We said ‛goodbye’ to West Park Centre on Friday, a day of packing boxes and the last chance to walk the corridors and offices that have been home to Northern Ballet for fourteen years.
Here are a few final thoughts from staff who have helped make this move possible and have made the Company what it is today...
Yesterday was my last day at West Park Centre. Always a strange feeling to consciously come face to face with the end of an era, but - will I really miss the draughty corridors, peeling paint, ice-cold lino, leaky ceilings and general concrete ambience? The smell of chips wafting through the car park? The joy of cramped Studio 9 on dark winter days with delinquent youths throwing stones at the windows? It took massive effort to inspire and teach in there sometimes, and I remember the agony of trying to motivate those grumpy hormone-ridden adolescent boys Dale, Joesph, Matts Topliss and Valentine (girls, you are so much easier to handle!) on dark Thursday afternoons. However, if we got those boys to Hamburg, Rambert, The Scottish Royal Academy and Central Schools with those conditions, think what we are going to do in our gorgeous state-of-the-art new building! Let's get on and dance!
Viki Westall - Deputy Associate Director, Northern Ballet Academy
It's a place of many happy memories and although we're excited about the future, there's something very poignant about leaving today. I think we're all feeling a sense of loss mixed with a sense of adventure, hope and excitement about the future.
Laraine Penson, Director of Communications
Dancer Jessica Morgan on leaving West Park and moving to the new building...
I’m one of the newest members of Northern Ballet, having only been with the Company for 4 months. From my interview through to today, the last day at West Park, the buzz about the new building has been immense. I feel very privileged to be working for such an amazing organisation at a most exciting time.
Rachel Poole, Communications Officer
A whole new world opens up for Northern Ballet, a world that stretches far beyond the Co-op at West Park. West Park itself has been the space to create some fantastic looking ballets that have included scenes inside the palaces of the French Royal Courts in The Three Musketeers. Starting with Cleopatra, just imagine what will be created at Quarry Hill.
Jon Ingham, Director of Fundraising
I have felt quite sad about leaving West Park - it really is the end of an era and no more leaky ceilings! So many talented students have lived and breathed the joys of West Park on a cold, rainy Saturday morning. I really hope they come back to visit the new building, they won't believe it!
Hannah Kirkpatrick, Academy Manager
A sad day but a start of new beginnings and as a long-held dream for the company it is a time of celebration about the future. It is good to reflect on the amazing work that has been created here. Our new home is beyond all expectations and will be a source of incredible new creativity.
Mark Skipper, Chief Executive