Gary has launched his fundraising page on JustGiving – dig deep!

I’ve been invited to write a blog entry for The Hunger Project website, my first official THP blog entry ever, see what you think?

Firstly, I would like to say how proud I am to be a Patron of this wonderful global NGO and I would encourage you to take some time to explore this website and find out why so many people around the world are supporting our work in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

It is all about empowering rural communities at grassroots level to take positive actions to end their own hunger and poverty. Inspiring…yes, does it work…yes….should you get involved….of course!!

Take a look and decide to take a positive step of your own to support them. There are one billion people on the planet that exist on about 80p a day who would be very glad of your partnership to assist them in improving their own situation and that of the communities in which they live.

Currently my main focus to raise awareness and contribute to the fundraising effort is a special gala which I am holding in partnership with THP UK in Ipswich on September 11th, 2011.

My fellow THP UK Patron’s Judith Batchelar and Angela Rippon OBE (who has kindly agreed to host the event) are also closely involved. Also in the team, Bryony Wells (a friend from many years ago and now a THP Ambassador) who is producing the event and a wonderful support crew from The Royal Ballet (RB) Wardrobe, Stage Management, English National Ballet’s lighting supremo David Richardson and the brilliant team at The Ipswich Regent Theatre who are all stepping up to make this an incredible evening of dance and song.  Also, we must not forget all our wonderful friends in Ipswich who are already stepping up to help with publicity, marketing, performing and so much more. Everyone has been working very hard on this for several months now and I am so grateful to everyone.

World Hunger Day LogoWe are all so much enjoying making this happen for The Hunger Project and supporting THP UK’s creation and growth of the World Hunger Day initiative. 

These very special performances at The Regent Theatre at 1.30pm and 6.30pm on September 11th will also mark the return of The Royal Ballet to this theatre for the first time in nearly 50 years and will provide me with the opportunity to dance for my own grass roots community in Suffolk for the first time in my 22 year career. No pressure!!!

The Hunger Project have asked me to tell you more about what we will be performing on the night to encourage you to join the 1,500 people who have already booked tickets for the event (hurray, a great start) – which we hope will raise at least £50K for THP!! > Join the event on Facebook

Well, first of all, this is a celebratory event suitable for all the family. We believe that it will be the largest  gala of classical dance to be held by dancers from The Royal Ballet outside London in over a decade, but it is also a diverse evening of dance and song for everyone and every ‘pocket’ to enjoy. Tickets are priced from only £10 with special discounted rates for families (from £69) and young peoples groups. I’d love to see whole families, groups of friends, young and older, all coming together to enjoy the show and make a positive difference in the world. 

On to the show….

Well we have a remarkable international cast of many of the world’s finest dancers all ready to perform for you.

Gary Avis and Friends | 11th September 2011I’m delighted that from Australia we have Royal Ballet Principal Steven McRae performing with Brazilian Royal Ballet Principal Roberta Marquez. They will be dancing duets from Sir Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody and Don Quixote. Steven will also be reviving his incredible tap routine that wowed us all in January when he took to the stage with Dionne Warwick and Friends.

Then there is the beautiful Korean RB Dancer, Yuhui Choe performing the famous Black Swan pdd’s from Swan Lake and The Ballroom pdd from Cinderella with Canadian Royal Ballet Principal Nehemiah Kish. Two of the most iconic moments in the history of ballet.

English National Ballet Principal Begoña Cao will be dancing Christopher Wheeldon’s Pavane with me and will also be dancing the Manon bedroom pdd with Lancashire born RB Dancer Bennet Gartside.

Add to this Northern Ireland’s Melissa Hamilton, who will be dancing two roles with me from Christopher Wheeldon’s award winning DGV and Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s Elite Syncopations.

Gary Avis with Darcey Bussell & Katherine JenkinsItalian, RB Principal Mara Galeazzi will be dancing with me to a piece by Brahms (choreographed by Alastair Marriott) and will also be performing a solo. Leanne Cope and Paul Kay will be dancing Ashton’s Two Pigeons. Liam Scarlett will be performing  a solo piece by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director David Bintley and (in a special dream come true moment for me) Angela and I are going to perform a musical number together too. So that gives you some idea about the dancing side of the evening….but there is more!!

and now for the singing….Jazz vocalist Jumoké Fashola (a regular at Ronnie Scott’s who also performed amazingly with Dionne & Friends) will be singing the blues, The Royal Opera’s Nigel Cliffe will be singing Brahms Lieder accompanied by RB pianist Kate Shipway) and we have a mass choir of 40 of my friends from Ipswich Musical Societies; The Gallery Players, Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society, The Co-op Juniors Theatre Company and The Appeal Theatre Group who will be singing a special piece by New York’s finest musical composer Stephen Sondheim and……last but no means least….we have 20 dancers from The Linda Shipton School of Dance who will be opening the show for us and joining The Royal Ballet for a very special finale!!

In short, we have a great show planned,  all you have to do is purchase a ticket, come and see the show, find out more about The Hunger Project and, we hope, decide to support THP going forward to our next concert event which will take place on World Hunger Day in London on May 28th, 2012. Keep the date free,  you won’t want to miss it.  

I really hope to see you all in Ipswich on September 11th!!

Tickets for The Royal Ballet’s Gary Avis & Friends can be purchased online or by telephone from the box office on 01473 433100

If you cannot attend the event you can still support this project  by making a donation

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