Project information

Northern Ballet Learning and Outreach

Dance can transform lives, and we are committed to inspiring the next generation of dancers and dance audiences. Through our popular children’s ballets and innovative Learning programmes, we reach people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds and provide creative opportunities to experience dance.

December 2015 - December 2016

Charity information: Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet logo
  • Need


    We believe in realising a vision where dance is accessible to all. Yet we recognise that there can be barriers to dance relating to age, ability and socio-economic background. We work with schools in Leeds’ most deprived areas, including many in the 10% most deprived wards in England; many children have never visited a theatre. Securing the future of our learning and outreach work will allow us to continue to engage the hardest to reach and change perceptions about who dance is ‘for’.


    We devise innovative learning and outreach projects, from our unique dance programme for self-propelling wheelchair users to our Ability workshops for adults with learning disabilities. We engage primary and secondary schools and give young people the opportunity to participate in workshops and attend performances. We reach large numbers of pupils in disadvantaged communities across Yorkshire. The Big Give will ensure that we can increase participation and continue enriching lives.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide opportunities to experience the joy of dance regardless of age, ability or background


    » START School Project - we work with schools across the region to engage children who wouldn't usually have access to the arts
    » Time to Shine - we will work with Leeds Older People's forum to deliver arts engagement activities to reduce loneliness and social isolation

    What success will look like

    We will track increased participation and diversity across our Learning and Outreach activity

    Aim 2

    Change perceptions about who dance is 'for'.


    » Audio description and Access Days - we enable visually impaired patrons to enjoy a range of activities to enhance their enjoyment of dance performance
    » 'in motion' - our unique dance programme for self-propelling wheelchair users and people with mobility issues aged 8-19
    » Ability - Our course for adults with learning disabilities improves health and fitness and develops confidence and communication skills

    What success will look like

    We will provide more opportunities for people to participate and share their work with others

    Aim 3

    Inspire the next generation of dancers and dance audiences


    » Our Children's Ballet's reach an annual audience of 1million through live performance and TV adaption and introduce children to dance.

    What success will look like

    We will monitor ticket sales and CBeebies viewing figures for our TV adaptations to ensure our children’s ballets reach the next generation

  • Impact


    A positive early experience of dance lasts a lifetime. Dance can increase a young adult’s confidence or appeal to different learning styles so a child can engage with the curriculum in a new way. We create a lasting legacy in schools by training teachers to deliver dance activities linked to the curriculum, allowing them to continue to support and inspire pupils to dance. We work closely with local schools, children’s centres and community organisations to measure success through feedback.


    We receive no regular statutory funding for our learning and outreach work and rely heavily on the generosity of our donors. One generous annual trust funder of our work has recently wound-up which has left a significant shortfall for next year. A shortfall could put planned outreach activity at risk, creating barriers to accessing the arts. Participation in The Big Give will help to alleviate the risk of a funding shortfall and ensure that all our exciting planned activity can go ahead.


    Donors will receive a bi-annual edition of Inside, our supporter magazine, which will provide updates about the project in the context of our wider work. Donors will also receive a quarterly newsletter via email detailing ongoing and forthcoming activity relating to the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £146,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £100,000 Children's Ballets Creating and touring children's ballets
      £22,000 Learning and Outreach Projects Projects including the START Schools Projects
      £24,000 Disability Arts Projects Projects including Ability and In Motion

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trusts and Foundations £86,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our home at Quarry Hill in Leeds places us at the heart of our city, ensuring that our facilities are accessible to Leeds residents and the surrounding communities across Yorkshire, regardless of physical ability or age. We are committed to investing in our community, and learning projects including our work in schools and children’s centres focus on areas of deprivation and least engagements with the arts. As the UKs widest touring ballet company, we reach diverse communities across the UK.


    -Children – our annual children’s ballets reach near 1 million people every year live and on television
    -Young people – last year we worked with over 50,000 young people across the UK, many of whom are in areas of least arts engagement
    -Northern Ballet delivers vital arts provision for people with disabilities: enabling all to engage and enjoy dance, whether through providing accessible performances or through delivering fully accessible and inclusive dance classes

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    -Awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award to Children’s Arts at the Action for Children’s Arts Award, demonstrating the importance and ongoing success of our innovative learning projects.
    -Dedicated and experienced Learning and Outreach Team
    -Fully accessible landmark purpose-built studios in the heart of Leeds
    -Reach of over 1million for our children’s ballet, via live performance and CBeebies adaptions
    -Strong local networks and links with other arts organisations

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mark Skipper, DL

    Chief Executive since 1996, and former UK Theatre Manager of the Year. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire. His expertise will be vital.

    David Nixon, OBE

    Our inspirational Artistic Director since 2001 and two-time Dance Europe Director of the Year. His vision is at the heart of our artistic work.

    Selina McGonagle

    As Director of Learning, Selina brings a wealth of experience in community arts engagement and dance education and leads a highly experienced team.