Four girls balance on a ballet bar

Creating opportunities for creative talent to flourish

Posted on 02 November 2016

Everyone should have the chance to make the most of their creative talents. That’s why we supported the Renewal Trust to work with a group of young people from Nottingham who have a passion for music and dance, but who haven’t always had the opportunities they need. Working with the Renewal Trust and professional artists from Birmingham Royal Ballet, these young performers produced a new piece of contemporary dance inspired by one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays.

Four girls balance on a ballet bar with their arms raised in the air.
Nott Romeo & Juliet. Image © The Renewal Trust / Sarah Roach

First steps

Twelve dancers from Nottingham aged between 13 and 20 successfully auditioned to be part of Nott Romeo and Juliet. They all had different skills and talents in dance and performance but very little formal training.

The Renewal Trust arranged for these young people to go backstage to see performers from Birmingham Royal Ballet in training for their upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet.  

The Birmingham Royal Ballet visit inspired me – shows what you can do if you push yourself to the limit.

The visit was a first for many of the group, giving them a unique opportunity to see professional dancers at work and learn from their commitment, stamina, and skill.

Inspired by the experience, the young people then created their own take on this Shakespearean classic, mixing ballet and hip hop.

Nott Romeo & Juliet. Image © The Renewal Trust / Sarah Roach

New notes

The project offered four young musicians the chance to work with the ballet’s composer and conductor, learning about classical art forms and music for choreography.

Nottingham’s Community Recording Studio then provided the space and facilities the young people needed to create a new musical score with an experienced hip hop producer.

I’m putting new things into my music.

Nott Romeo & Juliet. Image © The Renewal Trust / Sarah Roach

Just the start

Nott Romeo and Juliet was performed on the main stage at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal to an audience of more than 160 people, including dance fans, family. and friends.

Since the performance, one of the dancers has become a mentor with local community project Full Effect, delivering after school dance classes at a local primary school.

Others have seen their performance skills go from strength to strength since taking part. One of these young artists is Jamal Sterrett.

After being selected to perform at this year’s UK Young Artists festival, he will take to the stage to perform for audiences at Deda.

The performance gave me the opportunity to show people what I was able to do.

Nott Romeo & Juliet. Image © The Renewal Trust / Sarah Roach

How our funding helped

We know that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, which is why we invested in Nott Romeo and Juliet through our Grants for the Arts fund.

Like us, the Renewal Trust believes that people should be able to enjoy all that arts and culture has to offer – no matter they live.

For the last four years, the Trust has been working with Birmingham Royal Ballet to bring great artistic and creative opportunities to people in Mapperley, Sneinton and St Ann’s in Nottingham.

Nott Romeo & Juliet. Image © The Renewal Trust / Sarah RoachCaption

Every year Birmingham Royal Ballet tours the nation, putting world-class performances on the stages of theatres in Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, London, Plymouth, Salford, Southampton, and Sunderland.

Our Grants for the Arts funding for The Renewal Trust meant that professional artists from the company could expand their tour to work with the young people to create their own performance.

Projects like this are inspiring ambition, confidence, and determination.

This film about the making of Nott Romeo and Juliet sums up why creating opportunities like this in places where there hasn’t always been access to great art and culture is so important.

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