New Adventures’ talent development programme Cygnet School launches with a brand new cohort for 2022-2023

22 December 2022

In November 2022, New Adventures proudly launched talent development programme Cygnet School in partnership with the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.

Two sessions were held to kick-start the exciting youth talent development programme, which runs over the course of the year with monthly sessions, culminating in a Summer residency and performance in 2023.

We're pleased to announce eight young people who have joined the existing cohort this year, with four of these also proudly representing their local area of Canterbury, where the sessions take place, or surrounding areas of Kent. They are Abigail Matsuka, Romy Laurens, Stanley Reddington and Eddie Griffiths.

This year is the second time the programme will run, after a successful pilot year took place in 2021-2022. In December 2022, the young people joined New Adventures company to experience a performance of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, which is showing at London's Sadler's Wells for the Christmas season before it heads off on UK-tour in 2023.

Cygnet School is a programme for young people who are passionate about dance, allowing them to develop their skills, work with a range of dance professionals and explore dance as a possible career pathway. It is fully subsidised for all the participants ensuring that there are no barriers to access this programme. Promising young performers are selected after being scouted by the New Adventures team through our Take Part activity, such as at workshops, curtain raisers or engagement projects.

Over the course of 12-months the young people will come together for monthly residential weekends, exploring the unique aspects of New Adventures’ work, style and training, focussing on technique, storytelling and creativity in workshops themed around physicality, expression, gesture and character relationships. Each young person will have an individualised development plan, and sessions also include health and wellbeing training. The participants can expect to gain a valuable insight into the inner workings of theatres and the dance industry, learning about different career pathways in the arts. At the end of the year long programme the Cygnet Company will explore putting their learning into practice in a performed sharing of a collaboratively devised dance piece.

This year, we were also pleased to welcome back New Adventures talent development alumni Andrew Self who this time delivered a workshop alongside Imogen Butler, Director of Surrey-based company Tailfeather to our new cohort.

Cygnet school is facilitated by New Adventures Dance Artists Glenn Graham and Sophia Hurdley, and supported by Grace Black, one of New Adventures' Overture alumni – the New Adventures talent development programme aimed at dance teachers and community dance artists.

Project lead Glenn Graham said,

'We've had an amazing few sessions with the young dancers so far and we're looking forward to an incredible year getting to know them all! I can't wait to offer them an insight into the world of New Adventures, sharing our techniques and helping them to develop a fuller understanding of the dance industry, whilst also looking at various creative pathways that they may not have considered. The project has been running successfully for 2 years now and it's been amazing to see the progression of our alumni over a year of working together and also seeing how they’ve welcomed the new Cygnets into the group. We look forward to how the group can flourish as one company as we move into the new year.'

Cygnet School is evaluated by Canterbury Christchurch University, supported by lecturer Angela Pickard, to ensure that the programme is able to offer valuable, inclusive and creative development opportunities for young people at the highest level.

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