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English National Ballet moving to new East London home

Tamara Rojo at the London City Island development. Photo:P Curties Tamara Rojo at the London City Island development. Photo:P Curties
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English National Ballet is to move to a new multi-million pound home in east London.

The new base, which is part of the London City Island development, will also be home to the English National Ballet School, bringing the two organisations under one roof for the first time. The ballet company is currently based in Kensington and has just two rehearsal studios, while ENB School inhabits part of the Carlyle building in Fulham.

The new building, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, will include eight studios for rehearsals and teaching, training facilities including gyms and a rehabilitation centre, and a theatre-sized studio that includes a fly tower in its 23-metre high space.

The studio will allow the companies to undertake dress rehearsals with full sets and an orchestra, and has been designed so it can be used by external companies looking to rehearse any kind of show.

It will be completed in autumn 2018, and will also include a dedicated music room for the English National Ballet Philharmonic.

ENB artistic director Tamara Rojo said: “I want to create a new space that allows us to produce and rehearse amazing work. Not only that, I want a building that will be available for other artistic organisations to rehearse too, whether they are staging opera, musicals or theatre. I want the space to echo the sound of creative Britain.”

The building’s construction will be funded by developers Ecoworld Ballymore, which is behind the creation of London City Island. This development, which is located near Canary Wharf, will also include more than 1,000 apartments, offices and retail space.

ENB and ENB School will jointly fund the costs of fitting out the facility, expected to be around £20 million.

ENB School co-director Delia Barker said: “It has been our ambition to make English National Ballet School the first choice for the next generation of international ballet dancers. This new dance hub will make us more competitive in attracting exceptional talent, both from home and abroad.”

ENB will continue to perform at the London Coliseum, and has recently become the first associate ballet company at Sadler’s Wells.

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