Joanna Lumley to host National Youth Ballet memorial gala

Joanna Lumley with Jill Tookey

Joanna Lumley with Jill Tookey - Credit: Archant

Joanna Lumley will host a special gala performance by the National Youth Ballet in honour of Jill Tookey who passed away earlier this year

Joanna Lumley will host a special gala performance by the National Youth Ballet in honour of the company’s Artistic Director, Jill Tookey who passed away earlier this year.

The showcase, taking place at Sadler’s Wells, will pay tribute to Tookey, showcasing her favourite commissions from the 29 years she spent with the company.

Lumley has been a patron of the National Youth Ballet since 1989, previously narrating two of the company’s ballets.

She will be joined on stage with alumni of the company including performers from The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.

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National Youth Ballet artistic director Mikah Smillie said: “When Jill Tookey CBE founded National Youth Ballet she had a vision of providing young dancers and choreographers with a truly unique opportunity and she exceeded this vision.

“The gala performance this year will celebrate this legacy with an exciting evening of dance.

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“We are thrilled and honoured that Joanna will be hosting the gala performance at Sadler’s Wells.”

During her time at the National Youth Ballet, Tookey became one of the UK’s most influential dance leaders.

She was awarded a CBE in the New Years Honours list 2016 which was presented to her granddaughter at Buckingham Palace in June.

The 2016 programme will include some of Tookey’s favourite commissions such as The Old Man of Lochnagor choreographed by Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie In addition the memorial gala will include new commissions and performances from previous alumni.

The National Youth Ballet Gala will take place on September 4th at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

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