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A chat at the barre with Kevin O’Hare

Release date:
8 August 2017
Kevin O’Hare is coming to Hull on Wednesday 16 August to share his incredible 40-year journey from dancer to Director of the Royal Ballet as the Company prepares to take to the stage at the soon-to-reopen Hull New Theatre
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Five years into his all-consuming role as director, responsible for driving the artistic direction of the Company, Kevin is pushing the Company forward while keeping ballet, as an art form, alive in the 21st century. In this lecture, he will explore the process from inspiration to outstanding creativity and artistic excellence, developing talent and his vision for widening the Company’s performing platform.


An accomplished dancer himself, Kevin trained at The Royal Ballet School and, through an exchange programme, with Royal Danish Ballet. He began his performing career with The Royal Ballet’s sister company Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, and stayed with that company as a Principal during its transformation into Birmingham Royal Ballet. During this time he performed extensively in the UK and internationally, including as a guest artist with many leading companies. His repertory included all the leading classical roles, such as Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Albrecht (Giselle) and Romeo (in BRB’s first performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet).


He has worked with many leading figures in the ballet world, including Ninette de Valois, Peter Wright, Frederick Ashton, MacMillan and David Bintley, and created several roles, including Amynta (Bintley’s Sylvia). He has also produced many galas and choreographic evenings.


He retired from performing in 2000 at the age of 35, after 16 years of dancing on stage all over the world and entered into a traineeship in company management with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This led to the post of Company Manager with BRB in 2001, and in 2004 he joined The Royal Ballet as Company Manager. He was made Administrative Director in 2009 before being appointed to his current role in 2012. In 2015 he was appointed to the board of Northern Ballet.


Fran Hegyi, Executive Director at Hull 2017, said: “Kevin O’Hare knows what makes a great ballet. He is courageous, a risk-taker and prepared to give something a try to achieve his vision and push ballet forward, capturing the hearts and imagination of everyone who experiences it.”


O’Hare has a vision that by the end of 2020 every full-length ballet presented is new in the last 10 years and wants to commission a three-act ballet every year. With this vision, this ambitious Yorkshireman has well and truly raised the barre.


The BP Cultural Visions Lecture Series explores the journey from inspiration to creativity, providing a chance to take an intimate look at the creative journey of some of the UK’s leading cultural visionaries. Featuring varied and prominent speakers, this is a fresh space to investigate and celebrate innovation and passion. A collaboration between BP and the University of Hull, it is designed to spark cultural conversation with monthly lectures throughout 2017.


The event will take place at 6.30pm on Wednesday 16 August in Middleton Hall as part of the BP Cultural Visions Lecture Series.


Book online at: hull2017.co.uk/culturalvisions and culturenet.co.uk


For media enquiries, please contact Sian Alexander in the University of Hull press office on 01482 462193 or s.alexander@hull.ac.uk

Notes to editors

BP support for UK arts and culture

In the UK, BP is a major supporter of the arts with a programme that spans over 50 years. BP’s investment in long term partnerships with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company represent one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in UK arts and culture www.bp.com/arts.


BP is a global energy company with wide reach across the world’s energy system. The energy we produce serves to power economic growth and lift people out of poverty. In the future, the way heat, light and mobility are delivered will change. We aim to anchor our business in these changing patterns of demand, rather than in the quest for supply. We have a real contribution to make the world’s ambition of a low carbon future. We have operations in Europe, North and South America, Australasia, Asia and Africa, and employ around 75,000 people.


BP Hull is home to some of BP’s most innovative operations. We own and operate a chemical manufacturing facility which is the largest producer of acetic acid and acetic anhydride in Europe. BP is at the forefront of research and technology in the petrochemicals field, and Hull is one of our principle global centres for petrochemicals research and technology. In addition, Hull hosts part of BP’s Centre of Expertise in Applied Chemistry and Physics (AC&P). Earlier this year, we marked our 50thanniversary at BP Hull.  


Fast facts:

  • 74,500 employees
  • 72 countries
  • 17,810 million boe proved reserves
  • 18,000 retail sites
  •  6,000+ marine voyages completed by BP-operated and chartered vessels
  • $115 million profit attributable to BP shareholders
  • 3.3 million boepd production
  • $2.6 billion underlying replacement cost profit
  • 109% group proved reserves replacement ratio


University of Hull

Creativity lives and breathes at the University of Hull – always has done, always will.


As a catalyst for creativity we are a keen supporter of arts and culture within our community and beyond – and now, as a principal partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 we are delighted to be an integral part of the celebrations.


The University of Hull is playing a significant role in producing and hosting some of the spectacular events that form part of the Hull 2017 programme including, in the first few months alone, an exhibition of drawings from some of art’s prominent masters from Matisse to Michelangelo; a film festival dedicated to Oscar-winning Director Minghella who kick-started his career here; and an exhibition of BP Portrait Award Commissions from the National Portrait Gallery featuring famous faces from Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling. Some of this activity is being held in our newly relaunched Middleton Hall which, following a £9.5million redevelopment, is now a world-class concert and arts venue.


University of Hull students, graduates and staff are at the heart of the programming with conferences, concerts and festivals showcasing their talent. In addition, as the exclusive academic partner we are an official partner in creativity and in helping to pave the way for future generations.


For further information visit www.hull.ac.uk


Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England. Divided into four seasons, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas.


The Culture Company was set up to deliver the Hull 2017 programme and is an independent organisation with charitable status. It has raised £32 million, with over 70 partners supporting the project, including public bodies, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses.


Key contributions are coming from: Host City – Hull City Council; Principal Partners - Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull; Major Partners –Associated British Ports, Arco, BP, the British Council, British Film Institute, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group. The National Lottery has contributed more than £10m of this funding, making it the largest single funding body for Hull 2017.


For information go to www.visithull.org/