Who We Are

The National Youth Ballet involves talented young dancers from all over the country in every aspect of creating a ballet, from the conception of an idea through to performance on stage at a professional level. The Company also encourages children from all walks of life to become involved with NYB through schools and community workshops. NYB utilises the skills of students in associated arts and encourages the talents of young designers, costumiers, musicians and student teachers in the preparation and production of all their work. 160529_9686_v1-copy

NYB often commissions new scores for specially devised works. The main cast of ninety dancers have the opportunity to work at their own particular level and enjoy the unique experience and privilege of working with eminent composers, designers and choreographers.

NYB’s recently launched Beyond Ballet Emerging Choreographers Platform which nurtures young choreographic talent, supporting young choreographers in devising and showcasing their own works at professional level.

National Youth Ballet is a Registered Charity No.1000932 and a company registered in England No.2557811 whose registered office is at: Kingston Smith, Surrey House, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1RH.



Jill Tookey founded NYB in 1988, building it into a highly successful Company. The high demand for places in the Company is demonstrated by the hundreds of young dancers who audition annually. Jill’s successful career as Fashion Editor of two national magazines followed an earlier love of ballet and all-round vocational dance and design training at the Arts Educational School. Jill was totally committed to the NYB, working on a full-time voluntary basis, and her exacting role as Executive and Artistic Director could not have been fulfilled without her enormous energy, drive, enthusiasm and unique creative flair. In addition to the direction of the Company, Jill would take particular pleasure in designing most of NYB’s outstanding costumes.

The talented young NYB members are encouraged to strive for the highest goals and many go on to full-time vocational training having gained enormous confidence, invaluable performing experience and great pleasure from their involvement with NYB. The company’s ambition is to see the NYB achieve a firm financial footing, ensuring its continued growth and development.

Jill was appointed an MBE in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2004 and a CBE in the 2016 New Year Honour


Mikah Smillie :  Artistic Director

Mikah has been involved with National Youth Ballet of Great Britain over the past decade and assisted in developing the Beyond Ballet Mentoring platform, an exciting platform for young emerging  choreographers. She was appointed as Artistic Director in October 2016, having been taken under the directorial wing of the late Jill Tookey in previous Seasons.

Mikah began her training in Scotland before graduating from the The Royal Ballet School.  (RBS TTC dip. ARAD, AISTD, Solo Seal)   She  began her professional career as a soloist with Nurnberg Ballet, Ballet Dortmund, Tanzwerk Nurnberg, Rotterdam Dance Company and Phoenix Dance Company performing a vast range of
choreographic repertoire.   Mikah then went on to join Matthew Bournes New Adventures and for the next 10 years performed a variety of Character Principal Roles in productions including  Edward Scissorhands ,  Cinderella,  Highland Fling , Nutcracker! and Early Adventures.  Mikah has toured extensively across the UK, Europe, America, Japan , Korea and Australia.

Following a 20 year professional dancing career Mikah  was selected to take part in the Dance UK Mentorship Programme for future leaders within the arts and was subsequently appointed as an Associate Artist for RE;Bourne.    Mikah has worked extensively as a rehearsal director with, Re:Bourne, New Adventures, Scottish Ballet, Ballet Ireland, The McOnie Company and for Turner Prize winner Martin Creed on Work 1020 at Sadler’s Wells .  Mikah also has a passion for dance pedagogy and currently lecturers in dance on the BA Modern Ballet and BA/MA Musical Theatre courses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Mikah has had vast experience working with a mixture of both professional dancers and creative young people in major arena events , film and television. She was mass movement choreographer for the Queen’s Birthday Parade, performance Captain for the Closing Ceremony of The Commonwealth Games 2014 and the opening ceremony at the European Games in Baku 2015.   For film Mikah has performed in the hit film ‘Sunshine on Leith’,  Dance Captain for the BAFTA award winning TV show ‘Still Game Live’ for the BBC,  alongside choreographing for the Critic’s Choice Television Series ‘ Outlander’  for Starz TV.


















NYB Staff 2017

Mikah Smillie

Artistic Director

Clare Witton


Stephanie Rosenheim

Ballet Mistress

Andrew Ellis

Technical Director & Lighting Designer

Nicola Packham

Pastoral care

Tessa Balls

Head of Wardrobe


2017 Creatives

Louise Bennett


Ruth Brill


Christopher Hampson


Carrie Johnson

NYB Repetiteur

Etta Merfitt


Jonathan Payn


David Rhys

NYB Repetiteur

Samira Saidi


Arielle Smith


Katy Lowenhoff

Assistant Rehearsal Director

Kenneth MacLeod

Projection Designer

Sammie Mulhearn

Wigs and Makeup


Beyond Ballet Creative Opportunities for developing artists

Charlotte Goffin

Rehearsal director for Ruth Brill

Charlie Brittain

Rehearsal director for Etta Murfitt

Ciara Clayton

Rehearsal director for Louise Bennett

Amelia O’Hara

PA to the Artistic Director

Erin Flaherty

PA to the Artistic Director


Malcolm Macfarlane
Patricia Castanha
Graham Dodd
Amanda Fone FIRP
Founder & CEO of f1 recruitment ltd, Co-Founder & Director of Original Search Company.
Giles Gordon
Emma Hay
Anna Meadmore MA, Dip. RBS TTC, ARAD, AISTD, Dip. Inter. Benesh
Jonathan Payn
Paul Reeve
Into Film

Safeguarding Policy

NYB has a Safeguarding Policy in place to safeguard children from any type of abuse as far as possible and to minimise the risk of abuse where it exists.

NYB has a Health & Safety Policy in place to make sure children, staff and volunteers







Trustees and Patrons Scholarship Fund

We want every young aspiring young dancer or choreographer, who successfully auditions for NYB to be assessed on a level playing field. We never want to deny anyone a place because they lack the means to pay the fees. In 2018 we are establishing a Trustees & Patrons Scholarship Fund, to allow board members and patrons to play their part in enabling young people to participate in the company, whose financial circumstances would otherwise prevent them from doing so.

The fund will allow opportunities for talented, hard-working and dedicated young dancers the wonderful experience of working with the company and performing in a fully professional setting. Detailed information on how to apply will be sent out when we offer places to those who have auditioned.

What We Do

The main aim of the NYB is to offer talented young dancers, aged 8 to 18 years, an opportunity  to work, rehearse and perform like a Professional Dance Company .   We commission bold, new work, created by professional choreographers working within the industry, collaborating with musicians, designers, eminent composers, costumiers and technicians to create a complete company experience.   Many alumni have gone on to gain contracts with major ballet and musical theatre companies throughout the world. NYB also encourages children from all walks of life to become involved with their Outreach Fit to Dance programme in schools and the community.


NYB Summer School involves an intense 10 days of choreographic rehearsals, creative development and diverse and challenging classes.  All rehearsals are in preparation for our  performances at a regional theatre and a final Gala evening held at a prestigious London theatre.  The whole company begins each day with morning ballet class which then leads into rehearsals with our guest choreographers and professional NYB staff .  When not rehearsing, students  attend additional classes held throughout the week which may include Point work, Classical Solos, Contemporary,  Classical Jazz, Drama, Pilates and Body Conditioning.


Every year NYB plays host to the In-house Frank Freeman Choreographic Competition.  In previous years outstanding wmikah_smillie_copyright_nyb_choreographic_dsc_4850-editorks have been chosen to perform in our regional and gala performances.  Many winning Alumni have gone on to be professional choreographers as a result of NYB’s encouragement.   The Company has three main awards: the Barbara Geoghegan Musicality Award; the Frank Freeman Cup awarded to an outstanding male choreographer; and the Nijinska Award , a cup given to an outstanding female choreographer. For more information and criteria for the in-house choreographic competition please follow the link



NYB also encourages not only performers but choreographers and in 2012 we launched our very successful Beyond Ballet copyright_sean_purser_2016-7946Emerging Choreographers Platform which is open to students aged 16-25.  Chosen individuals will be mentored  by NYB professionals to develop a piece of work for the main stage .   The recent 2015 Gala saw 5 young choreographers stage their brand new works at London’s Sadler’s Wells .  Alumnus Drew Mconie first NYB commission at the age of 19 went on to see him scooping the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer in 2016 for In The Heights. 




Each spring NYB holds auditions with entries from ballet students aged 8 -18 nationwide.  First round auditions take about 1 Lauren Cuthbertson and Jill Tookey with all the studentshour, giving the adjudication panel the chance to see dancers in small classes. Those dancers who are recalled will return for a day for the final audition and castings.  Once dancers have been offered a place in the Company for the season they will attend a 10 day residential Summer School, held for the last 4 years at Tring Park School for Performing Arts.



Patron Lauren Cuthbertson and Jill Tookey with all the students

As part of NYB’s Workshops, the Outreach Programme educates children about the importance of fitness and gives children, who might otherwise not have the opportunity, a chance to experience dance and performance. Outreach also works with children who have special needs, such as the deaf, the blind, the physically and mentally disabled. NYB dance workshops have touched the lives of many children in deprived inner city areas and introduced them to fitness and fun as a healthy way of living.  The content of the workshops is tailored to the abilities of the children with special needs and the theme of the workshops links in with the ballets the Company is performing.

As Jo Meredith leader of the Outreach team said ” I hope that the workshops have made the children realise that anybody, no matter what their background, can dance and that ballet can be engaged with and enjoyed by all!”

Over the last 4 years NYB has worked with almost 5000 children and has taken its Outreach Programme to the following schools:

Courtesy of Mikah Smillie

  • Arbour Vale School, Slough
  • Ashford Oaks Primary School, Ashford
  • Bayards Hill Primary, Oxford
  • Bysing Wood Primary, Faversham
  • Churchill C.E Primary School, Westerham
  • Cliffdale Primary Academy, Portsmouth
  • Darenth Community Primary School, Dartford
  • Darley Dene primary, Adlestone
  • Dorton House, Seal. Special school for visually impaired children
  • John Wesley Primary School, Ashford
  • Kings Farm Primary, Gravesend
  • Moor House School, Hurst Green. Specialising in the education of children with communication disorders.
  • Longmead Community Primary School, Tonbridge
  • Oaktrees Community School, Maidstone
  • Rose Street Primary, Sheerness
  • Southborough Primary School, Southborough
  • The Vale School, Haringey for children with physical disabilities
  • Whitley Park Primary, Reading








Nyblets creative holiday workshops are aimed at younger children aged 4 -8 who are not old enough to audition to join the main Company.

Nyblets launched in April 2012 with a highly successful Hansel and Gretel themed workshop in Sevenoaks which covered dance, drama, make-up and prop-making.

Children do not need to have had previous dance experience to enjoy joining a Nyblets workshop.

See our Workshops section for more information.


Following is the list of performances performed by NYB since foundation in 1988. Use the search box for a contextual search, or the arrows to sort by any column.


Performed at:- The Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Her Majesty’s Theatre, The Coliseum, The Royal Festival Hall, The Royal Albert Hall, VE Day Celebrations – Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens, Guildhall, Lincoln’s Inn, The Bloomsbury Theatre, The New Wimbledon Theatre, The Lowry – Salford, The Regent – Stoke-on-Trent, The Harlequin – Redhill, The Ashcroft Theatre – Croydon, The Maltings Concert Hall – Snape, The Grand Theatre – Swansea, Churchill Theatre – Bromley, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre – Guildford, Stag Theatre – Sevenoaks, EM Forster Theatre – Tonbridge, Assembly Halls – Tunbridge Wells

Rock 'n' Roll2015MedleyJ. Lee
Venn2015GlassE. Marsh
Trotters2015Haines/KnightJ. Neale
To You2015Taylor-JohnsonD. McOnie
Athena2015AdamA. Smith
The Sighing2015ElgarJ. Meredith
Dance Disguisement2014PachelbelP. Eaton
Suite Bourgeoise2014ArnoldJ. Meredith
Waking Mozart2014MozartS. Clarke
The Jabberwocky2014TookeyA. Taylor-Gaunt
Little Red Riding Hood2014DeeringD. McOnie
Inversion2014Beethoven, Klazz BrothersA. Smith
The Fairy Realm2013QuilterJ. Harris
Chaos at the Keaton Cafe2013Byron (edited by Miller)A. Taylor-Gaunt
252012Malcolm ArnoldJ. Meredith
Diamonds of the Soles of her Shoes2012SimonA. Dowson
Feeling Groovey2011SimomA. Dowson
Ballet Chocolat2011PortmanA. McNicol
Rainbow Bear2010BarlowJ. Meredith
A Cowardly Affair2009CowardJ. Meredith
The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe2008MillerJ. Harris
Country Suite2007GraingerJ. Harris
The Old Man of Lochnagar2007HessD. McOnie
Strathspey and Reel2006GraingerPayn
Graduation Ball2005Johann StraussLichine (restaged: Wright)
The Greatest Show on Earth2005Tookey/ThomasBrereton
Bright Young Things2005MillerA. Dowson
Small House of Uncle Thomas' from The King and I2005Rogers & HammersteinRobbins (restaged: Phillips)
Adagio2004BarberA. Dowson
Punch and Judy2003TraditionalBrereton
La Piazza2003Respighivan Schoor
Monochrome Suite2003NorrissMcOnie
Elan2003Secret GardenBill Whelan
Gone West2003Gene de PaulPhillips
Match Girl and The Flame2003ReadeDowson
Captain Beaky2002ParkerPhillips*
My Lord of Oxonford2002Suzato/MorleyMeadmore*
Four Seasons2002VivaldiFreeman
Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra2002BrittenKinson*
Nursery Suite2001Kristy*Saidi*
Les Petits Rats2001BizetKinson*
Celtic Classic2001TraditionalPhillips*
Hansel and Gretel2001HumperdinckKinson*
Reel Irish2000TraditionalPhillips*
English Traditional Dances2000TraditionalCole*
Carnival of the Animals1999ProkofievHampson*
Touch of the Blarney1999TraditionalPhillips*
Colour Crazy1998ProkofievKinson*
Preparation for the Dance1997SimpsonKinson*
Pedro the Parrot1997RidoutKinson*
White Cloud1996WaltonCurtis*
Lavender’s Blue1996TraditionalMeadmore*
Wonderland – Scenes from Alice1996HorovitzSleep*
Polovtsian Dances Prince Igor1995BorodinFokine
Blue Rondo1995BrubeckPayn*
Phoebus Arise1995DvorákPayn*
When We Were Very Young1995TraditionalSunderland*
Little Women1995Field/HartyKinson*
Ameliarane & The Green Umbrella1995JoplinUffindal-Phillips*
The Trout1995SchubertFreeman*
Maid of the Marsh1994Ridout*Jackson*
Just for Fun1994MayerlRedmon
Barn Dance - Saturday Night1994TraditionalHarrold*
Impressions of Sophie1994Vic. Parlour Music*Kinson*
National Celebration1993TraditionalSunderland*
Water Babies1992Brooks*Slaughter*
Barnstaple Fair1991BrooksBarnes*
Doll’s House Fantasia1991StraussMeadmore*
Maid of the Marsh1990Ridout*Barnes*
Las Cuevas Encantadoras1990Brooks*Barnes*
Pedro the Parrot1988Ridout*Fairbairn*

Emerging Choreographers Opportunity

Beyond Ballet Emerging Choreographers Platform


NYB’s Beyond Ballet: Emerging Choreographers Platform is becoming a highly successful platform for young and emerging choreographers across the country. Whilst retaining our classical roots and inspiring even the youngest members of NYB, our mission is also to nurture students’ wide range of creative talents and to reach Beyond Ballet,  to encourage budding choreographers, giving them invaluable opportunities to stage their own works.

The Beyond Ballet Platform is open to students aged 16-25.  Chosen individuals will be mentored  by NYB professional choreographers and teachers currently working within the industry.  Successful applicants will develop and produce a new piece of work using the NYB company dancers, which will then be performed on one of London’s  main stages  .   The recent 2015 Gala saw 5 young choreographers stage their brand new works at London’s Sadler’s Wells.  Alumnus Drew Mconie first NYB commission at the age of 19 went on to see him scooping the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer in 2016 for In The Heights. .


If you would like to be involved in this exciting programme then please fill in the attached form and we will send you more detailed information and an application form.




Become Involved

We would love to hear from you!

Maybe you would like to be part of The NYB Team  ?  

We currently have openings for recent graduates and professionals  to gain invaluable experience by working closely with our guest choreographers as personal rehearsal assistants .


The National Youth Ballet relies upon the generosity of its dedicated volunteers.

Each year, NYB opens its doors to those who are interested in becoming involved with the company. Volunteering with the National Youth Ballet will help you learn new skills and develop existing ones, gain experience in working on a large-scale production and meet new people.

There are many different ways of getting involved with the NYB. Areas where voluntary help is needed are:

Wardrobe & costume department



Hair & make-up

Backstage Technical Team

Front of House

Teaching assistants

To apply to volunteer with the National Youth Ballet, view current volunteering opportunities below and fill in the application form. You must be 16 or over to apply.

View current opportunities

It is NYB’s policy for all staff and volunteers over the age of 16 to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. If you are successful in gaining a voluntary position with the NYB, we will arrange the completion of this.

We welcome applications from anyone of any age or background – if you have any problems with your application or wish to ask any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The National Youth Ballet ethic:

The company is a registered charity working with children under 18 – all personal details are strictly confidential and must keep within the Child Protection Policy.

All staff and volunteers must demonstrate a can-do, positive attitude. The company thrives on new ideas and enthusiasm.

Email us at info@nyb.org.uk

In-House Choreographic Competition

In-House Choreographic Competition


Incorporated into Summer School will be our annual Choreographic Competition open to all NYB Company Members. This will be held on the evening of Thursday 17th August. NYB Patron Anna Meadmore, Archivist at White Lodge and Choreographer, will be adjudicating the event and awarding the Barbara Geoghegan Musicality Cup, the Frank Freeman Cup and the Nijinska Award.

This is a fantastic opportunity to devise your own pieces and as budding choreographers present your work on the stage at Tring Park School. To our newcomers – do not be daunted – this is an ideal chance to showcase your talents as not only choreographers but dancers too, in a relaxed atmosphere. Several NYB Choreographers have gone on to present their pieces at the Gala as winners of the Choreographic Opportunity. Many winning alumnus have gone on to be professional choreographers as a result of NYB’s encouragement. NYB is incredibly supportive of dancer’s efforts and we enjoy seeing new talent evolve each year.

To encourage the future choreographers of the next generation NYB is announcing a new creative CHOREOGRAPHIC HUB at Summer School. Students will have time in the Evenings to develop their work under the creative guidance of NYB staff and professional choreographers.

The competition will be split into five sections:

1. Junior Solo                   11 and under

2. Intermediate solo      14 and under

3. Senior solo                  15 years and above

4. Duets

5. Groups

Ages are at the competition date Friday 18th August 2017)

How to enter: You will receive an application form with additional information and Competition Rules in your Welcome Pack when you have successfully auditioned for National Youth Ballet.