18th November 2022
HRH The Earl of Wessex visit to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre
On Wednesday 9th November HRH The Earl of Wessex visited Woking’s New Victoria Theatre today to meet Northern Ballet’s new Artistic Director, Federico Bonelli and the Company of Dancers and Technical Team as they prepared to open their production of the famous festive ballet The Nutcracker.
The Earl of Wessex has long supported the Leeds based ballet company and became Royal Patron in 2003, following in the footsteps of HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden who was previously Royal Patron until her death in 2002.
His Royal Highness was greeted by Deputy Lieutenant, Perdita Hunt OBE and then met with Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director Federico Bonelli, Theatre Director John-Jackson Almond, Theatre Manager Alice Gayk, the Mayor of Woking, Saj Hussain and leader of Woking Borough Council, Councillor Ann-Marie Barker.
Mr Bonelli, who joined the Company six months ago following an illustrious career as Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet, accompanied His Royal Highness backstage to meet Northern Ballet’s Technical Director Steve Wilkins and Technical Team.
The Earl took part in a demonstration of the Company’s lighting desk and heard from the crew about the ideas behind the lighting design for the production. His Royal Highness then joined Mr Bonelli on the theatre’s stage where they discussed Bonelli’s artistic vision and future plans for the Company. The Earl met Northern Ballet’s Company of Dancers as they prepared for the show ahead, and wished them the best of luck.
Theatre Director at the New Victoria Theatre, John-Jackson Almond, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome HRH The Earl of Wessex to the New Victoria Theatre. We enjoyed a short discussion about the theatre as well as our Nova Cinema and Rhoda McGaw theatre and their recovery post Covid. “It is an honour to have participated in Northern Ballet’s Royal visit and to have the spotlight shone on ATG and to reflect on the importance of culture, arts and entertainment in our communities.” Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director Federico Bonelli said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the continued support and patronage of HRH The Earl of Wessex who has had a long association with Northern Ballet. This is the first time we have performed at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre since prior to the pandemic so we’re thrilled that The Earl could join us on the eve of such a special occasion.”
Northern Ballet’s The Nutcracker will opens on 10th November at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre before touring to Nottingham, Norwich, Hull and the Company’s hometown of Leeds.
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