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Guests and Community Casts

Rapunzel Guest Casts

Our premiere performances of both Rapunzel (for families) and Rapunzel After Dark (for adult audiences) took place at Northern Stage, Newcastle in 2022. Each production featured a guest cast:

  • Professional North East dance artists, with their pre-school children
  • Young community cast formed by the balletLORENT Youth Academy

During the re-creation of Rapunzel in Newcastle in 2022, we invited four local professional dance artists and their babies (or expectant babies) based in the North East to join us for a period of research and development, and to join the cast for rehearsals and the premiere performances at Northern Stage in September. The two youngest babies arrived only a few weeks before the shows, and thoroughly enjoyed the limelight! 

The parents and babies worked closely with, and performed alongside one of our Creative Partners, Natalie MacGillivray, whose young child also joined the cast. 

Original Newcastle Professional Guest Cast and their Children: Lizzie Klotz & Max Burton; Jenny Chrisp & Maude Tyler; Alys North & Solmaz North; Megan Brown & Morgan Hopkin-Brown

14 members of balletLORENT’s Youth Academy formed the young community cast of Rapunzel. These talented children worked closely with our creative team over several to research, create and rehearse their scenes, and we were extremely proud of the wonderful contributions they each made to the production. The original Newcastle young community cast were: Hayden Cook; Albie Crompton; Emmy Crompton; Cameron Earl; Alex Fashanu; Leonidas Fashanu; Yorsalem Haile; Phelisha Johnson; Joe Mayer; Iwinosa Mezzoli; Dara Okeowo; Grace Oloniyo; Liam Phillips; Otto Purtill Ritchie

Tour Programme

As we embark on our UK touring programme of Rapunzel, we will engage professional dancers with pre-school children to join our regional / local casts. Following initial casting workshops, 3-4 artists will learn the scenes first created with our Newcastle cast and perform with their young children, alongside the balletLORENT dancers. This will give paid work to the parents, a new sense of their creative enrichment and a perspective in embracing their new lives as artistic parents, as well as a shared artistic experience for parent and baby.

To find our Young Community Casts in each venue we tour to, we will work with children in local primary schools, delivering creative dance workshops over two days. From these workshops 8-10 children aged 7-10yrs are invited to join the company for a weekend of rehearsals, before performing in their local theatre.  

For many children, this will be the first time they have performed on stage, and in front of a paying audience. We hope that this aspirational opportunity will empower the creativity within these talented young people, and offer them insight and interest into the arts that they may otherwise not have experienced.  

All the children involved as part of the Young Community Casts will have the opportunity to complete Arts Award Discover, and will receive certificates from Trinity College, London, marking their achievements within this production, and celebrating their commitment to learning in the arts. 

Dance Mama

One of our Supporting Partners on this project is Dance Mama, whose aim is to advocate and celebrate professional dancing parents, highlighting the issues that they face and providing inspiration, information and connection. To support you on your journey as a dancing parent, take a look at their award-winning professional development programme, Dance Mama Live, which provides online workshops, webinars and a community of other, like-minded dancing parents. To find out more visit: www.dancemama.org/dancemamalive

Rapunzel Professional Guest Artist and Youth Academy Cast, Newcastle

Our premiere performances of both Rapunzel (for families) and Rapunzel After Dark (for adult audiences) took place at Northern Stage, Newcastle in 2022. Each production featured a guest cast:

  • Professional North East dance artists, with their pre-school children
  • Young community cast formed by the balletLORENT Youth Academy

The film forms part of our evaluation of the Newcastle project. To read more about it check out: https://www.balletlorent.com/news/our-documentary-about-rapunzel-professional-guest-artist-and-youth-academy-cast-project

You can also see evaluation reports for our community cast programmes in Newcastle here

My son has such happy memories of performing age 6 with balletLORENT! He went on to successfully audition for Royal Ballet School Junior Associates, spent two happy years doing that! He recently did video auditions in the garden, and won a place at Central School of Ballet Associate. 

Parent of Community Cast Participant

I was overjoyed and so proud of her to have the opportunity to perform at the Hippodrome.

Parent of Community Cast Participant, The Lost Happy Endings

I was on such a high when I got home that it took me hours to unwind and get to bed. It was an experience I never expected to have, but thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see what goes on backstage too, such a lot but coordinated so well.

Adult Community Cast Participant, Rumpelstiltskin

Georgina Wells, British Theatre Guide

“One thing that sets this production apart is its inter-generational cast, which includes local schoolchildren and senior members of the community alongside the professional dancers. Crucially, they aren’t just extras, added in to scenes as an afterthought, but an integral part of the cast—whether dancing, knitting or playing part of the Shepherd’s flock. This creates a genuine feeling of inclusivity, which adds further to Rumpelstiltskin’s heart-warming magic.”

“Having community cast on stage made the performance relatable even though it was fantastic!” Faith Johnson, Audience Member, Northern Stage

In Newcastle, balletLORENT works in partnership with local primary schools during the research and development of our family productions, delivering creative dance workshops in school before inviting several children to out of school sessions and rehearsals. The invited children then form part of the community cast for our productions, informing and developing the vocabulary and movement in collaboration with our professional dancers. 

For Rumpelstiltskin, the company also incorporated adults aged 65+ from the local communities that we toured to. In Newcastle, we delivered workshops in community centres, day and residential care centres, and to knitting groups across the city to find the cast for our performances at Northern Stage. 

In each town and city that we tour to, we engage a local community cast, recruited through workshops in schools and community centres. These participants join the company in rehearsals before performing alongside our professional cast. 

In The Lost Happy Endings, we worked with a mixture of primary school children we met during workshops, and children who had previously performed in Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin as part of our talent development programme. 

You can find out more about the true magnitude of the community casts we work with head over to our Archive.

We thank Friends of balletLORENT Karen Trewinnard, Maureen Newall, Anna Story, Lynn Harman & Julia Daynes; Good Friends Heather Crompton, Joe Gamble, Patricia Ritchie & Kate Lorent; and Best Friends Derek Newall & Christopher Campbell for their continued support of the company. 

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