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Funding Boost And Announces UK Tour Plans For 2004

Ballet Welcomes Funding Boost And Announces UK Tour Plans For 2004

The Royal New Zealand Ballet today welcomed the additional $2 million in government funding it will receive over the next four years and announced plans to tour its upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet to the UK in 2004.

Sue Paterson, General Manager of the Royal New Zealand Ballet said: "We'll use the extra money to raise the dancers' pay scales for the first time in six years, appoint an education officer and commission at least one new ballet a year. We're also delighted to take up a prestigious invitation to perform at Sadler's Wells in London and five other UK cities in 2004.

"When people think about the Royal New Zealand Ballet they tend to focus on the balancing act onstage rather than behind the scenes. Yet, in recent years the company has tread a delicate line between keeping within our means in the face of rising costs and honouring our commitment to tour ballet of excellence nationally.

"With the exception of a one off grant in 2000 to eliminate an earlier deficit, the Ballet has received the same level of Crown funding since 1998. During this time we've faced rises in the cost of venue hire, orchestras, accommodation and travel, which has been met by freezing pay scales and reducing core activities.

"This increase along with other sponsorship initiatives will restore the cuts that have been made. It will create a stable financial platform from which we can develop New Zealand's artistic talent and stage professional productions with confidence in the future."

The company will tour its new production of Romeo and Juliet and a mixed-bill programme to London, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, High Wycombe and Bath in April and May next year.

The New Zealand season of Romeo and Juliet opens in Wellington on 6 June 2003. The national tour will include Napier, Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Dunedin, before closing in Christchurch on 21 July.

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