Sir Matthew Bourne

Choreographer / Director

Matthew Bourne is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful Choreographer/ Director. He is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, a five - time Olivier Award winner, and the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical.

Matthew started training to be a dancer at the comparatively late age of 22. He studied Dance Theatre and Choreography at The Laban Centre graduating in 1985 but spending a further year with the college’s performance company Transitions. Matthew danced professionally for 14 years creating many roles in his own work. In 1999 he gave his final performance playing The Private Secretary in the Broadway production of Swan Lake.

Matthew Bourne was the Artistic Director of his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, from 1987 until 2002. During those 15 years AMP became the UK’s most innovative and popular dance/theatre company creating an enormous new audience for dance with its groundbreaking work both at home and internationally.

Works created for AMP include Overlap Lovers, Spitfire, Buck and Wing, The Infernal Galop, Town and Country (Olivier nomination), Deadly Serious, The Percys of Fitzrovia, Nutcracker! (Olivier nomination), Highland Fling, Swan Lake (numerous international awards including two Tonys, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Astaire Award, Olivier Award, South Bank Show Award, Time Out Award, LA Critics’ Circle, MEN Award, Dramalogue Award), Cinderella  (Olivier Award, LA Critics Award) The Car Man (Evening Standard Theatre Award, Manchester Evening News Award, Olivier nomination). Matthew Bourne and AMP enjoyed a long relationship with audiences in Los Angeles and in particular the Ahmanson Theatre which housed the international première of Swan Lake in 1997. AMP’s productions have also played throughout the world, including seasons in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow and throughout Europe, Australia and the USA.

In 2002 Matthew, along with Co-Director, Robert Noble, launched his current company, New Adventures, with two highly successful productions. Play Without Words premiered as part of the National Theatre’s Transformation Season and went on to win Best Entertainment at that year's Olivier Awards. It then embarked on a world tour and premiered in New York, Los Angeles and Moscow in 2005. Matthew Bourne’s new production of Nutcracker! also premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2002 and became an instant popular hit with audiences and critics, returning the following year for a second sell-out season. It became the first ballet to be screened by BBC1 in over 20 years and then also embarked on a world tour. in 2012 it celebrates it's 20th Birthday with its longest ever UK Tour.

Next came New Adventures’ acclaimed revival of one of Bourne’s most popular works, the “Romantic wee ballet”, Highland Fling. At Sadlers Wells and on tour throughout the UK and Japan.

A new production was added to the repertory of the company in 2005 with the creation of Edward Scissorhands, based on Tim Burton’s classic movie. This played for 11 weeks at Sadler’s Wells prior to a UK tour which was followed by a visit to the far east and a long tour of the United States in 2006/7 during which it won the Drama Desk Award for “Best Entertainment”. In 2008 it was the first dance production by a British Company to play the Sydney Opera House for a sell-out 3 week season.

Matthews now legendary production of Swan Lake also continues to tour, with performances throughout the World and record breaking seasons it the UK. Last year it made a triumphant return to New York, 10 years after its Broadway season, and this year it was filmed in 3D for SKY Arts with a cast featuring Richard Winsor, Dominic North and Nina Goldman.

Bourne’s dance-thriller The Car Man returned in 2007 proving more popular than ever with audiences in London and around the UK. During this highly successful tour, Bourne was presented with the Theatre Managers Association (TMA) Special Award for services to Dance, touring and audience development.

Matthew Bourne is a Resident Artist at Sadlers Wells Theatre. His company, New Adventures, has enjoyed a special relationship with the theatre and its audiences for nearly 20 years and was invited to be Resident Company in 2006

Matthew has also created choreography for several major revivals of classic musicals including Cameron Mackintosh’s productions of Oliver! (1994 and 2009 Olivier nomination) and My Fair Lady (2002- Olivier Award) as well as the National Theatre’s revival of South Pacific (2002). In 2004 Matthew co-directed (with Richard Eyre) and choreographed (with Stephen Mear) the hit West End musical Mary Poppins for which he won an Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer. It went on to premiere on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in 2006 (where it is still running) earning Bourne another two Tony nominations.

He has collaborated on projects with leading directors, Trevor Nunn, Richard Eyre, Sam Mendes, Yukio Ninagawa and John Caird and has created dances and roles for such wide-ranging performers as Jonathan Pryce, Lynn Seymour, Dawn French, Adam Cooper, David Walliams, Julie Walters, Michael Sheen and Rowan Atkinson.

His film work includes television productions of his stage work including Swan Lake (1996 Emmy nomination and 2011 in 3D), The Car Man (2001) and Nutcracker! (2003) and original work such as the John Betjeman inspired Late Flowering Lust (1993) with Sir Nigel Hawthorne and his own AMP Company.

Matthew was the subject of a South Bank Show in 1997 and in 1999 he presented Channel 4’s Dance 4 Series. The channel 4 documentary Bourne to Dance, which he also presented, was broadcast on Christmas Day 2001. His production of Swan Lake is featured in Stephen Daldry’s hit film Billy Elliot.

Other theatre and dance work includes; As You Like It (RSC/John Caird), Children of Eden (West End/John Caird), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Aix en Provence/Robert Carsen), The Tempest (NYT), Show Boat (Malmo Stadsteater, Sweden), Peer Gynt (Barbican/Yukio Ninagawa), Watch With Mother (NYDC), Boutique and The Infernal Galop (Images of Dance and The Sarasota Ballet), Watch Your Step (Irving Berlin Gala), French and Saunders Live in 2000 (UK tour), Dearest Love (Ballet Boyz)

In 1999 Faber and Faber published Matthew Bourne and his Adventures in Motion Pictures, edited by theatre and dance writer, Alastair Macaulay. The second edition will bring the story up to date when it is published later this year. In 1997 he was made an Honorary Fellow of his former college, The Laban Centre, and in 2007 received Honarary Doctorates from The Open University and The De Montford University in Leicester. in 2010 he received the same honour from both Plymouth and Kingston Universities and in 2011 from Roehampton University. Later this year he will be made a Companion of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Matthew Bourne has twice been nominated as Best Director at the Olivier Awards and his achievements in choreography have been recognized with over 30 international awards including The Evening Standard Award, South Bank Show Award, Time Out Award and the Astaire Award for Dance on Broadway. In the 2001 New Years Honours, Matthew was awarded an OBE for Services to Dance and in 2003 he was the recipient of the prestigious Hamburg Shakespeare Prize for the Arts (only the second dance recipient after Dame Margot Fonteyn!) In 2010 he was the first recipient of The British Inspiration Award (in the Arts Catagory)

His latest original production for New Adventures, Dorian Gray, received it's World Premiere at The 2008 Edinburgh International Festival, and became the most successful dance production in the Festivals 65 year history. In 2010, he saw Swan Lake return triumphantly to New York at City Center and created a new production of Cinderella which broke all box office records at Sadlers Wells before embarking on a sell-out UK tour playing to over 240,000 people over 200 performances.

In 2010 the New Adventures Choreographer Award  (NACA) was created by Matthew's friends and colleagues to celebrate his 50th Birthday. The first award, which helps and mentors a choreographer throughout a year culminating in the creation of  a showcase evening of work, will be announced in July 2011.

At the beginning of 2011 he directed the New Adventures and Re:Bourne production of William Golding's Lord Of The Flies at the Glasgow Theatre Royal, which featured young men from local schools with little or no theatrical experience. Later this year see's the 20th Anniversary production of Nutcracker! which will launch a year of celebrations to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the launch of Bourne's companies AMP and New Adventures.

Credit: New Adventures (

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