A three-year Start project can transform the education programme of an arts venue. Northern Ballet tells us what a difference it has made to them and the community in which they work. 


Jo Dean, Head of Learning at Northern Ballet, says:

“The Start project has now been running for eight years and it has grown into our core audience development programme. Since its inception we have introduced over 5,000 young people to dance and live performance – no other project we deliver has such a big impact. The structure of the project enables us to develop long term relationships with schools and by inspiring and upskilling teachers, the reach of the project goes further than just the pupils we work with directly. 

The support of Children & the Arts at the beginning enabled us to develop a strong structure with clearly identifiable outcomes, resulting in a programme that is attractive to potential future funders. This has enabled us to secure funding so we can continue delivering a highly subsidised progamme with more schools, introducing hundreds more young people to the joy of dance.”

Start at Northern Ballet gives local children opportunities they would never have otherwise.  A class teacher from Hugh Gaitskell Primary School explains: 

Most of these children have never been outside of Leeds. They lead very insular lives and wouldn’t set foot in the Grand or the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Start breaks down barriers and lets them do something that they have never done.


Watch the film below, created by Northern Ballet, to see how Start has impacted on their work with schools. 

Banner Image © Tim Smith