Youngsters net roles in Nutcracker production

Ashlea Knight, Abigail Taylor and Hannah Bishop
Ashlea Knight, Abigail Taylor and Hannah Bishop

Three young dancers from the Harborough district have landed roles in a major professional theatre production.

Hannah Bishop (16), of Medbourne, Ashlea Knight (13) of Kibworth and Abigail Taylor (15) of Fleckney were selected at auditions from more than250 young hopefuls.

They are to appear in a production of the Nutcracker at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal for three shows on July 25 and 26, with the English Youth Ballet.

The young performers in the cast will dance alongside international principal artists in a professional production and gain an insight into what life is like as a professional ballet dancer.

They have been working with the lead dancers at Emmanuel School in Nottingham for intensive rehearsals.

English Youth Ballet is a professional ballet company with rehearsal days including the whole company gathering together to perform.

Hannah, who is a student at Bishop Stopford School in Kettetring and attends the Graham Fletcher Dance group, said: “I started dancing when I was two-and-a-half at Farndon Fields School in Harborough with Ann Swinfield, because I liked to dance all the time. I danced with the English Youth Ballet two years ago and loved every minute.

“The rehearsals are great fun because you meet so many people and the teachers are very inspiring.

“I am really looking forward to dancing at the Theatre Royal because I like performing, especially alongside the professional dancers.”

Ashlea and Abigail attend the Caroline Carr Dance Studios in the Harborough district.

Kibworth High School pupil Ashley said: “I am looking forward to dancing in a full-length ballet production in a big theatre.

“I would like to carry on dancing for as long as I can.”

Abigail, who goes to Robert Smyth Academy in Harborough, said: “I am really enjoying learning my part as one of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s attendants and can’t wait to get on stage. It is such an exciting and amazing opportunity.

“In the future I hope to pursue a career in ballet.”

Oliver Speers, who plays the Prince in the show, said: “The young dancers we are working with have good technique and great energy.

“Working in a professional environment gives the students a unique insight into life in a ballet company.”

For tickets or more details call 0115 989 5555 or see