Big moment for Eastbourne’s newest youth performing arts group

Rachael Mitchell, South Coast Ballet - pic by Paul Spink from Media AttentionRachael Mitchell, South Coast Ballet - pic by Paul Spink from Media Attention
Rachael Mitchell, South Coast Ballet - pic by Paul Spink from Media Attention
Eastbourne’s newest youth performing arts group offer their first production at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre on November 27.

South Coast Ballet present The Tales of Beatrix Potter at 4pm, bringing together a talented cast of young dancers from across East and West Sussex to celebrate 120 years of Beatrix Potter stories with Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and all their friends.

The company was set up by qualified dance teachers and choreographers Rachael Mitchell and Claire Christou who are operating out of Broadway United Church.

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“We formed just coming out of the spring lockdown of 2021 and we started off by offering workshops to any ballet students in the area. We were going from aged eight upwards and teaching them repertoire from ballet so that they could put into context what they were learning.

"The group is all about performance. After months and months of all these children being stuck in their living rooms during the lockdowns just looking at Zoom and learning things like that, we just thought this was a great chance to remotivate them.

“I'm Eastbourne born and bred. I'm a dancer. I'm a dance teacher. I danced in local amateur companies into my late 20s and then I qualified as a teacher and I freelance around the local area as does Claire.

“We started the rehearsal process for this production at beginning of September and this is our first big production. It is very exciting but it's also very pressurised. We don't know how we are going to come across but we've got a great cast of children and young people.

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"The youngest is eight and the oldest is early 20s and for this one we've got a company of 25.

"This wasn't a show that needed a huge cast, but going forward we would be looking to increase the cast for other shows to maybe 40 or 50.

"For the Beatrix Potter we had some absolutely beautiful head masks being made by local designer Dugg Daynes and we just thought this would be a really nice way to show them off to the public, and also using the masks is a good way with really young children and ballet so that they know who the characters are. It's all the well-known characters and it is celebrating the 120th anniversary of Peter Rabbit being published.

“We are a non-profit company and any money that we raise in the show will go towards putting on another show in the future. We are trying to keep the costs as low as possible for everyone to make sure that everyone can take part. We just want to be able to cover our costs and start the costs for next year. Next year we are hoping to do The Nutcracker at the end of November. It will be a much bigger cast. We would be looking for a cast about 50 for that one so anyone who is interested in getting in touch should do so.”

You can find out more about the company and the opportunities it can offer by emailing [email protected].