Northampton boys dance at Royal Albert Hall in debate for future of arts in schools

The boys from NSB meet with HRH Prince Charles.
The boys from NSB meet with HRH Prince Charles.

A troupe of seven boys from a Northampton school danced for a packed reception of actors, artists and ministers at the Royal Albert Hall last week.

The Y11 dancers from Northampton School for Boys got to meet with the Prince of Wales, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lenny Henry at a debate of the state of arts in education on September 5.

NSB and Sir Lenny Henry.

NSB and Sir Lenny Henry.

The conference by national charity Children & The Arts was held to discuss the place of arts and performance subjects in schools.

Year 11 student Jacob Benhayoun even delivered a speech to the whole delegation about how the arts made an impact on his life and why children should have access to creative subjects.

Former BBC arts correspondent and chief executive of Children & The Arts Rosie Millard said: "This conference is the next stage in a campaign to increase awareness and stop the general slide of arts and creativity in schools for children and young people."

The boys got to meet with attendees including HRH Prince Charles, Baron Lloyd-Webber, Sir Lenny Henry, Benedict Cumberbatch CBE and Zoe Wanamaker CBE.

The boys pose for a picture with Benedict Cumberbatch CBE.

The boys pose for a picture with Benedict Cumberbatch CBE.

The dancers from Northampton School for Boys performed "To Jimmy" to the guests at the reception, making them one of only two groups from schools to perform at the Royal Albert Hall gathering. All of the dancers studied GCSE Dance and are now entering Year 12 and will study A Level Dance.

Headteacher Richard Bernard: "I am delighted that Northampton School for Boys has been recognised for its outstanding provision in the expressive arts and therefore invited to be a key part of the national Children & the Arts event at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I was hugely proud of Year 11 student Jacob Benhayoun for his powerful and inspirational speech about the importance of the arts in his education to such an esteemed audience, and of our Year 11 Dance team who literally raised the iconic roof with the ovation given for the piece that they performed at the reception.”

Speaking at the event, Prince Charles recalled the joy of being taken to the ballet by his grandmother, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. He added: “I know so many actors and musicians are (where they are now) because they’ve had either a grandmother or a grandfather or a teacher who inspired them to take an interest, and as a result we have a fantastic reputation as a country through our creative industries.”

Y11 Jacob Benhayoun at a roundtable discussion with heads of the arts industry, including Andrew Lloyd Webber and HRH Prince Charles.

Y11 Jacob Benhayoun at a roundtable discussion with heads of the arts industry, including Andrew Lloyd Webber and HRH Prince Charles.