English Youth Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty comes to Kings

Of the 200 dancers that auditioned, 41 from Portsmouth, pictured above, made the cut for the English Youth Ballet.

Of the 200 dancers that auditioned, 41 from Portsmouth, pictured above, made the cut for the English Youth Ballet.

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Over 200 local young dancers turned up at the Kings Theatre last year to audition for the English Youth Ballet’s new show, and 111 made the cut.

Tonight and tomorrow, these talented youngsters, aged eight-18, will perform The Sleeping Beauty alongside a professional main cast at the Kings.

I have modernised it slightly to make it more realistic and less fairytale

Janet Lewis, Director of English Youth Ballet

Daisy Smedley, 10, from Widley, is just one of the lucky dancers.

She will be playing a little jewel and a monster of wicked aunt Carrabosse who curses the Princess Aurora.

‘It feels really good because not a lot of people get to do it,’ says Daisy.

‘My favourite part is bringing it all together when we do the show and showing everybody.

‘The dress for the jewel will be pretty and floaty and the other one will be dark because it is a dark character.’

The company is directed by Janet Lewis, who was awarded an MBE for her work with the English Youth Ballet.

‘We have come to Portsmouth for many years, and have done the other productions in our repertory so now is the time to do The Sleeping Beauty.

‘The number of parts suit the children here because there are lots of versatility,’ says Janet.

The ballet is based on the classic fairytale by the Brothers Grimm which sees the Princess Aurora sleep for 100 years before she is awakened by a prince’s kiss.

In this version, Janet has brought the show into the 21st century – quite literally, by setting the beginning in the 1910s.

‘I have modernised it slightly to make it more realistic and less fairytale,’ says Janet.

‘For example, when the two princes come it is set in 2014.

‘They come in in boots, tights and silver padded jackets and they work from Ipads to try and find Aurora who is covered in foliage.’

The Sleeping Beauty comes to the Kings Theatre tonight and tomorrow.

Performances are at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets: £17-22, call (023) 9282 8282 or visit kingsportsmouth.co.uk

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