Matthew Bourne ‘thrilled and honoured’ at knighthood

Matthew Bourne

Matthew Bourne - Credit: Archant

Ground-breaking choreographer Matthew Bourne – who triumphantly defied the dance establishment with his all-male Swan Lake – has been knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours.

Having trained as a dancer, Bourne – who lives in the Angel - started his own dance company 30 years ago. He believes he may now be the first ever independent ‘dance Knight.’

“I am particularly proud to be, I believe, the first dance Knight outside of the National Ballet companies,” he said last week, following the annoucement.

News of his knighthood, he added, had come as a great surprise.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled and honoured to be recognised in this way,” he said. “As Artistic Director of an independent contemporary dance company that started as a group of friends in the late eighties, this comes as a very significant recognition of what that company has achieved in the last 28 years.”


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Sir Matthew was the artistic director of his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, from 1987 until 2002, before going on to launch his latest company, New Adventures, in 2002.

Over the years, his work has ranged from the all-male of Swan Lake, which memorably featured at the end of the film Billy Elliot; a production of Edward Scissorhands - based on Tim Burton’s classic film; The Car Man - a re-telling of Bizet’s Carmen set in 1960s America; to a contemporary re-telling of La Sylphide called Highland Fling.

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Last year, the choreographer, who celebrates his 56th birthday later this month, was given The Stage Award for outstanding contribution to British theatre at the 2015 UK Theatre Awards.

Over the years, he has won more than 30 awards for his direction and choreography both in the UK and US.

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