Rehearsals | The Royal Opera HouseFirstly a very big thank you to EVERYONE who helped us to build our very first regional World Hunger Day event in Ipswich on September 11th in aid of The Hunger Project. View Gala Photos

It really was an amazing success and would not have been possible without the considerable financial support of Lord Archer, Lord Ashcroft, Angela Bernstein, Cynthia Brown, Andrew Cracknell, Simon Robey and Lord Stevenson and the support of many hundreds of volunteers

We would also like to thank Dame Monica Mason DBE, OBE, Director of The Royal Ballet and Wayne Eagling, Artistic Director of English National Ballet for giving their kind permission for the dancers to perform and to all the choreographers and their estates who so generously donated their work.

We have done our best to sum up the proceedings below.

After a 50 year absence, dancers from The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet returned to Ipswich to perform two historic and truly spectacular shows at The Ipswich Regent Theatre this month which raised £50,000 for The Hunger Project and our work in Africa, South Asia and Latin America to end Hunger and Poverty.

In addition to donations made by 100 talented young dancers from the local community, who attended Dance Workshops led by The Royal Ballet’s David Pickering there was an incredible display of local government and community grassroots support. 

Over 200 local volunteers stepped up with the main event which also included 60 local performers taking to the stage from The Linda Shipton School of Dance, The Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society, The Gallery Players, Appeal Theatre Group and The Co-Op Juniors Theatre Company.  

Angela Rippon dances with Gary AvisHunger Project UK Patrons Gary Avis and Angela Rippon OBE led the event on stage supported by our Patron Judith Batchelar behind the scenes.

The show was produced by THP Volunteer Ambassador Bryony Wells who worked night and day on the project for 3 months.

We owe Gary, Angela, Judith and Bryony an enormous debt of thanks.

Entitled The Royal Ballet’s Gary Avis & Friends, the event was supported by stunning performances from Jumoké Fashola and Steven McRae from our Dionne Warwick and Friends event in January of this year and a host of international stars from the ballet world. 

Star performers included Roberta Marquez, Nehemiah Kish, Begona Cao, Yuhui Choe, Melissa Hamilton, Paul Kay, Ryoichi Hirano, Liam Scarlett, Leanne Cope and Yasmine Naghdi. – View biographies and thanks

They were supported by The Royal Opera Baritone Nigel Cliffe, Royal Ballet pianist Kate Shipway, Jazz Pianist Peter Edwards and members of The Royal Ballet’s backstage stage crew and wardrobe teams with lighting designs by ENB’s David Richardson.

The Royal Ballet's Gary Avis Gala

The show attracted an audience of over 2,600 people who gave very warm standing ovations at both performances.

Gary Avis says..‘I was stunned and amazed to see this project coming together, we all knew the potential from the incredible launch event with Dionne Warwick & Friends in London earlier this year, but having 2,600 people from my local community supporting The Hunger Project and giving us all a standing ovations at both shows is something I will never forget.

I was incredibly touched by the generosity of the people of my home town, especially in the current tough economic climate, and to have raised £50,000 from the event for THP is nothing short of miraculous. I would like to thanks all my friends for stepping up to perform alongside me and send my heartfelt best wishes and thanks to all my friends from London, across the UK, most especially from Ipswich. 

The Gary Avis & Friends ChoirMost particularly I would like to thank THP Patron and Volunteer Judith Batchelar and the incredible Bryony Wells for coming together to make this all happen. I really hope that everyone enjoyed being a part of it and I look forward to the next time we do this!?! Gary Avis & Friends two perhaps?’’

Tim Holder, Country Director for The Hunger Project says..‘as an Ipswich born lad myself, I think we all felt that creating this event was a wonderful opportunity, but I’m not quite sure we anticipated quite how enormous and positive the response would be.

I would like to thank all at Ipswich Borough Council , The Ipswich Regent and so many friends old and new for coming together with so much passion and energy to make this happen.

Jumoke Fashola sings at The Royal Ballet's Gary Avis GalaI hope that support will continue within the community for The Hunger Project and the future projects we hope to create in the town. A big thank you to everyone.’

Glenn Halliday, Chair of The Board of Trustees for THP UK says..‘I have no doubt in the incredible commitment and talent of our team of two part-time staff at THP UK, they never cease to amaze us with their creativity, incredible commitment, resourcefulness and vision.

However, in true THP tradition, our work can only really happen with the support of volunteers and supportive sponsors and businesses. Once again, we have been overwhelmed by the support we have received.

Please take an opportunity to read the names of all who made this event come to life….and on behalf of THP UK, many thanks to Gary Avis and all those who gave truly breathtaking performances in Suffolk a few days ago in support of The Hunger Project.’

The next World Hunger Day project to be created by The Hunger Project UK is its most ambitious yet and will be led once again by the legendary Dionne Warwick supported by an all star international cast at The Royal Albert Hall on May 28th, 2012. Please sign up to receive our newsletter for more details. 

Special thanks to Roger at BMS Imaging and Andrej Uspenski for kindly donating their time and talent as official photographers for this event.

If you didn’t make it but would like a copy of the spectacular programme designed by BrandMe (a must for the coffee table!) you can secure a copy (minimum donation of £15.00) – get in touch with for more details.