‘Important victory’ on legal costs hailed by groups
THE FIRST Briton to be a principal dancer at Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet says it is a “great honour” to be back in his Yorkshire home city tomorrow for a gala performance marking the reopening of Hull’s New Theatre after a £16m upgrade.
An audience of 1,200 people – and 5,000 in Queens Gardens – will watch the special performance presented by The Royal Ballet, featuring some of the world’s finest dancers, a surprising number of whom are from Hull.
Tickets for the show, a highlight of the City of Culture year which include excerpts from
and have been like gold dust after flying out of the door in under an hour.
Those lucky enough to get a seat will see Xander Parish, from North Ferriby, who was talentscouted for the St Petersburg company seven years ago, perform along with younger sister Demelza Parish, a first artist of The Royal Ballet.
Both trained at the city’s Skelton Hooper dance school, along with Royal Ballet soloist Elizabeth Harrod and Joseph Caley, a principal at English National Ballet.
The performance – the first by The Royal Ballet in Hull for 30 years – will be curated by its director Kevin O’Hare, who also trained in Hull,
Mr Parish, 31, who started dancing aged eight after becoming “incensed” at seeing his sister on stage in a show at Skelton Hooper “while I was down below”, told he would love to bring the Russian company to Hull.
“Usually we only perform in London. We need a very large theatre because our scenery is enormous.
“Maybe now there is some more backstage space, hopefully one day, even if it is too small for we could bring a smaller programme.
“It is a dream of mine to bring the Russians to Hull.”
He added: “It’s a massive honour. It is really special not just for me, but Mum and Dad, and dancing with my sister in the same performance, which is the first since leaving The Royal Ballet.”
Vanessa Hooper, whose mother Vera Skelton founded Skelton Hooper after the Second World War, hopes tonight’s performance in the upgraded theatre marks a turning point which will see major dance companies beating a path to Hull.
She said: “Northern is coming with Ballet
– they used to come every year. Scottish Ballet hasn’t been for decades.
“There’s a huge demand for dance and it is not being embraced at all. People do want culture – they don’t want just rugby and football.”
Her dancers will be performing a 10-minute piece in the gala which she has choreographed called
She said: “It’s a tall order to ask the children to attend after school, to compete with The Royal Ballet. We are trying to do something that will stand up on its own and not look like poor relations. They have definitely risen to the challenge, and are brimming with excitement.”
Hull Council spent £11m on making the theatre a “world-class venue”, with £5m from the Arts Council.
Tonight’s performance of heralds the start of a top-class autumn season including National Theatre productions of Charlotte Bronte’s and and the Opera North residency
Council leader Steve Brady said the city was already reaping its investment in cultural venues, with record numbers of visitors.
He hopes work on the theatre proves a “catalyst to ensuring it is in the best possible position to cement its reputation as one of the best receiving theatres in the UK.” CONSERVATION AND environmental groups have claimed an “important victory” in their High Court challenge to new legal costs rules which they say make it much harder to bring cases to protect the environment.
In February, the Government scrapped fixed cost caps that limited how much people and charities had to pay if they lost a case against a public body. The RSPB, Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth argued the new rules threatened to have a “chilling effect” on litigation and failed to provide people with early certainty of their court costs.
Mr Justice Dove, sitting in London, said their case was “successful in part”, but a further hearing would be necessary to decide “what relief should flow” from his judgment and what orders he should make.
The groups welcomed the ruling, saying the judgment told the Government its new rules for environmental legal cases must be changed to protect environmental claimants.
A group spokesman said on Friday: “Today’s verdict is an important victory in the battle for better access to justice in England and Wales. Now, the rules favour people and charities who want to hold the government to account – not the other way round.
“Everybody has the right to environmental justice – and we will keep the pressure up until that right is realised.”
The spokesman said another victory was represented by the judge’s ruling that claimants would no longer have to reveal their private financial details in open court. He said: “Any hearing about costs protection limits will now take place in private. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) must change its rules to include this, so that they are lawful.”
The ruling appears to have pleased both sides, with the MoJ believing the judgment supports the Government stance, its lawyers having won on two of the three grounds of the challenge brought against Justice Secretary David Lidington.
An MoJ spokesman said: “We are pleased that the High Court supports our approach to environmental costs protection.”