The Royal New Zealand Ballet is thrilled to have received the Highly Commended citation for the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award at the Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards. The awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations who provide opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts as artists and audience members.
The RNZB is committed to breaking down barriers of access to ballet and the arts. In 2017, we launched new access initiatives including the first audio-described ballet (Romeo and Juliet) in New Zealand, relaxed and sensory-friendly performances, and the first Sign Language Interpreted guided tour of the RNZB at the St James Theatre in Wellington during New Zealand Sign Language Week. In 2017, we also launched a program at the Arohata Women’s Prison, and have worked to break down barriers of access for low-decile students through a programme of ticket and transport subsidies for our schools’ matinees.
Our wide-ranging and impactful Education, Community and Access program reached 28,076 participants in 36 cities and towns across New Zealand in 2017, a feat made possible by the relentlessly passionate team at RNZB.
The RNZB was recognised for its “wonderful programme of accessible events, making ballet cool and accessible to people who might not otherwise get the chance to experience one of our performances”.
RNZB Executive Director Frances Turner says: “I can say that on behalf of everyone at the RNZB, we are proud, honoured and inspired to play an active part in the ecosystem of artists, organisations and communities who make Aotearoa New Zealand a rich, diverse and creative country. I am particularly proud of how far we’ve come and the diverse audiences’ response to engaging with ballet both on the stage and behind the scenes. Special thanks goes to our tireless and enthusiastic Education and Community Manager Pascale Parenteau and our Education team. They are supported by everyone else at the RNZB who plays their part in the delivery of our access initiatives, living our shared values. We also pay special thanks to all the funders and supporters who help us make this work possible.”
RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says: “I am honoured and proud to be a part of a group of individuals that dedicate their tireless work to enriching lives in our community. The arts are what brings us joy and inspires each of us every day to be the best we can be. A big applause to Pascale Parenteau, her team and all at RNZB that have made programs such as these a reality and a driving force at the RNZB. We thank our supporters and our collaborators for their continued trust and belief in the work we do”.
RNZB Education gratefully acknowledges support from The Lion Foundation, Four Winds Foundation, Trillian Trust, Foundation North and Wellington Community Trust, the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand Trust, the Rātā Foundation, the Les and Sonia Andrews Cultural Foundation, Auckland Council and Perpetual Guardian and the New Zealand Charitable Foundation for their significant funding support of the RNZB’s Education and Community programme and the special accessibility initiatives.