Drew McOnie and Ruth Brill Appointed as Interim Artistic Directors of National Youth Ballet as Mikah Smillie Steps Down

Mikah Smillie
Mikah Smillie

It is announced today that Mikah Smillie will step down as Artistic Director of National Youth Ballet this month after three years leading the Company. Mikah was appointed in 2016 following the passing of Founding Director Jill Tookey, and has programmed three highly successful seasons that have continued to build upon the legacy of empowering young people and emerging professional artists. Mikah has a longstanding association with National Youth Ballet spanning over 11 years, and under her artistic leadership the Company

Mikah Smillie said: “I feel hugely privileged to have led this extraordinary company of young creative talent. I’m proud of all we have achieved together and look forward to seeing the company’s unique artistic vision fly in the many years to come.”

The trustees of National Youth Ballet said: “We have been incredibly fortunate to have Mikah Smillie at the helm as Artistic Director.  Mikah worked with our founder Jill and embodies the passion, and commitment to quality and excellence that National Youth Ballet is famous for. She has led the organisation through a challenging period of transition, put firm foundations in place for its future development, and departs with our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for her massive contribution to our success. Mikah will be much missed by the staff team, the Company at large and all the young people she has inspired and whose talents she has nurtured, and she will always remain part of the “NYB” family.

Looking ahead, we are thrilled to have assembled a fantastic and very much ‘homegrown’ artistic team to lead this year’s programme, who embody NYB’s values and whose careers have benefitted from development opportunities offered by the Company.”

The 2019 Season will be overseen by an interim artistic team led by Drew McOnie and Ruth Brill, both National Youth Ballet alumni with a longstanding association with the Company.

Beyond the 2019 Season, National Youth Ballet are now seeking to recruit a new Artistic Director to work alongside the Executive Director to deliver the Company’s next chapter – furthering the mission to empower young people and emerging professional artists to create the ballet of the future, and to give dance a strong and diverse voice. Details on the application process can be found at www.nationalyouthballet.org.

Now in its 32nd year, National Youth Ballet provides empowering and transformational opportunities for young people to participate in, create and perform ballet. At the heart of its annual season is a two-week residential programme that sees the young company come together with a team of professional dancers, choreographers and teachers to take them on a journey from studio to stage, emulating the experience of being in a professional dance company.

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