Vacancy: Executive Director, National Youth Ballet

National Youth Ballet has just celebrated its 30th anniversary and is embarking on an ambitious new phase in its progression. It is seeking to appoint a new Executive Director, who will work in tandem with the Artistic Director, to develop and deliver a vibrant and inclusive national programme of opportunities that enable children and young people, from all sectors of society, to engage with the art form.

The candidate will have at least 3 years’ senior management experience, ideally within the cultural sector, and will be a highly competent, financially astute and organised individual, with a dynamic and proactive approach. The Executive Director plays a leadership role in the business development of the organisation and its fundraising strategy, ensuring its work is delivered in the most effective way. As an enthusiastic communicator, the successful applicant will be confident in representing National Youth Ballet externally and building collaborative relationships with a wide range of stakeholders at a senior level.

Closing date for applications: 12 noon, Friday 3 November. Applications received after this date and time will not be considered.

Your application should be emailed to the Chair’s PA:

In the subject line please write: NYB Executive Director Application

First interviews: Friday 10 November. Second interviews: Monday 13 November.

Job Description
Application Form

NYB Finance Trustee

Would you like to become a Trustee of National Youth Ballet of Great Britain and help take this leading 30 year old Performing Arts Charity through an exciting period of growth.

National Youth Ballet (NYB) was founded in 1987 with the aim to widen participation in all aspects of ballet performance. We do this by enabling young dancers and choreographers to collaborate with their peers, alongside musicians, composers, designers, costumiers and stage managers, under the guidance and support of established professionals.

Hundreds of young dancers, aged 8 to 18, audition for the highly coveted places in the Company annually. Many of their alumni go on to gain contracts with major ballet and musical theatre companies throughout the world. NYB also works with children from all walks of life through their Outreach Fit to Dance programme in schools and in the community.

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

Sir Matthew Bourne CBE, Director of New Adventures and NYB Patron said, “I have been so impressed by the ambition of this company. We are not just looking at pieces of choreography, we are looking at pieces of theatre and that’s amazing! NYB simply doesn’t settle for second best!”

Jill Tookey CBE, the founder of NYB, passed away from cancer in March 2016. 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. She was totally committed to the NYB, working on a full-time voluntary basis as Executive and Artistic Director. And in addition to the direction of the Company, Jill designed most of NYB’s outstanding costumes.

NYB now has taken on the challenge of moving forward without its very dedicated founder. We appointed Mikah Smillie as our Artistic Director in September last year following a wonderful 2016 Season celebrating Jill’s years of whole hearted and inspirational leadership. We are currently appointing an Executive Director to start in January 2018. We have an amazing team of patrons including Darcey Bussell CBE, Joanna Lumley OBE, Dame Monica Mason DBE, Sir Peter Wright CBE, Carlos Acosta CBE, David Bintley CBE and Lauren Cuthbertson.

Trustee with a background in Financial Management

NYB has been diversifying the skills and experience set of our Trustees since September 2016 with the appointment of a Marketing / Digital media expert and three experts from the Ballet & Dance Sector. We are now looking to appoint someone with a robust career in Finance / Accountancy who is keen to find a Non Exec role within a progressive arts charity as one of our Financial Trustees retires later in December this year following a three year term with us.

Malcolm Macfarlane Chair of NYB said, “We’re looking for someone with financial management skills set who can help us shape our growth & development strategy over the next five years.’

“NYB has a Trustee meeting once a month in the evening at a central London venue and all Trustees attend each of these Board meetings. Although this is not an executive appointment, the NYB core executive team is small and as we work through our plans for growth over the next 18 months, we would expect to be able to rely on our Trustees to provide guidance to the executive team outside these meetings.”

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee of NYB please email in the first instance with a copy of your CV in confidence. The first interviews for the Trustee position will be conducted in November & December 2017.

Unveiling of the Jill Tookey Bronze for ‘Young Performer of The Season ‘

Celebrating the life of Founder

Jill Tookey CBE

 On what would have been Jill’s 80th Birthday, Jill’s family are thrilled to unveil a new bronze award to commemorate her life and achievements. Jill specifically asked her family to commission a new bronze to be awarded to a very special ‘Young Performer of The Season’.  Jill’s family took on the task of finding a sculptor who shared Jill’s joy of dance and pursuit of excellence and who would succeed in capturing this in a bronze dancer.

Back in September Moira Purver SWA, an established sculptor from Dorset, was approached. She seemed the perfect match with her love and enthusiasm for dance and the figurative form.  Moira works largely from life to capture the essence of the warmth and vitality and movement in the human form.   She was excited to be approached and set about working on an emotive bronze dancer.

Moira exhibits annually with the Society of Woman Artists in London and won an award for her sculpture ‘Male Torso’ in 2010. She exhibits regularly in London, Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon.

We are so grateful to Moira for what I’m sure you agree is a stunning bronze and one an NYB dancer/s will be proud to be guardian of each year.  It symbolises the sheer joy of dance, the discipline and the outstanding beauty of the body as it moves through time and space.

The 2016 Young Performer of the Season was awarded to Jessica de Souza Lewis from Young Dancers Academy and Basil James from Tring Performing Arts School – two dedicated dancers that Jill knew well and greatly admired. Congratulations again to both.


Jill specifically asked her family to commission a new bronze to be awarded to a very special

‘Young Performer of The Season’.

Moira Purver SWA, an established sculptor from Dorset creating the special award . 

The 2016 Young Performer of the Season was awarded to Jessica de Souza Lewis from Young Dancers Academy and Basil James from Tring Performing Arts School – two dedicated dancers that Jill knew well and greatly admired. Congratulations again to both.



London Marathon In memory of Jill Tookey


Long term Company and NYB staff member is running the London Marathon in memory of the phenomenal Jill Tookey CBE. Please visit his page and help donate to this worthy cause .

Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

I am running (I use that term loosely!) the Virgin London Marathon in memory of the phenomenal Jill Tookey CBE who sadly lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2016. She was a close friend of mine and had a huge impact on both my performing and teaching careers in the 23 years I knew her.

Those of you who know me will know that I hate running. I’m only seen to do so when they call ‘last orders’! So this is a huge personal challenge in order to try and make a difference and help stop this horrible disease.

Please sponsor me, any amount will be appreciated, however small.

In advance, thank you for your support!

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Tributes to Jill Tookey

The stunning picture you see below, is Founder and Artistic Director of NYB, Jill Tookey, who sadly passed away on Good Friday 2016.

Her funeral took place on Thursday 7th April at St. Mary’s Church in Westerham and was a beautiful and poignant event. The ceremony was accompanied by some of Jill’s most-loved music, including some NYB favourites – the Pas de Deux from John Lanchbery’s TOAD, excerpts from Paul Reade’s Cinderella and a beautiful and moving live performance of Dark Lochnagar from NYB’s The Old Man of Lochnagar, choreographed by Nigel Hess, sung by Wendy Nieper and accompanied, on the harp, by Jane Lister.  

Jill Tookey in her youth

Jill Tookey in her youth, 1960s

6 male NYB alumni made up the pallbearers, whilst alumnus and choreographer Drew McOnie gave a moving eulogy about Jill and her incredible influence on the lives of so many dancers’ over the past 30 years. Amongst the moments of sadness were also moments of joy as the congregation fondly remembered stories of Jill’s fun and eccentric dancing parties, her infectious enthusiasm, her meticulous eye for detail and her love of fancy dress!

The funeral was well attended by family, friends, patrons, trustees and many of the NYB family past and present, including choreographers, back stage staff, chaperones, wardrobe staff, costume and mask design, alumni, parents, dance teachers and dancers – all the different people that make NYB the huge success that it is. 

We wish to share with you Jill’s obituary published in The Times earlier in the week, describing a Director who ‘helped generations of dancers into stage careers‘:

Jill Tookey


No other individual in the history of dance in this country has done more for young people, hopeful of careers in  dance and musical theatre, than Jill Tookey.
(David Bintley, Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet)

Jill encouraged individuals to fly. To be themselves in the most powerful way possible; with pride. Thank you Jill for that lesson.
(Jessica Allen, NYB Alumnus)

Click to read tributes to Jill in the Sevenoaks Chronicle

 If you wish to make a donation, the family would appreciate a donation to research into the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer via


NYB appoints new Artistic Director

The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Artistic Director, Mikah Smillie. Following the passing of the company’s Founding Director, Jill Tookey, in March this year, Mikah was appointed Artistic Director in Residence and led the 2016 Season including a sell-out Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells in September. Mikah now joins National Youth Ballet on a permanent basis and will lead the company into its 30th Anniversary year in 2017.


Following a 20 year dancing career Mikah retired from performing and in 2014 she was selected to take part in the Dance UK Mentorship Programme 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 and  has had vast experience working with a mixture of both professional dancers and creative young people in major arena events , film and television.

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 choreographers. She was appointed as Artistic Director in Residence in 2016, having been taken under the directorial wing of the late Jill Tookey in previous Seasons.

Anna Meadmore and Jonathan Payn have also been appointed as Trustees on the Board of National Youth Ballet.

Anna Meadmore has a long association with The Royal Ballet School, having graduated from their Teachers’ Training Course in 1990. After teaching there for many years, Anna went on to become the school’s Head of Academic Dance Studies, and is now the Archivist and teacher of History of Ballet. Anna has been associated with National Youth Ballet since 1991, first as a teacher and choreographer and then as a Patron. Anna was the founding teacher of the National Youth Ballet Workshops in Schools programme, and in 2011 succeeded the late Frank Freeman as adjudicator of the National Youth Ballet annual Choreography Competition.

Jonathan Payn has been associated with National Youth Ballet from the age of 12 when he was first a member of the Company. Jonathan has also choreographed four ballets for the company over the last 10 years. Jonathan is a graduate of the Royal Ballet School and is currently a First Soloist for Birmingham Royal Ballet where he has been a company member since 1993.


BBC Young Dancer of The Year

BBC Young Dancer of The Year will be announcing their finalists soon .

Following their success in BBC Young Dancer 2015, NYB Alumni Archie Sullivan and Paris Fitzpatrick have both gone on to secure  places with Northern Ballet. NYB currently has three Alumni in the company.







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