Ballet Under The Stars’ Matt Brady | Random 19

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Matt Brady, creator of Ballet Under The Stars at Hatch House as Director of The Covent Garden Dance Company is celebrating the event’s return this summer, after a three year absence.
Matt Brady, creator of Ballet Under The Stars at Hatch House as Director of The Covent Garden Dance Company answers 19 random questions

On 22nd, 23rd and 24th July audiences in the beautiful 17th century walled Dutch garden venue just
north of Shaftesbury can enjoy an incredible line-up of dancers – many of them Principal dancers from
companies including the National Ballet of Ukraine, The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Paris Opera
Ballet and Staatsballett Berlin. Xander Parish returns to the Hatch theatre this year dancing with his wife,
Anastasia Demidova.

1. What’s your relationship with the Blackmore Vale (the loose North Dorset area, not us!)?

I have lived in the area for nearly 40 years on and off, it’s very much my base and where my parents settled so it’s really home. One of my enduring memories of the Blackmore Vale was in my early twenties, I used to exercise horses for a Point to Point stables owned by the trainer John Duffossy. John used to have a copy of a magazine rolled up and would clip me round the ear with it every time I turned up late to ride – which was quite often! It didn’t make me arrive any earlier so he was always waiting for me.
As a child I would spend much of the holidays fishing on the Stour for pike. Long days of walking river banks
and desperately trying to catch the monster pike! A lot of time was also spent riding in the Stourhead woods on the badly behaved ponies of many friends, being thrown off frequently and having to walk home.

2. What was the last song you sang out loud in your car?

That’s a tough one! I’m not really sure … but I have a vague recollection of singing Zero by Imagine Dragons VERY loudly with my stepson Jack not so long ago and the dog hiding his head under the blankets in the
Land Rover.

3. Who is your celebrity crush?

It’s a secret … In case they are reading this or if I meet them!! (if I had to say then the genius that is Jodie Comer is wonderful …but so is Scarlett Johansson … both so talented and brilliant!)

Ballet Under The Stars Matt Brady at his opening night speech

4. It’s Friday night – you have the house to yourself, and no work is allowed. What are you going to do?

Hahahahaha … That is between a man and his four walls. But realistically …probably something really boring like DIY… I have a passion for restoring and making things. I recently built a cabin on the lake. Very proud of that. Love staying in it when it is not rented out. (see it on Insta @the_Bruton_BoatHouse 😉 )

5. What was the last movie you watched? Would you recommend it?

I actually had time to watch two movies one Sunday night recently; ‘The Gentleman’ by Guy Ritchie – one of my fave directors – followed by ‘A Good Year’ by Ridley Scott. Love this movie, I’ve seen it so many times but it re-ignites my love or France and living there, the crackling heat, the effortless shabby chic. I lived in France for three years in my late teens and early twenties, it was one of the happiest times of my life.

6. What is your comfort meal?

Mac ‘n Cheese, I make a really delicious one, it’s an old recipe and I love it.
I do have a second choice – Heinz Ravioli on toast …with grated parmesan on top.

7. What would you like to tell 15yr old you?

STOP WORRYING ABOUT EVERYTHING!
Oh… and finish your studies!

8. The best crisps flavour?

I love a Pringle. But also love prawn cocktail Walkers… Difficult to choose. Actually, Quavers also have a
strong place in my life.

9. And the best biscuit for dunking?

This is random, but probably a Fig Roll? Does that count? Or is it a roll excluded?
VIP Choccie Hobnob, if so.

10. What shop can you not pass without going in?

A great old fashioned fishing tackle shop. I spent so much of my childhood on rivers and lakes in the shire, fishing and walking. There were some really wonderful old school tackle shops when I was a kid round here. They were always filled with amazing curiosities and inventions, spinning lures and hand-tied flies … It was what I spent my pocket money on. There was always something new to buy to try and catch that legendary monster pike that lurked in the deep pool beneath the weir on the Stour!

11. What book did you read last year that stayed with you? What made you love it?

I re-read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin … It is one of those books.
My father gave it to me years ago and said you must read. I then gave it back to him when the was fighting the Big C (a battle he lost in 2016) … It gave him great joy again and always gives me great joy.
And yes, (spoiler alert) I cry like a baby when Carlo dies.

12. Cats or dogs?

My amazing dog Panda, who’s three, is staring at me right now, so what can I say? Tibetan terriers are great at sulking, so my hands are tied. He’s always there for me and always happy to see me.

Covent Garden Dance Co's Matt brady, founder of Ballet Under The Stars

13. What was the last gift you gave someone?

Flowers to my amazing mum. She is going through a really tough time at the moment fighting bone cancer. She is just amazing.

14. What’s your most annoying trait?

All of them? The most annoying is maybe driving my PR mad by always having a million things happening all at the same time. And usually she is on the phone having to listen to me do them! (she is long suffering!)

15. Tell us about one of the best evenings you’ve ever had?

Honestly? The Tenth Anniversary celebrations of Ballet Under The Stars at Hatch House in July 2019. It sounds self-serving but after 10 years of struggle to keep the dream alive, it all came together in such a spectacular way that made everything worthwhile. The whole team felt it. We were already sold out for 2020 just months after that 10th anniversary show. It was a testament to everyone’s amazing work and artistry. Covid unfortunately had other ideas, obviously, so it is great to be back producing our flagship show at Hatch House this summer.

16. What’s your secret superpower?

Never giving up? When putting on live events and shows you always have to think on your feet, it is something you develop over the years. But what you really need more than anything is grit – the ability to not give up. Even when it’s got really tough. Stopping is not an option.

17. Your favourite quote?

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”. Martin Luther King Jnr from his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington DC on August 28th, 1963. So much wisdom from one man, it’s difficult to choose one thing. It is about never giving up, it is about when things look bad or insurmountable … there is always a stone of hope.

18. Chip Shop Chips or Home Baked Cake?

Chip shop chips! Lots of salt and vin – Mere Fish and Chips is great! I always pop in there to grab
some on my way to see friends.

19. You have the power to pass one law tomorrow, uncontested. What would you do?

I’d pass a law to allow me to pass a law every year uncontested, so I have more time to think about
what law would really make a difference!

interview by Laura Hitchcock

After a three year absence, Ballet Under The Stars at Hatch House is back this summer. On 22nd, 23rd (SOLD OUT) and 24th July audiences in the beautiful 17th century walled Dutch garden venue just north of Shaftesbury can enjoy an incredible line-up of dancers – many of them Principal dancers from companies including the National Ballet of Ukraine, The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Staatsballett Berlin. Xander Parish returns to the Hatch theatre this year dancing with his wife, Anastasia Demidova.

For more info and booking – https://bit.ly/BVHatchHouseBalletStars

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