Robert Helpmann book launch
On Wednesday 17 October, The Royal Ballet School hosted the book launch of a new Dance Books publication, Robert Helpmann: the Many Faces of a Theatrical Dynamo, edited by Richard Allen Cave and Anna Meadmore.
Robert Helpmann (1909-1986) was a multi-talented Australian dancer, actor, choreographer and director of ballets, operas, dramas, pantomimes, musicals and comedies.
He started his ballet career as Ninette de Valois’ (Royal Ballet School Founder) protégé at the Vic-Wells Ballet, and became Premier Danseur with the Company, then Guest Artist with The Royal Ballet, and finally Director of The Australian Ballet.
Richard Allen Cave, Professor Emeritus in Drama and Theatre Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Anna Meadmore, Manager of Special Collections at The Royal Ballet School, have collated a range of new essays about Helpmann. They include reminiscences by his colleagues, and over 70 rare photographs, to create the book and accompanying DVD, with some items featuring students of the School.
The book launch began with a talk from Richard and Anna and was followed by the premiere of a documentary film by Michael Byrne, which is included on the book’s DVD. The film records David Drew’s project to recreate Helpmann’s 1944 dramatic ballet, Miracle in the Gorbals and features Dame Gillian Lynne, Pauline Clayden, Julia Farron, Jean Bedells and Henry Danton.
The evening was attended by more than 80 people, including Dame Monica Mason, Lord and Lady Sainsbury, choreographer Andrew McNicol (whose work features on the DVD), and Karen Sellik, daughter of the renowned ballet composer, Sir Arthur Bliss, with whom both de Valois and Helpmann collaborated. Copies of the book are available to purchase at the cover price of £20 using the link below.