‘Im­por­tant vic­tory’ on le­gal costs hailed by groups

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

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.”

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