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.
2020-2021 Cygnet School Participants
The 11 young dancers who have embarked on the inaugural year of Cygnet School are Adrijus (15), Andrew (24), Armelle (15), Charlie (13), Ivy (13), Jayla (15), Nandu (19), Ruby (14), Samuel (15), Shedie (15) and Saeed (17). New Adventures carefully recruited these promising young performers after they engaged in a range of opportunities from across our Take Part activity over the last 4 years. These projects include our William Patten primary school Dancers in Residence programme, Sadler’s Wells curtain raisers, bespoke workshops and performance response residencies including Civil Blood, a response piece to Romeo and Juliet created in partnership with Dance United Yorkshire and Studio 3 Arts in Barking.
Over the course of the next 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 will also see the New Adventures professional company perform Nutcracker! 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 Associate Artistic Director Etta Murfitt, Resident Artists Kerry Biggin and Paul Smethurst, Associate Artist Glenn Graham 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.
Cygnet School Delivery Team
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.
New Adventures is an associate company at The Marlowe and this new three-year programme will see both organisations build on previous collaborations. 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.
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.