A tribute to Jane

Our performance of [Un]leashed at Sadler's Wells on Tuesday 25 June is dedicated to the memory of Jane Nicholas OBE, 1929 – 2019

Jane Nicholas has been part of Birmingham Royal Ballet's history and a fervent supporter over all of its existence first as a dancer and more recently as one of the first Board members when the Company relocated to Birmingham in 1990. 

She began her career as Jane Shore, a dancer with Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, where she partnered Peter Wright – now Sir Peter Wright CBE – Birmingham Royal Ballet’s founding Director. Over the years (and many name changes) that company would become the present Birmingham Royal Ballet. 

She left the ballet world in 1952 to be Principal dancer in the Revue London Laughs starring Vera Lynn, Jimmy Edwards and Tony Hancock. 

In 1964 she married Bill Nicholas and began her career in arts administration, joining the British Council, and later the Arts Council, where she became Director of the new Dance and Mime department. Her persistent efforts saw the beginning of funding for contemporary dance.

She retired in 1989, was awarded the OBE in 1990, and went on with her husband Bill to be present at every ballet and modern dance premiere, serving as Vice Chair of Dance UK and a very active member of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Board. She was outspoken, full of life, great fun, a supporter if all sorts of charities and a brave scooter driver to the very end!

Colin Nears CBE

Colin, a former television producer, was Chair of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Board (1990 to 1999) and served as chairman of the Arts Council Dance Panel