About Wayne Sleep

In 1961, at the age of 13, Wayne Sleep won a Leverhulme Scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. Five years later, in 1966 he joined the Royal Ballet Company. He became a Senior Principal with numerous roles created for him by amongst others – Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Dame Ninette de Valois, Joe Layton, Rudolf Nureyev, and John Neumeier. He has been a Guest Artist at the English National Ballet, London City Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet and London Contemporary Dance.

In 1980 Wayne formed his own dance company DASH, which after many seasons in the West End toured the world, concluding back in London at the Coliseum. The concept for DASH was to present dance to a wider audience incorporating all dance genres (including ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary). This innovation at the time was well received by both critics and audience. As Ann Nugent said in Dance and Dancers: “Wayne Sleep deserved a special prize for making dance more accessible with his brilliantly conceived DASH.”

Wayne has appeared on television as a dancer, guest and celebrity, on shows including I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Celebrity Come Dine with Me, four Royal Variety performances, This is Your Life, The Goodies, Parkinson and Wogan to name but a few. He has also appeared on both TV and radio as an actor. Wayne was a judge on ITV’s dance show, Stepping Out and he has appeared in Channel 4′s Big Ballet, The Real Marigold Hotel and has hosted BBC Radio 2′s Friday Night is Music Night.

Appointed OBE in 1998, he received honorary degrees from the Universities of Exeter, Teeside and Plymouth and is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award. He has two entries in The Guinness Book of records and was named as Show Business Personality of the year in 1984 from the Royal Variety Club of Great Britain. He is a Patron of the British Ballet Organization and Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance. His publications include Variations on Wayne Sleep and his autobiography Precious Little Sleep.

His charity, The Wayne Sleep Foundation helps students who have successfully gained a place at a performing arts vocational college. He continues to pass on his knowledge through private tuition and workshops for all ages.

Theatre acting credits include: Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Ariel (The Tempest), Feste, Tony Lumpkin (She Stoops to Conquer), Truffaldino (Servant of Two Masters), Soldier (A Soldiers Tale), Mr Mistofeles (Cats), Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Emcee (Cabaret), Oblio (The Point), Adjutant (Into Thin Air) Song and Dance and Twelfth Night.

His films include: The First Great Train Robbery, The Tales of Beatrix Potter, The Virgin Solders, Elizabeth and, for the BBC, The Soldiers Tale.

Choreography credits include: Hot Shoe Show (BBC TV), Carousel, Salad Days, Savoy Suite (English National Ballet), Roll Over Jehovah, Aspects of Dance, World of Classical Ballet, History of Dance, David and Goliath (London Contemporary Dance Theatre), Winding Road (London City Ballet), Hollywood and Broadway, and for the National Youth Ballet Wonderland (Scenes from Alice), Cinderella, and Toad, Beauty and the Beast (lead actor). Directed, choreographed and appeared in his own review of dance, DASH. Choreographed and appeared in video installation for David Hockney’s A Bigger Picture at The Royal Academy Summer 2011.