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Mark Skipper's blog

Government Spending Review

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Northern Ballet responds to the Government Spending Review

The outcome of the Government Spending Review for the arts was far better than anticipated.  Although there will be cuts to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport budgets, the budget to the Arts Council was protected.

Arts Council England's Creative Case for Diversity

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Last week Arts Council England outlined its Creative Case for Diversity.

In his launch speech the Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette (Baz), placed responsibility on every funded organisation to make their programme of work more reflective of the communities they serve.

Supporters receive Royal Medal

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This week I attended the ceremony at St. James’s Palace where I am delighted that Liz and Terry Bramall were awarded The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy. This award, which has been presented annually since 2008 by HRH The Prince of Wales, celebrates individuals who support the arts in its widest forms. This year, the awards recognise the exceptional support of those philanthropists for the Arts.

Final Day in Beijing

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Today is our last day in Beijing before we return to the UK. There have been one or two little challenges over the last two weeks which we have overcome and I am proud that the company has given some excellent performances and done a great job as cultural Ambassadors for our city and the UK in general.


Second Performance in Beijing

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Last night the company were treated to a banquet in a restaurant near to our hotel hosted by Cui Yang (Young), our Promoter.

David and Mark with Young

Kevin and Matt at dinner

We presented Young with a framed photograph from A Midsummer Night's Dream as a memento of our 2014 tour.

First Performance Day in Beijing

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The dinner at Raffles last night was excellent. This is the most original take on a Greek Salad I have ever come across.

Greek Salad!

The Qianmen Jianguo Hotel is quite traditional in its decor, including the Lan Fang Restaurant where we have breakfast.

Lan Fang Restaurant

Hangzhou to Beijing

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Last night after the performance our small group of Pop-upers had dinner together as a farewell to Hangzhou and to celebrate the great success of the 2 performances. It was great to see the Cleopatra pas de deux again.

Pop up dinner

Hangzhou Pop-up Performances

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Today we are giving 2 performances in support of Leeds and Partners' business development initiatives. Ballroom Number 3 in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, although 2 floors below ground, is a great looking venue.

Ballroom Number Three

We had sent detailed specifications of our needs for the performance space and despite everything Leeds and Partners had done to ensure they were adhered to, inevitably there were challenges.

Relaxing Day in Hangzhou

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Today was relatively relaxed with some time spent working on our budgets for 2015/18 in preparation for our Arts Council funding application and a long walk around the West Lake in Hangzhou (well most of it). The lake is said to be the most beautiful of 36 lakes in China of that name and I am sure that in summer it could well be true. Even on a grey winter's day with the sun shining it has a great deal of charm and it was a pleasant way to spend a few hours. The Lake has a circumference of about 15km and tracing our route on Google Maps it came to about 12.5km.


Guangzhou to Hangzhou (or Beijing)

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Today we split into two groups and I went with the small group of dancers to Hangzhou in advance of our pop-up performances on Tuesday.

7.30am was rather an early start after a late show the night before but the traffic to the airport was light as it was Sunday morning. Check in for the flight was relatively speedy and once we were through security we found a Starbucks.

Starbucks at Guangzhou Airport



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