Today, on the second anniversary of the death of dearly-loved choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne, The Lynne and Land Foundation has announced grants to four arts organisations close to her heart.
Grants have been made to the Royal Ballet School, ArtsEd, LAMDA and the Royal Academy of Dance to enable talented young performers reach their full potential in the choreographic arts, drama and musical theatre.
Her husband Peter Land said:
“Our scholarships and grants are there to help where they are needed most, and I am sure this is just such a time. The funding is for actors and dancers in training to ensure their continued artistic education. These four institutions, who will distribute the funds at their own discretion, are known and respected for their high level of teaching standards and professionalism in the field of performing arts, providing creative and supportive environments for learning and development.”
Last year, the Foundation’s first grant was made to J.R. Ballantyne, to help towards his drama school fees and enabling him to complete his final year’s training at ArtsEd. Ballantyne, from New Zealand, said the funding allowed him to complete his training, attain a work visa in the UK and land his first job. He made his professional debut in the West End in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium and then appeared in Curtains at Wyndham’s Theatre.
The Foundation today also revealed 10 patrons from across all fields of the arts: Matthew Bourne, Darcey Bussell, Chrissie Cartwright, Janie Dee, Judi Dench, Hugh Quarshie, Ken Robinson, Patrick Stewart, Harriet Thorpe and Peter Wright.
Lynne’s long and distinguished career in the world of dance and performing arts saw her direction, staging and choreography break records across the globe, particularly with her collaboration on two of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous musicals, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. The New London Theatre, where Lynne pioneered her ground-breaking choreography on Cats in 1981, was renamed in her honour by Lloyd Webber in June 2018, making her the first non Royal woman to have a West End theatre named after her.
Lynne was involved in more than 60 productions in the West End, 11 feature films and many TV shows. Throughout her distinguished and prolific career she supported many causes close to her heart, not only championing young and aspiring performers, but also passionate about giving back to the theatrical world she had felt blessed by herself. Only too aware of the difficulties in embarking on a artistic path, Lynne and Land wanted to establish a pathway to support and nurture aspiring young individuals as well as supporting the arts institutions she was affiliated to, so creating a Foundation seemed the logical way forward.
Land said: “The idea for our Foundation came about following a conversation on how fortunate and grateful we both were for having people helping us early on in our respective careers. Dame Gillian’s very sad death on 1 July 2018 spurred me on to keep her name alight and make our Foundation her legacy to help young, talented people more easily bear the financial burden of their training, especially given the difficulties and costs of modern life.
“With a hugely knowledgeable and supportive group of Patrons and Trustees around me, the Foundation will continue to help students of the choreographic arts, drama and musical theatre to achieve their full potential by providing scholarships and grants to selected schools and organisations for the performing arts.”