NEWS: Be enchanted by London Children’s Ballet’s ‘The Secret Garden’ – Peacock Theatre, July 2024

 

The young dancers of London Children’s Ballet will showcase their blossoming talent and enchant theatregoers of all ages in a revival of The Secret Garden at Peacock Theatre this month.

Pint-sized performers are set to bring the bloom of youth to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s whimsical tale of self-growth. Considering the calibre of past productions – most recently, Snow White – they will delight audience members with their passion and professionalism.

 

London Children's Ballet dancers photographed on location for The Secret Garden. Two young dancers, one male and one female, pose together in a garden.

 

London Children’s Ballet (LCB) trusts in the transformative power of dance. This unique organisation plants the seed of a long-lasting passion that enriches the lives of aspiring dancers and often-marginalised audiences. Founded in 1994, by Lucille Briance (a mum motivated by a desire to find a community that her shy, dance-loving daughter could join), LCB is a charity that aims to inspire children from all backgrounds through dance and introduce new audiences to ballet.

The concept is simple, and its execution is flawless. Each year, LCB chooses a timeless children’s story to stage as a ballet and selects a cast of 50 talented youngsters aged 9 to 16 to participate in six months of rehearsals, culminating in the performance experience, all free of charge. Throughout the year, LCB’s outreach work also takes ballet into schools, care homes and special needs centres in and around London.

The Secret Garden was last performed in 2013 and features Erico Montes’ original choreography. For this summer’s revival, Gemma Pitchley-Gale (former Royal Ballet first artist and ballet mistress on the original production) is working alongside Richard Bermange (whose credits include choreographing a Swan Lake for National Ballet of Ireland, four years as ENBYouthCo’s creative director and Warp and Weft) to stage the 80-minute story ballet.

 

London Children's Ballet dancers in The Secret Garden.

 

LCB’s interpretation of the classic novel promises to deliver humour, drama and excitement.

Selfish little English girl Mary Lennox is left orphaned in India and returns to England to live with her uncle. She soon finds a neglected and out-of-bounds walled garden, befriends a robust country boy called Dickon and meets her sickly, hypochondrial cousin, Colin. The three children spend time together tending to the overgrown ‘secret garden’ and this has a rejuvenating effect on Mary and Colin, improving their physical and spiritual health.

LCB alumni dancers include Royal Ballet principal Anna Rose O’Sullivan and English National Ballet first soloist James Streeter. Choreographer Jenna Lee, who is currently heading up LCB’s artistic team while Ruth Brill is on maternity leave, was also an LCB dancer.

Whether you are a dance devotee with a keen interest in the future of British ballet or a busy parent with little ones to entertain, The Secret Garden promises to be a must-see treat.

 

Should you wish to make a special occasion of it, the premiere performance on Thursday 4 July at 7pm will be a fun and glamorous evening in celebration of LCB’s 30th anniversary. All proceeds from this performance will go to LCB’s work with disadvantaged children and isolated elderly people. Use the booking form to apply for tickets.

 

*Promotional photography by Amber Hunt (Photography by ASH).

 

London Children’s Ballet’s The Secret Garden is at Peacock Theatre from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 July.

Running time: Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes, including an interval.

 

 

Update 6 July 2024: Read my review of London Children’s Ballet’s The Secret Garden at Peacock Theatre.

 

 

To learn more about London Children’s Ballet visit the LCB website and follow @lcbballet on Instagram and @lcblondon on X (formerly Twitter).

 

 

Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.

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