Mayor opens ENB’s new East London home

Published: 18 September 2019
Reporter: Vera Liber

Tamara Rojo, Deputy Mayor for Culture Justine Simmons and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the opening of English National Ballet's new building Credit: Laurent Liotardo

English National Ballet’s 93,000-square foot purpose-built new home in Canning Town East London has been officially opened by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The Mayor was treated to a performance of Olivier Award-nominated Playlist (Tracks 1,2) created by William Forsythe for English National Ballet and performed by 12 of its dancers in the new five-storey production studio.

He was also shown the seven full-sized studios and dedicated engagement and learning spaces showcasing English National Ballet’s work with local communities, was told about plans for an apprenticeship programme in ENB's wardrobe workshop and met some of the company’s dancers, production and wardrobe staff.

The Mayor said, “London is a city full of creative talent so I’m delighted that these world-class facilities are opening up opportunities to all Londoners. By enabling the community to practise alongside internationally-renowned professional dancers, these new spectacular studios not only showcase our capital as a world leader for ballet, but help improve the lives and wellbeing of Londoners from all backgrounds.

“It shows the positive impact that culture can have on our communities and, with work on East Bank already underway, is the latest step towards creating a global cultural powerhouse in East London. This sends a clear message to the world that London is open to talent and creativity and always will be.”

Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, said, “our new home is a hub for creativity, where imaginations will be ignited. It will be a springboard where artists from all disciplines can meet, grow, exchange, and inspire each other, creating work that can be shared with audiences up and down the country and across the world.

“It is a space where everyone can feel welcome, where we can increase our engagement with our local community, and where people of all ages, young and old, from all backgrounds can enjoy our art form.”

At four times the size of its former building in South Kensington, English National Ballet’s new building, designed by Glenn Howells Architects, has views into the rehearsal studios, an exhibition space and café. It is the latest cultural centre to move to East London and will be joined on London City Island by the London Film School. Future East London culture developments include East Bank, and the planned education district at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

English National Ballet School moves into its spaces at the new building this winter.