience it all and it's made me so much more determined, as I got to see what living your dream is really like!! It was defiantly the best day of my life!
Also, I don't know if I told you, but I got a place at Central, and a full scholarship at Hammond, Northern and Tring, but my final decision is to go to the Hammond school in September, which I'm really looking forward to! Hope all is well with you!
Love from Ellie xxx ”           

At the certificate ceremony in Worthing commendations went to the Boys as Soldiers, Zoe Snowball and Jessica Scott (Lead Snow Queen Attendants), the Children's acting in the Prologue, Grace Wood (The Maid), Freya Spencer and Chantelle McDermott  (Sugar Plum Attendants) - Chantelle was quite sick before the Sat night show but still went on! Rachel Hotham who was assisting us on Work Experience and danced Madam Bon bon, the Reed pipes for improved pointe-work and the group work of Flowers & Russians.

The Junior Prize  went to Gabrielle van Asselt (Snowflake) and Senior Prizes went to Alex Drew & Benjamin Cooper (Fathers, Mouse King, Wooden Nutcracker and Jig).

I have had messages from Tiffany Smith who has been awarded a full scholarship to attend Tring as a boarder in September, Charlie Day who got Distinction in his ISTD grade 4 and has been attending the Boy’s Kick Start program at Tring, Ursula Kelly who will be going to the Ballet West School in Scotland in September and finally Daniel Dolan who has been awarded a place at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow (only the 3rd British boy in the school’s history to get a place) and before that he will be in America on a scholarship for New York’s Julliard summer school - 1 of only 44 students from around the world. Well done indeed!

Well that's all from me, back to Southend this weekend. Keep your news coming in and keep working hard.

Dominic


March 2009

Hi Again

Well we are now back in full swing in the EYB world and have just finished our 1st project of the year in Swindon and quite eventful it turned out to be! You will all be aware of the extreme weather conditions experienced last month and will all have your own tales to tell. On the Monday of the white out we were due to have an audition in Dunstable but had to re schedule as we could not get out of London (everything was shut down) and the school in Dunstable was completely cut off! Miss Lewis had a long day phoning and answering the phone and writing to all the people due to attend to let them know the new date. Then on the Friday the Snow hit Swindon and the school phoned to say they were cut off but would open up for us the next day and only let 4 wheel drives into the car park as conditions were so bad! The rehearsals could not be rescheduled so we left early on the Saturday morning. Thankfully things were under control in Swindon by then and we got to the school an hour and a half early! A local farmer had kindly come in and cleared the car park so every was ok and most of the students made it in. Unfortunately a big freeze was threatened that night and a lot of parents elected to pick up their children early so they would not get stranded, it was a very frustrating day. Fortunately conditions were better the next day and everyone made it in and we were able to catch up from the day before. The performances went well and I have to say the students in Swindon were beautifully well behaved and it was a nice start to the year. Swindon was a little strange for us as 3 of our principals were on tour with “Strictly Strauss” and not available to work with us. Matthew was kindly released from one show so he could do the Saturday matinee with us and he and Alex did a lovely performance, it has been great to see their development over the last year and it was good to see Emma back in the role of Swanilda again after a break from the role last year.
We seem to be weathering the “Crunch” ok, we were worried after the big loss we made in Hastings at the end of last year so thank you all for your continued support and hopefully the rest of the year will be ok. Speaking of Hastings we had a meeting with the council there and proved to them that EYB operates correctly within the law in it’s licensing policy so they should be reversing their reversal of authorised absence from school for the students in their area.

At The certificate ceremony in Swindon commendations went to Atlanta Hatch (Villager) for excellent understudying, Katrina Raschen ( Work Hour) for performance quality, Alice Tedds (Little Villager) for improvement and performance, Megan Philips, Ella Pratten, Sophie Wicks and Rosie Perry (Friends), Abigail Milson (Villager) for her mime, Hannah Tapley (Work Hour) for improvement, the Czardas group and lastly the Work Hours group for being such good fun to work with!
Prizes went to Jake Edwards and Cara Chivers (Betrothals and Dolls) with runner up prizes of Heroes chocolates for Michael Dorsman and Freddie Gunningham (Betrothals and Dolls) because they were!

I have had messages from Helena Sandford who appeared in “Dustbin Baby” on the BBC based on the book by Jacqueline Wilson, Rebecca Farrell who will going to the Phil Whinstons Theatre Works in Blackpool this year, some lovely e-mails from Dixie Webb about her exploits with the CAT scheme in Norwich, Charles Brink who was awarded an early DaDA scholarship for the National Diploma in Professional Dance at Tring - the only boy there to get it early, Nicola License who will be going to the London School of Contemporary Dance in September and Imogen Lyon who has been touring with BRB in their production of “Sylvia”. Congratulations to all.
Keep your news coming in, we would particularly like to hear from past students that have gone onto professional training and into the profession so we can do a “Where are they now” section on the web site.

Until next time, keep working hard.

Dominic