UK-based ballet company Ballet Queer to create new works representing authentic queer identities and experiences

[London, September 19th 2023] – the first ballet company of its kind in the UK, Ballet Queer will be led by Artistic Director and Founder, Jonathan Watkins, and shaped by the freelance collaborators and artists from across the LGBTQ+ community.

Ballet Queer’s mission is to question and explore how ballet can work with gender expressions and queer identities of today. It will also open a creative dialogue between ballet’s queer history and its queer future through contemporary choreography, performance and artistry.

Jonathan Watkins, Artistic Director and Founder, said ‘I am really proud to be launching Ballet Queer into the world. I am passionate about exploring queer identities and stories with diverse and talented artists and creatives. Our experiences, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, are incredibly important and I believe will engage with all audiences. Ballet Queer will be shaped and guided by these collaborations to produce authentic, thought-provoking and much-needed new work’.

Ballet Queer is based in London, UK with plans to share its work across the U.K. 

Exploring Queer Identity

A research project using movement and storytelling to explore representations of queer identity. Supported by The Genesis Foundation. The project is currently in development

Kes Reimagined released with Opus Arte


Kes Reimagined released on DVD and Blu-Ray with Opus Arte. They are the leading distributors of Opera, Ballet, Theatre and music performance with the film available to buy worldwide

Clore Fellowship 2021


Jonathan has been selected for a Dance Fellowship as part of the Clore Fellowship Artistic Leadership Programme joining a dynamic and diverse cohort of 20 others from all areas of the arts.  Click Read More for Press Release.

Kes Reimagined at La FIFA 2021


Kes Reimagined officially selected for the 39th International Festival of Films on Arts 2021. Online festival from 16th March to 28th. Click Read More Above for Info.

Kes Reimagined streams on YouTube from May 19th


Kes Reimagined will be streamed on YouTube from 7pm (BST) May 19th and then for 30 Days. Click Read More to go to the link.

Kes Reimagined on BBC Four and iPlayer


Kes Reimagined is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for 30 days. Click ‘Read more’ to watch. After the film premiered at the Leeds International Film Festival on November 7th and it’s Broadcast on BBC Four on November 19th.


KES Reimagined


Jonathan reimagines ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines as a new dance film for the screen. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of KES a film by Ken Loach in November 2019. The film made in collaboration with Director for camera Ross MacGibbon and The Space will premiere on 7th November at Leeds International Film Festival followed by s screenings at Sheffield Showrooms 8th Nov, Square Arts-Halifax on 9th Nov and The Tyneside- Newcastle on 10th Nov. See the trailer by clicking ‘Read More’

KES Reimagined


Reasons To Stay Alive Premiere and UK Tour


Reason To Stay Alive opens with a sold out run at Sheffield Theatres and goes on a UK Tour with English Touring Theatre. #ReasonsPlay

Twitter Design

‘DARL’ a new solo for Lauren Cuthbertson


Jonathan creates a personal and intimate solo for Lauren Cuthbertson’s curated evening at The Joyce Theatre, New York with 3 performances on 10/11th August 2019. Music is by Hannah Peel After Ravel and is part of a full evening of new works.

Reasons To Stay Alive


Jonathan imagines Matt Haig’s accessible and inspiring book for the stage with text by April De Angelis. He directs this new play that deals with Matt’s struggle with depression through words, movement and music and is a Co-production with Sheffield Theatres and English Touring Theatre. World Premiere in September 2019 at Sheffield Studio Theatre followed by a UK Tour including Bristol Old Vic, LBT Huddersfield, Northern Stage, HOME Manchester, Theatre Royal York and Leeds Playhouse. #ReasonsPlay


1984 OUT NOW on DVD/Blu-Ray by Opus Arte


Jonathans’ Award-winning adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 with Northern Ballet is now available on DVD and Blu-ray by Opus Arte. Buy on Amazon

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 12.09.33


Reviews for ‘Road’ at Royal Court Theatre

Jonathan is Movement Director on the 30th anniversary revival of Jim Cartwright’s ‘Road’ at Royal Court Theatre. Working with Director John Tiffany and a stella cast it opened on July 29th to rave reviews and runs until September 9th.


‘Things move quickly in John Tiffany’s kinetic production- inestimably aided by Jonathan Watkins’ movement direction’ -Sunday Times (see Press page for further reviews)

Jonathan wins ‘Best Classical Choreography’ for 1984 at National Dance Awards


Jonathan was thrilled to receive the award for ‘Best Classical Choreography’ at The National Dance Awards Critic Circle for his adaptation of Orwell’s ‘1984’. The work which he created for Northern Ballet was honoured in a ceremony that took place on 6th Feb, 2016 at Sadler’s Wells and honoured both classical and modern dance created between 1st September 2015 and August 2016.

1984 hosted on WeTransfer


1984 is now available to stream on WeTransfer website for a limited time.

1984 wins South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance


Jonathan’s production of 1984 for Northern Ballet has won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance. Announced at the Award ceremony held at The Savoy, London on June 5th which will be broadcast June 8th at 8pm on Sky Arts.

International streaming of 1984 via BBC ARTS Online


BBC Arts Online and The Space have made the full production of 1984 a ballet by Jonathan Watkins available to stream internationally for the next two months. After being broadcast on BBC Four in February and the live UK Tour now being over, the opportunity to watch Northern Ballet’s incredible dance actors perform Jonathan’s adaptation of this iconic novel is accessible to all.

1984 Nominated for South Bank Sky Arts Award


‘1984’ has been nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award 2016. The production that Jonathan created for Northern Ballet had its world premiere last September and has been nominated in the dance category. The prestigious awards focus on the arts in their entirety and the ceremony will be shown on Sky Arts on 8th June.

1984 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London

24-28th May


Jonathan’s adaptation of 1984 for Northern Ballet has it’s London Premiere at Sadler’s Wells Theatre from 24th May until 28th May, 2016. Tickets available via the Link

Bradford Literature Festival


Jonathan joins the discussion ‘How The Future Looked From The Past’ as part of The Bradford Literature Festival on May 22nd 2016 at 1pm.

1984 on BBC iPlayer


See ‘1984’ a Ballet by Jonathan Watkins and created for Northern Ballet on BBC iPlayer for the next month. Captured by The Space and BBC Arts at The Manchester Palace Theatre, Jonathan’s adaptation of Orwell’s modern classic is available to stream on BBC iPlayer until March 28th, 2016.

1984 on BBC Four

Sunday 28th Feb at 19.30


Jonathan’s adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece is to be shown on BBC Four. The production created for Northern Ballet and filmed at The Palace Theatre, Manchester will be broadcast on Sunday, February 28th at 19.30 on BBC Four. It will be then available for 30 days after the transmission on BBC iPlayer.


1984 Nominated for The Manchester Theatre Awards


Jonathan’s adaptation of 1984 for Northern Ballet has been nominated for Dance at The Manchester Theatre Awards. Winners to be announced on March 4th at Manchester’s new HOME venue.

1984 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London May 2016

24th-28th May


Tickets now on sale for 1984 A ballet by Jonathan Watkins at Sadler’s Wells, London. The critically acclaimed Northern Ballet production has its London Premiere May 24th-28th, 2016


1984 with Northern Ballet


Tour dates and tickets now on sale for Jonathan’s adaptation of Orwell’s Modern classic 1984 with Northern Ballet. Premiering 5th September, 2015 at West Yorkshire Playhouse before a UK tour and performances at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in May, 2016.

CRASH for Texas Ballet Theater


CRASH will premiere at The Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth-Texas on May 29th


2 New Works, 2 Different Galas


Jonathan will be creating two new works to premiere at two different Gala performances in March 2015. The first taking place at The Leeds Grand Theatre and in celebration of 45 years of Northern Ballet on March 14th, 2015. The second as part of an inaugural Gala performance in support of the Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund to take place at Sadlers Wells Theatre on March 22nd, 2015. He will be bringing together The Hackney Colliery Band live on stage in collaboration with dancers from The Royal Ballet.

World Premiere of 1984 for Northern Ballet



Jonathan is excited to announce he will be creating a new full length adaptation of George Orwell’s modern classic 1984 with Northern Ballet. The World Premiere will take place at The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds in September 2015 before a major UK tour throughout Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016.

World Premiere for Texas Ballet Theater 14/15 Season

May 2015


Jonathan will create a new work for Texas Ballet Theater’s 14/15 season premiering at The Bass Performance Hall Fort Worth, Texas in May 2015. With a new score by Texas native Ryan Cockerham, Designs by Kari Perkins and Lighting Design by Tony Tucci.

World Premiere for Ballet Manila, Philippines

October 2014


Jonathan will premiere his new work Present Process for Ballet Manila, Philippines in October 2014 at The Aliw Theatre

KES at The Yorkshire Festival


Jonathan’s dance adaptation of KES at The Sheffield Crucible will be headlining the Yorkshire Festival 2014



Jonathan is happy to announce his dance theatre re-imagining of the modern classic ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines. The world premiere will take place at The Sheffield Crucible Theatre from 27th March- Sat 5th April, 2014 . With new music by Alex Baranowski, Design by Ben Stones, Puppetry Design and Direction by Rachael Canning, Lighting by Mark Henderson and Sound Design by Nick Greenhill.



Jonathan will be creating the movement for Coriolanus which will run from 6th December- 11th February at The Donmar Warehouse and will be screened live to cinemas across the world on 30th January as part of NT Live


From 6th Sep


After its premiere at The Manchester International Festival in July The Machine with Choreography by Jonathan is performed at The Park Avenue Armory


From 4th Sep


People goes on a UK tour starting off at the newly renovated Birmingham Rep Theatre