Five UK Ballet Companies and Their Strategies

Surviving the Several Crisis

Cassa Pancho, Artistic Director, Ballet Black
Darius James, Artistic Director, Ballet Cymru (Welsh Ballet)
Carlos Acosta, Artistic Director and Caroline Miller, CEO, Birmingham Royal Ballet
Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director and CEO, Scottish Ballet
Karen Pilkington-Miksa, Artistic Director, New English Ballet Theatre

Article by Deborah Weiss 

Cassa Pancho, Artistic Director, Ballet Black

I don’t want to sound callous but we have spent eighteen years unfunded. So every year was – how am I going to commission this or what will happen to us, so the pandemic was the first time we felt like we were in the same boat as everybody else, rather than just being out there on our own. We were a ballet company running without regular funding when all the other ballet companies had significant funding. That is just the context for us, but of course Covid hit us in different ways because it affected the Black and Asian community much more. Lots of people in our circle were affected by the actual disease. It was frightening to be told that all theatres are closed, something we never anticipated. You plan for problems with visas or injuries but you never plan for theatre closure or not being able to be in physical contact with each other. Although we missed our 2020 premiere, thanks to the Barbican and a small handful of venues that were ready to open, we got that programme on by the autumn of 2021. I was still able to commission Gregory Maqoma for our 20th anniversary programme.

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Cassa Pancho and The Ballet Black © Nick Guttridge

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