Talent Development

Cygnet School

Cygnet School is a pioneering training programme for young people

Cygnet School is a pre-vocational 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. The programme initially launched in July 2021 and is now in its third year following a successful pilot.

Over the course of 12 months this group of 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 will also see the New Adventures professional company perform on stage at Sadler’s Wells and gain 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.

The New Adventures team teaching and working with the young people include Resident Dance Artist Glenn Graham, Dance Artist Sophia Hurdley, and Support Dance Artist Grace Black, who is an alumnus of Overture, the New Adventures talent development programme aimed at dance teachers and community dance artists.

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 that the pandemic had on opportunities to progress within the arts, we are more committed than ever to providing inspiring and 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, as part of 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.

New Adventures is an associate company at The Marlowe. 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 was 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 was grateful to receive a grant from the Noël Coward Foundation in support of the programme’s first residency in July 2021.


Professor Angela Pickard from Canterbury Christ Church University is working with us to evaluate the pilot year of Cygnet School so that we can continue to develop the programme and put what we have learnt into practice for the second year.


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