A new home in City Island, East London, will allow facilities to be shared between the ballet companies.
English National Ballet and English National Ballet School, which currently operate from separate sites in different parts of London, have announced plans for a new joint home at City Island in East London, adjoining Trinity Buoy Wharf which is home to an emerging creative and arts cluster. The purpose-built facility, scheduled to be ready in 2018, will have a theatre-sized studio space for the development and rehearsal of productions and creation of new commissions, with a fly tower so that it can be used to rehearse theatre productions as well as dance. It will also house large studios for rehearsals and teaching; training facilities including gyms, pilates and a modern rehabilitation centre; a dedicated music room for the English National Ballet Philharmonic; and open spaces to encourage engagement with local communities and create public access to the two organisations’ archives. The digital infrastructure will be designed to allow both organisations to capture and share work, and reach audiences around the world.
The Ballet School was founded in 1988 by English National Ballet, but is now a separate entity with strong links to its parent company. Caroline Thomson, Executive Director of English National Ballet said: “This move means we will have a new home with the kind of facilities one would expect from a world-class company... I hope that our company will be inspired by the energy of the students from English National Ballet School, and the school will be inspired by the artistic excellence of our Company.”
Property developers Ballymore Group, in partnership with Eco World Investment Co Ltd, are aiming to establish City Island as “one of the most exciting new destinations in London” and have committed to paying for the structure the building. The ballet organisations will jointly fundraise for the costs of fitting out. English National Ballet’s existing building in Kensington will be sold.