Harry Haythorne MBE, 1926 – 2014
Harry was the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 1981 – 1992. Before his death, he made a generous donation to the Foundation. Upon his death in November 2014, in lieu of flowers, and in accordance with his wishes, his executors asked for donations in his memory to be made to The Ballet Foundation of New Zealand.
In 2015, The Ballet Foundation decided, in partnership with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, to support a choreographic season in his name and held the inaugural Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award. The Trustees hope that, subject to continued funding, this will become an annual event.
Last year we were pleased to announce Loughlan Prior as winner of the inaugural award for his work Eve. The second annual Harry Haythorne Award was offered in November 2016; Shaun James Kelly won the Judges’ Award for his work Blanc, while Laura Saxon Jones won an Audience Award for her work Alpha. Full details of the 2016 Awards can be found here.
If you would like to make a donation to this fund, please download this form.
A full-time professional entertainer from the age of 14, Harry’s career took him from Australia to London in 1949. He performed, or acted as Ballet Master, for some of Europe’s finest companies and directors, before being appointed as Assistant Artistic Director for Scottish Ballet. He was Artistic Director for Queensland Ballet 1976-79 before moving to New Zealand.
Under his artistic leadership the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s repertoire expanded to include many new commissions and existing works from New Zealand and international choreographers, including Duo Concertante, String Concerto, Orpheus, The Firebird, The Rake’s Progress, Wolfgang Amadeus, Hamlet and A Servant of Two Masters. As he himself said in The Royal New Zealand Ballet at 60, ‘… our aim was always to bring The World of Dance to New Zealand and take New Zealand Dance to the World.’
Harry made a wonderful contribution to the RNZB and to the performing arts in New Zealand. Under his leadership the company reached many milestones, including its first full-length production of Swan Lake, the staging of a Royal Gala in 1981 and 30th anniversary celebrations in 1983, the award of its Royal Charter in 1984, and its first tour to China.
He remained in frequent contact with the RNZB throughout his life. Despite his increasing frailty, he made the journey to Wellington to celebrate the company’s 60th birthday in July 2013, and to take a final curtain call with the dancers onstage. He was a loving and generous friend to the RNZB, often describing his years in New Zealand as ‘the happiest time of his life’. He will be deeply missed.