New Adventures announce Cygnet School - a new training programme for young people

6 May 2021

New Adventures announced today its brand-new training programme, Cygnet School.

Cygnet School is a dance training programme for young people predominantly from backgrounds with limited access to arts provision and has been developed as part of our commitment to increase diversity in the sector and provide equity of opportunity. This programme fills a fundamental gap between young people participating at a grass roots level through our engagement work and those who progress onto vocational training. We believe that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not and we are committed to changing this through the launch of Cygnet School.

The first cohort of 12 young dancers aged 12 - 24 from across the country will take part in an annual programme of monthly workshops and holiday residencies at The Marlowe Theatre launching in July 2021. Cygnet School will harness raw potential, enabling participants to develop a breadth of creative performance skills and a passion for dance to equip them with a range of skills and training to progress into the second year of Cygnet School training or onwards. This might be through other New Adventures pathways including Swan School or other creative opportunities and vocational training across the dance sector. 

Participants have been identified through New Adventures’ wider participation work, including 

  • Sadler’s Wells Curtain Raiser, 2020 (residency and response piece to New Adventures’ production of The Red Shoes); 
  • Civil Blood, 2019 (performance partnership with Dance United Yorkshire and Studio 3 Arts, London); 
  • Romeo and Juliet auditions, 2019 (engaging 80 of the finest emerging artists aged 16-19 alongside professional dancers over 13 UK cities); 
  • Dancers in Residence, 2018 (entire school performance programme with William Patten Primary School).

New Adventures and The Marlowe are passionate about diversifying the dance landscape and removing barriers for those who typically struggle to access opportunities in the arts, from limited training opportunities at a young age to prohibitative associated costs. Given the detrimental impact the pandemic is having on opportunities to progress within the arts, we are more committed than ever to inspiring and providing clear pathways for young people to grow and succeed, regardless of background or circumstance.

New Adventures is thrilled and very grateful to receive support from The Dorfman Foundation as Cygnet School’s principal funder. This inaugural year marks the first in a three year commitment from the Foundation, enabling sustained growth and development of the programme. This partnership is established through a shared commitment to providing opportunity for young people to access the arts which the Foundation so resolutely represents.

“We are pleased to support New Adventures’ Cygnet School programme as part of our joint commitment to providing opportunities for young people to access pathways into the arts. New Adventures’ mission to seek out and nurture those who don’t have the same opportunities as others strongly aligns with our own. We are excited to see the impact of this work, not only on the young people who participate, but its ripple effect in helping to diversify the sector as a whole.”

- Sir Lloyd and Lady Dorfman

New Adventures is an associate company at The Marlowe and this new three-year programme will see both organisations build on previous collaborations which have included; the Romeo And Juliet local cast (2019), Cinderella Curtain Raiser (2018) and Lord of the Flies (2014). Cygnet School forms part of The Marlowe’s mission to inspire young people to make and experience theatre, especially in areas of low cultural engagement. The first year of the residency is supported by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP Ltd) as part of Catalyst For Culture, a Marlowe-led initiative to widen access to the performing arts across the South East.

New Adventures is also grateful to receive a grant from the Noël Coward Foundation in support of the programme's first residency in July 2021.

“This past year has highlighted an ever more urgent need to address the lack of accessible opportunities to enter the arts. New Adventures are passionate about diversifying the industry and celebrating talent from across a broad spectrum of backgrounds. The launch of Cygnet School is an important cornerstone in our commitment to increasing diverse representation within the arts. We are sincerely grateful to The Dorfman Foundation for their support and encouragement of this pioneering programme, and to The Marlowe Theatre for welcoming Cygnet School to their building."

- Sir Matthew Bourne

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with New Adventures on this project and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the first Cygnet School cohort to our theatre in July. We are passionate about levelling up access to the performing arts and the impact of the pandemic over the last year has made this more important than ever.” 

- Deborah Shaw, Chief Executive of The Marlowe Theatre

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