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As the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, Matthew Bourne has earned his title as the most popular and successful choreographer and director in the UK. He has worked for over 30 years creating musicals, opera, films and theatre as well as running his own award-winning companies. Here is a glimpse into his impressive list of accomplishments so you can see why we all love his choreography so much.


Matthew was born in Hackney in 1960 and attended the William Fitt and Sir George Monous School in Walthamstow. His fascination with the world of dance started when he was an avid autograph hunter outside the West End theatres from the age of 14. He left school and went to work at the BBC as a filing clerk then later selling tickets at Keith Prowse Theatre Agents. As a teenager, he directed several amateur dance companies, despite never having had any dance lessons. In 1982, he enrolled in the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance and was awarded a BA in Dance Theatre.

Moving into dance

After finishing his studies, Matthew spent a year with Transitions, the production company associated with his college. He then went on to dance professionally for almost 15 years including many parts in his own work. He founded his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, in 1987 and received many awards for his work.

His works included Spitfire and The Infernal Galop during the 1980s and Town and Country and Deadly Serious in the early 1990s. He produced Nutcracker! in 1992 and another famous production in 1995, Swan Lake. The 1990s finished with a production of Cinderella and then finally The Car Man in 2000.

New Adventures was launched in 2002 with co-director Robert Noble. The new company revived a number of successful productions as well as adding ground-breaking new ones including Play Without Words (2002), Edward Scissorhands (2005), Dorian Grey (2008) and Lord of the Flies (2011). New Adventures now ranks as the most successful and busiest dance company in the country and has exported British dance around the globe.

Other work

As well as the works of his own company, Matthew has worked on many other projects. These include choreography for classic musicals such as Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! and My Fair Lady as well as the National Theatre revival of South Pacific in 2002. He has also worked on TV productions of his stage shows including Swan Lake which was a 1996 Emmy nomination and Sleeping Beauty that was broadcast on the BBC in Christmas 2013.

Matthew also works to support the wider dance industry and to help boost its future. He is an Associate Artist and Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells with New Adventures. In 2008, he created Re:Bourne, increasing the chances that young people can find their way to a dance career as well as fund the New Adventures Choreographer Award to showcase the talent of young choreographers from around the UK.


Matthew has received many awards and honours throughout his career. In 2014, he received the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement at the National Dance Awards while was on the Queen’s New Year Honours in 2016 for services to dance.

Dance School North Tyneside

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