London City Island's new ballet centre named after Ballymore chairman

Dancers at new and spacious centre at City Island

Dancers at new and spacious centre at City Island after they quit cramped rehearsal rooms next to Royal Albert Hall in 2019 - Credit: English National Ballet

A new rehearsal centre which has kept English National Ballet going during the pandemic has been named the Mulryan Centre for Dance after the family of the man who built it. 

Sean Mulryan, chairman of Ballymore developers which provided the complex at its London City Island on the Leamouth Peninsula at Blackwall, has been one of the company's main supporters through the crisis. 

English National Ballet's new Mulryan Centre for Dance at London City Island 

English National Ballet's new Mulryan Centre for Dance at London City Island - Credit: HUFTON & CROW

The ballet company had to cancel all public performances and furlough most of its staff when the Covid lockdown began last year, but its new premises in east London had space to continue rehearsals safely. 

New spacious rehearsal studios at City Island got the company through pandemic

New spacious rehearsal studios at City Island got the company through pandemic - Credit: English National Ballet

It was able to keep to its training regimes despite restrictions, cancellations and lockdowns using seven new rehearsal studios and a fitness and rehabilitation suite.  

English National’s artistic director Tamara Rojo 

English National’s artistic director Tamara Rojo - Credit: Mike Brooke

“This building has transformed the way we work,” English National’s artistic director Tamara Rojo said. “It has provided us with the scale to be more creative and allow our dancers to rehearse safely.”  

Technical gallery above rehearsal stage with lighting and sound at London City Island

Technical gallery above rehearsal stage with lighting and sound at London City Island - Credit: Mike Brooke

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The complex has a production studio rigged with a technical gallery, lighting and sound so full-scale rehearsals can be staged. The studio has retractable seating for an audience of 175, ready for the 2021-22 ballet season.

It had previously used space next to the Royal Albert Hall before moving to east London. 

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