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Royal NZ Ballet 2-time nominee for theatre oscars

Royal NZ Ballet two-time nominee for ‘Oscars’ of British theatre

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has received two nominations for the 2005 Laurence Olivier Awards, it was announced in London today (Thursday evening, New Zealand time).

The awards are considered the Oscars of British theatre. Winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony on Sunday 20 February. RNZB Artistic Director Gary Harris will attend.

The RNZB – a first-time nominee – dominates the Best New Dance Production category. It secured two of the category’s four nominations for Romeo and Juliet by Christopher Hampson and Milagros by Javier De Frutos.

Both works were presented on its tour of Britain last year.

Nominee Christopher Hampson was back in the RNZB’s Wellington studios this week, rehearsing a work for the company’s New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour programme.

“It’s always rewarding to have one’s work formally recognised, ” he says. “I’m especially pleased that the collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Ballet has been acknowledged with a nomination for such a prestigious theatre award.”

“To put it in perspective, Sadler’s Wells alone has in excess of 50 companies visiting throughout the year. So it is no small matter that the Royal New Zealand Ballet has bagged itself two nominations.”

The company’s commitment to presenting new work has been much-admired by the British press: “by most standards, what's going on in Wellington these past few years amounts to a hotbed of creativity,” said The Times. The Guardian agreed: “the fact that all the ballets were commissioned within the past three years reflects even better on the company's own creative health and on the nerve of its director Gary Harris.”

New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour, featuring Hampson’s Esquisses, opens at Wellington’s Westpac St James Theatre on 10 February and six weeks and 48 centres later, closes at Lower Hutt’s Little Theatre on 24 March.

In May, Milagros will be restaged for The Peugeot Season of A Million Kisses to My Skin, which tours New Zealand, San Francisco and Sydney.

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