A message from Scottish Ballet CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson:
This year during the numerous Prides across the globe, we mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the spontaneous uprising by members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community sparked by the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, NYC. In the past five decades, the fight for acceptance and inclusivity has continued to deliver a drive towards equality within our communities.
During our 50th anniversary celebrations at Scottish Ballet, we’ve had cause to reflect on our own journey in becoming Scotland’s national dance company. We were founded by Peter Darrell in the same year as Stonewall happened. He was a remarkable pioneer among his generation for many reasons; he pushed the boundaries of choreography with an adherence to creating relevant, contemporary works – something we pride ourselves on doing today. He championed other choreographers alongside his own works, including a young Michael Clark – again, something we are committed to cultivating with today’s new creative voices. Peter was openly gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Decriminalisation in Scotland wasn’t until 1980, many years behind England and Wales.
However, today, in Scotland, there is much to be proud of. Scotland is considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of LGBTQ+ equality with a commitment from the Scottish Government for funding to stop LGBTQ+ related bullying and discrimination. At Scottish Ballet, we are particularly proud of our pioneering new Safe to be Me programme, working with primary school children across Scotland to address identity-based bullying, including homophobia and transphobia. Furthermore, it is vital our artistic output reflects the world we live in, and this year we have produced work that challenges traditional gender norms, including a recent world premiere, Dextera, from our Artist in Residence, Sophie Laplane which was praised for its gender fluid casting and commentary on creativity from a female perspective. We also commissioned Frontiers, a dance film directed by Eve McConnachie and choreographed by San Francisco Ballet’s, Myles Thatcher – an advocate for the LGBTQ+ voice in dance.
Scottish Ballet is proud to be a champion of inclusivity – as an employer, a community hub, and as Scotland’s national dance company, it is essential to us that everyone who we interact with feels comfortable to express and explore their identity. There will always be more we can do to ensure discrimination is called out, to allow people, young and old, to be whoever they want to be. We will work hard to make sure that when we look back in the next 50 years it is with even greater pride.
Happy Pride, Glasgow, from us all at Scottish Ballet!
- Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director, Scottish Ballet