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first direct increases sponsorship of Northern Ballet

24 Jun 2013

In a challenging climate for arts and culture funding, Leeds-based bank first direct , has announced that it will extend its sponsorship of the internationally acclaimed Northern Ballet, continuing the successful partnership which started in 2010. 

To launch the sponsorship and in honour of midsummer's day, Northern Ballet dancers Olivia Holland and Mariana Rodrigues paid a visit to the first direct call centre and crèche in Leeds dressed as fairies from the Company's forthcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (images attached). 

Lisa Wood, Head of Marketing at first direct  commented: 

'We recognise the importance of supporting local organisations and charities.  Our relationship with Northern Ballet has been very successful and their philosophy to be committed, creative and passionate fits perfectly with first direct 's. As a result of the partnership we've been able to invite customers to the Company's captivating performances and the amazing feedback we've received confirms we've made the right choice. 

'Our people also enjoy being part of the relationship; dancers will visit our call centre in Leeds and onsite crèche and our people have access to tickets for local dress rehearsals.' 

Northern Ballet is renowned for creating new full-length ballets and for touring these throughout the UK reaching more people and places than any other major ballet company.  Its second national tour of the year will see the Company performing at ten venues around the UK. The tour opens with A Midsummer Night's Dream at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds on Friday 6 September.

Mark Skipper DL, Chief Executive of Northern Ballet commented: 

'For 2013 we're creating two new full-length ballets, The Great Gatsbywhich has been a sell-out success on tour around the UK, andCinderella which opens in Leeds in December. We have also extended our touring with the introduction of our first ballet for children, Ugly Duckling. The support from first direct  is invaluable to Northern Ballet in making sure we are able continue to reach an ever-growing number of people in more towns and cities and to keep moving forward with new productions and new initiatives.'  

Further high resolution photos of Northern Ballet dancers Olivia Holland and Mariana Rodrigues in full costume from A Midsummer Night's Dream at first direct  are available on request.


For further information please contact:

Ruth Burke-Kennedy, Northern Ballet, 0113 220 8000

Rebecca Hirst, first direct , 0113 276 

Amanda Brown, first direct , 0113 276  

Notes to Editors

first direct provides both telephone banking and online banking services to its 1.2m customers.  It offers a full range of personal banking products including its award winning Current Account and offset mortgages. 

Northern Ballet is renowned for its full-length narrative productions which embrace popular culture and take inspiration from literature, opera, or give a unique interpretation of classical ballets. The Leeds-based company is committed to touring throughout the UK and overseas, developing new audiences for dance. It has carved a unique place in the UK's cultural landscape and was voted Britain's favourite ballet company for three consecutive years at the National Dance Awards. 

Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre are based in a centre of excellence for dance in Leeds for dance artists, enthusiasts and audiences across the north of England. Their award-winning headquarters on Quarry Hill in central Leeds is the largest purpose-built space for dance outside London. 

Northern Ballet Tour Listings

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse

Fri 6 - Sat 14 Sep

Box Office 0113 213 7700 

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tue 17 - Sat 21 Sep

Box Office 08448 11 21 21 

Woking New Victoria Theatre

Tue 24 - Sat 28 Sep

Box Office 0844 871 7645 

Nottingham Theatre Royal

Tue 1 - Sat 5 Oct

Box Office 0115 989 5555

A Christmas Carol

Norwich Theatre Royal

Wed 9 - Sat 12 Oct

Box Office 01603 630 000 

Canterbury Marlowe Theatre

Tue 29 Oct - Sat 2 Nov

Box Office 01227 787787 

Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

Tue 5 - Sat 9 Nov

Box Office 0114 249 6060 

Bradford Alhambra Theatre

Wed 13 - Sat 16 Nov

Box Office 01274 432 000 

Manchester Palace Theatre

Tue 19 - Sat 23 Nov

Box Office 0844 871 7660   

Three Little Pigs

Leeds Hunslet Club

Sun 20 October

Perfs 2.30pm, 4pm & 6pm 

Leeds Riley Theatre

Sat 26 Oct

Perfs 2.30pm, 4pm & 6pm 

Leeds Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre

Mon 28 Oct - Sat 2 Nov

Perfs 11am, 1pm & 3pm, Fri 1 Nov 11.30am & 3pm 

Booking for all performances of Three Little Pigs on Box Office 0113 220 8000 or 


Leeds Grand Theatre

Preview 16 Dec

Tue 17 Dec - Sat 4 Jan

Box Office 0844 848 2700

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