Vic-Wells Association's AGM - 2017
The guest speaker at the 2017 Vic-Wells AGM was Wayne Sleep who answered the questions posed by Vic-Wells President, Nickolas Grace, at around a hundred miles an hour! Wayne veered this way and that, forwards in time and then back again, finally landing precisely on the right spot. The whole interview was dazzling and full of pizzazz.
Wayne claimed he would never have been accepted into the Royal Ballet School if he and his mum hadn’t bought an overnight sleeper return for the audition. Had they stayed overnight, Wayne’s wrist would have been measured and the likelihood of him being ‘too short’ would have lost him the Leverhulme scholarship. He subsequently carved out a virtuoso career making a virtue of being a short, but extraordinary, dancer famously partnering Princess Diana in the ‘Uptown Girl’ dance at the Royal Opera House in 1985. Wayne’s great achievement was in crossing over from dance into acting and this links him with the ultimate crossover dancer, Robert Helpmann. But acting proved risky when on one memorable occasion, playing Ariel, Wayne watched in horror as the set caught fire at the Regent’s Park Theatre and he was left for ages stuck up his tree watching the fire spread.
Wayne was asked if he had any regrets. His answer was ‘yes’. He’d kept his mouth shut sometimes when he was rooting for people who couldn’t speak out. And yet Wayne has done so much to create new opportunities, especially for dancers, to open doors, especially through Dash in all its myriad of manifestations of ballet, jazz contemporary and tap. There was a period when no one at Covent Garden would speak to him, as he’d gone ‘commercial.
Next year he will be 70 and there is talk of a retrospective – but how would you select what to look back at from all Wayne’s astonishing work?
If you missed the AGM and interview, catch the flavour of it with Wayne talking about dancing with Princess Diana at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmf-P0xkd9A
The Vic-Wells Association of today continues the social programme instigated by Lilian Baylis as "A fellowship of playgoers drawn from and uniting all parts of the house". The "playgoers" being the audiences attending Shakespeare, Opera and Ballet performances at the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells theatres.
Although, of course, today the English National Opera is no longer in the "Vic-Wells" theatres and the play programmes are more extensive.
See more about our social events by following this link to our Social Events page.
The Association's Annual General Meeting is usually held at Sadler's Wells theatre in November.
Members may be given the opportunity occasionally of going on organised visits to places of interest.
Details are announced in the Broadsheet in advance of the time of the visit.