Theatre and ballet lined up for C4 reality revamp

Liz Thomas

Theatre and classical ballet are the latest art forms to be given the reality television treatment, Channel 4 has revealed.

The broadcaster is widening its approach following the success of Operatunity and last year’s Musicality, shows that plucked talent from relative obscurity to battle for roles on stage in London’s West End.

Channel 4′s head of arts Jan Younghusband is creating a new series entitled The Play’s The Thing, which aims to put on an original play by a new writer in a West End. Professional actors will perform in the production and it is hoped Woman In White co-producer Sonia Friedman will also be involved in its development.

The channel is also working with Birmingham Royal Ballet and charity Youth at Risk on a production that will follow aspiring amateur dancers as they train for roles in the ensemble of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet next year. The series, BalletHoo! is to be directed by Operatunity and Musicality’s Michael Waldman. A spokesman for Channel 4 said full details for the projects had not been finalised.

* Veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini is to leave Jazz FM at the end of the month as part of the station’s revamp to attract audiences. It will relaunch as Smooth FM and will play a wider range of music.

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