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An Update From Northern Ballet

Update 6 February 2024

Last year Northern Ballet had to make the difficult decision to enter into negotiations with Northern Ballet Sinfonia and the Musicians' Union (MU) to reassess the amount of live music which could accompany our national tours from April 2024. This decision was not taken lightly but in response to an incredibly challenging financial environment where inflation and rising costs have made our traditional touring model unsustainable. As a Company touring widely with a large number of dancers, musicians and other staff we have been particularly exposed to inflation in all areas of operation.

Live music remains central to the artistic vision of Northern Ballet and we are working to ensure that our Sinfonia will perform with us on our national tours as much as is possible. However, in an environment where many arts organisations are facing hard choices to ensure sustainability, we will be performing to a mixed programme of live and recorded music in the coming year.

Since our previous update, we have undertaken additional fundraising initiatives which, alongside other measures, will enable live music to be performed by our Sinfonia for the full tour of Romeo & Juliet in spring 2024 (Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Norwich, London).

  • Autumn performances of Romeo & Juliet at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and in Southampton, Canterbury and Newcastle in September 2024 will be performed to recorded music.
  • The tour of A Christmas Carol will be performed to recorded music
  • The tour of Jane Eyre will be performed to live music from Northern Ballet Sinfonia

We are very conscious of the uncertainty and distress these ongoing negotiations are causing for Sinfonia members and the Company at large and would like to thank the players as well as the MU for their cooperation during this difficult time. We remain committed to performing to and commissioning new live music for our work and continue to work in dialogue with our Sinfonia and the MU to achieve this.

We are actively fundraising and lobbying key stakeholders on this issue to ensure that in future audiences in towns and cities across the UK will be able to experience large scale ballet accompanied by live music. The cultural sector in the UK is under extreme financial pressure from many directions and more than ever we would like to thank our audiences and supporters for continuing to stand alongside us, and crucially for continuing to buy tickets to experience our work.

29 September 2023

Northern Ballet has had to make the difficult decision to enter into negotiations to reassess the amount of live music that accompanies its touring productions from April 2024. The entire arts industry has been heavily impacted by rising costs across the board, with inflation, the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine causing drastic uplifts in the cost of everything from energy bills to set materials to the transportation costs associated with taking a production around the UK. Due to these mitigating factors we have had to take certain steps - there have been redundancies within the company, and a reduction in touring over the past year - however, it has become clear that we can no longer continue with our traditional touring model and we will need to explore different options if we are to continue to bring world-class narrative ballets to audiences throughout the country. We fully believe in the power and importance of live music and where we can, it will remain an integral part of our productions, but with deep regret we cannot maintain it at every venue. We are currently in discussion with the musicians, the Musicians' Union and Arts Council England to explore what a new touring model could look like for Northern Ballet. It remains our mission to create world-class new ballets, develop the next generation of talented new voices and share the joy of dance with audiences around the UK and we remain grateful to Arts Council England, Leeds City Council and our supporters for the funding and support that we receive.