The Royal Ballet’s Gary Avis and Friends

June 8, 2011

Press Releases

poster for a ballet gala with Gary Avis

Suffolk Dancer brings Royal Ballet & English National Ballet Stars to The Regent Theatre, Ipswich for the first time in almost 40 years

It’s been a long time coming, but (drum roll)… Ladies, Gentleman & Children, Gary Avis treads the boards in his home town with his gala on behalf of The Hunger Project.

After a 40 year gap, East Anglian audiences will once again have the chance to see stars from both The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet on stage at the Regent Theatre, Ipswich. It was back in the 60’s that the theatre last hosted performances by either of the companies.

But now, thanks to Ipswich born Royal Ballet dancer Gary Avis, world class dancers from both companies are coming to the town to take part in a unique charity gala event.

The Royal Ballet’s Gary Avis & Friends hosted by Angela Rippon OBE

The Regent Theatre, Ipswich, on Sunday September 11, 2011 at 1.30pm and 6.30pm

Names currently confirmed to appear are:

The Royal Ballet’s Roberta Marquez, Steven McRae, Nehemiah Kish, Yuhui Choe, Bennet Gartside, Melissa Hamilton, David Pickering, Paul Kay, Leanne Cope and English National Ballet Principal Begoña Cao.


dancer in jete

Gary Avis Photograph : Andrej Uspenski


Gary says: ‘‘I’m so pleased that so many of my friends from the ballet world have agreed to perform and I’m  also hugely grateful to Nigel Cliffe from The Royal Opera, Jazz Vocalist Jumoke Fashola and pianists Kate Shipway and Peter Edwards for also stepping up for the event. It’s going to be quite a show!’’

Ipswich born Royal Ballet Principal Character Artist Gary Avis is also Ballet Master at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden based company. He has formerly also danced with English National Ballet, was co-founder of K Ballet in Japan and also most notably partnered the great British Ballerina Darcey Bussell in many roles at The Royal Ballet including her farewell performance broadcast live by the BBC around the world. He then went on to appear as a guest star with Darcey and Katherine Jenkins in their Viva La Diva Arena Tour and also on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

In the current repertoire he takes on many of the most demanding dancer-actor roles including Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Ugly Sister in Cinderella, Monsieur GM in Manon, the evil Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, as well as many classical partnering roles including, most recently, Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV and Alastair Marriott’s Sensorium. He has also created roles for and worked with many more of the world’s greatest choreographers including Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, Christopher Hampson, Glen Tetley, Ronald Hynd, William Tuckett, David Bintley, Ashley Page, Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp. He has won rave reviews from the national and international press and wonderfully supportive receptions from Royal Opera House audiences for his performances in these and many other roles and is acknowledged as one of the leading dance actors in the world today. More details are available at Gary’s website

Gary says: “I have been dancing on the stage of the Royal Opera House, Royal Albert Hall and so many other wonderful venues around the world for many years now and yet I’ve haven’t set foot on the stage of The Regent Theatre, where the whole journey of my career actually began, for over 20 years. I’m so excited to finally be able to do that and perform for my home town. Last year, along with the wonderful Angela Rippon, I became a Patron of The Hunger Project, a charity that empowers people living in abject hunger and poverty in countries around the world, by supporting projects in their communities, inspired and driven by them, that will allow them to sustain themselves. We wanted to do something to raise money for The Hunger Project and to raise its profile. I also wanted to give young people in East Anglia an opportunity to interact with some of the world’s truly great ballet dancers. Having been in Ipswich with Dame Monica Mason and Anthony Russell-Roberts in the past few days to help launch the Sir Frederick Ashton, The Ballet and Suffolk Exhibition, (which is being held in a number of venues throughout the town until October), I am delighted to have their full support for this project and I’m so thrilled that we will be including a number of Sir Frederick’s greatest creations in the show along with a diverse selection of works by Sir Kenneth Macmillan, Christopher Wheeldon, Alastair Marriott and, of course, Liam Scarlett who is also from Ipswich.”  

Tickets for the performances go on sale on Friday, June 10th at 9.30am from The Regent Box Office. Tel: 01473 433100 or online at the Ipswich Regent website. Tickets are priced between £10 and £60 with special packages available for families and young people’s groups as well as a limited number of VIP packages for the evening performance only.

Final word from Gary, “While, of course, I want to raise money for The Hunger Project, I also want this to be an event everyone can afford to come and see, and enjoy.”

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