Where a ballet performance with Principal Artists of the Bolshoi Ballet becomes a reality for 1000 children in Lambeth

“Partner in this inspiring initiative”

The Oval began with the dream of a performance for Lambeth children for whom The School of Classical Russian Ballet was unable to perform in outreach due to lack of space in their schools. An unusual relationship developed between The School of Classical Russian Ballet and the Ben Holioake Learning Centre (BHLC) run by Steve Wilson at the Kia Oval cricket ground. The School of Classical Russian Ballet is grateful for the wonderful opportunity to perform twice a year at the Oval with artists from the Bolshoi or Mariinsky Ballets.

December 2019 Oval Performance


The School of Classical Russian Ballet performed with huge success twice in 2019 for over 1000 children at the Kia Oval. Two further performances are planned for 13 th July and 14 th December 2020 again for over 1000 young children for most of whom it will also be their first experience of ballet and classical music. The power of ballet as an approachable and inclusive art form is evidenced by the videos and photographs of these performances together with the enthusiasm and unrestricted responses of the young children in the audience. The teachers from the local schools involved in the project are enthusiastic supporters of it and see the power of this art form to influence and enrich. It is also essential to show that ballet is aimed at them and not simply at a removed and privileged audience. Ballet is an art and is universal. The Oval performances aim to redress issues of cultural deprivation amongst young children who all too often have no access to the performing arts. They have become annual events for the local schools, students and staff. The Oval performances are a truly a Lambeth project, this unorthodox venue becomes a children’s theatre with blackout and lights. The School of Classical Russian Ballet makes the same effort in preparation and rehearsal for these Oval performances as for any theatre events.

“Having the School of Classical Ballet come to his school (a state school) has opened him up to a whole new world. He never imagined he would enjoy this and neither did I.
I have to say I was nervous about him starting as I’m a single, working parent and wasn’t sure I could afford the lessons. Ballet is something that is seen as  something for well off families. I’ve not heard of a “regular” child especially a boy doing ballet. The ballet school let me know that they could help if he really wants to take part. They have been truly amazing!…. If Christina the outreach worker and ballet teacher) had not come to our school to introduce ballet he would not be doing ballet. The benefits of ballet would work so well for many children as it gives them something productive to do. It keeps them occupied and in a very strict routine which they actually enjoy. I think for boys in particular, in these times something other than football brings a different element to their lives. So many children will
benefit from this opportunity in schools. I am most thankful to the School of Classical Ballet for all the support they have and continue to give. I wish I was in the position to pay whatever fees they ask for as it would definitely be worth it.”
Parent of YLP and now pre-vocational scholar who has performed twice at the Kia Oval and three times at Cadogan Hall and four times in Manchester.
“You do know that none of the children here from my school today have been to a theatre. You cannot imagine how important these performances are for us and our school!”
Teacher at Archbishop Tennison during Oval Performance

The School of Classical Russian Ballet creates a theatre atmosphere with lighting, blackout and backdrops. The makeshift arrangement is unorthodox, but the motivation behind the project as seen through the reactions of the children is resounding and truly uplifting. For these youngsters, the afternoon is genuinely a trip to the theatre.

July 2019 Oval Performance

The Young Lambeth Performers (YLP) perform at the Oval in front of their peers from different schools in Lambeth. Young children who had never even heard of ballet have committed and worked over a period of months to train and rehearse in order to perform for a large audience without mistakes and with great pride. They share the stage with artists from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballets and discover the discipline and commitment to do something at the highest level applies not just to these artists but to themselves.


An amazing aspect of the ballet training at the School of Classical Russian Ballet is the number of performances staged each year. The school is very proud of the partnerships it has developed in the borough of Lambeth with different schools. Each year it performs for over 1000 children in two performances at the Oval Cricket Ground and with the generous support of the Oval Trustees. The students of the school prepare and rehearse with the artistic staff tirelessly to develop technique, stage experience and repertoire as a vital part of their own ballet training and also to create an afternoon of theatre for young children who have never seen a ballet.

Pictures from the Christmas Oval Outreach Performance 9th December 2019

The School of Classical Russian Ballet performed for 500 children from Lambeth for whom ballet might otherwise be out of reach

Pictures from the Christmas Oval Outreach Performance 9th December 2019

The School of Classical Russian Ballet performed for 500 children from Lambeth for whom ballet might otherwise be out of reach

Thank you for inviting us to see the ballet performance on Monday 9th December at the Oval.  It was spectacular! Our children thoroughly enjoyed it and wereinspired! We loved the diversity, elegance and the beauty of all the performances and this helped to address misconceptions of what ballet is all about and who ballet is targeted at. You are doing a great job! keep inspiring our children!
Thank you!
Claudia Fleary-Tayabali, Deputy Headteacher - Henry Fawcett Primary School

2 Magical Oval Ballet Performances

Join us to open up young children’s imagination to the Arts, Classical Ballet and Music

Give 1000 children the magical experience of a ballet performance with classical music by helping make two Oval Outreach performances possible in 2020.

For more information please contact Harriet Pickering on harriet.pickering@classicalballet.org