It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of beloved AMP and New Adventures company member, Neil Penlington, who died last week at the age of 47.
Neil was a leading dancer with the company in what could be seen as a golden period in our history as a company. He was an original cast member of our classic shows, Cinderella (1997) creating the role of Buster and The Car Man (2000) creating Vito and also playing Angelo and Dino. He was an original West End cast member of Swan Lake in 1996 and was also with the company on its original Ahmanson Theatre debut in Los Angeles in 1997 and on Broadway in 1998. He also danced in Spitfire and Highland Fling (playing James, learning the role in one day when Scott Ambler was suddenly injured!) Neil was also in the first show presented under our current name when New Adventures was launched at Sadlers Wells in 2002 with Nutcracker! playing the role of Fritz.
Matthew Bourne paid tribute today:
“We have lost a very special member of our New Adventures family and I have lost a dear friend. As a member of my company at a sometimes difficult time when we were breaking new ground, in the West End and on Broadway, Neil was always the most joyous force for positivity and fun and a pleasure to be around. He had his “finger in every pie” so to speak, a warm, generous open spirit that was easy to fall in love with but impossible to truly “know’. A mercurial personality but also highly practical and reliable… a man of fascinating contradictions and all the more lovable for it!
His later years were truly a mix of the highest highs and the lowest lows. High profile jobs with Jasper Conran or at Londons’ exclusive Claridges Hotel saw him looking after the worlds’ biggest celebrities, in the most glamorous of locations, but he was also regularly dogged by ill health and even found himself homeless and sleeping rough a couple of years ago (an experience that led him to work with various homeless charities in his final years) Whatever life threw at him Neil always bounced back with his same characteristic positivity and good humour… the proverbial cat with nine lives! But not this time, sadly. We really have lost him this time; far too soon. We will miss him of course, but as lives go, by any standards this was a remarkable one. Farewell dear Neil… and thank you”