The Val Deakin Dance Theatre Trust is a non-profit educational and charitable Trust formed in 1973. Trustees are Val Deakin, Manning St. Leger Reeves and Jane Roseman. An original and valued trustee, Cydie Strang MBE, passed away in 1999.
The Dance Theatre has presented a wide variety of dance performances throughout New Zealand ranging from small modern and jazz works in art galleries, to full-length classical ballets such as CINDERELLA, COPPELIA and THE NUTCRACKER. The Dance Theatre has given its services to numerous city celebrations, raised funds for several charities and has enriched the community with many workshops and performances. An educational programme has been taken into schools New Zealand wide for over 10 years and workshops in dance and the related arts continue to be given.
The Dance Theatre has given numerous opportunities to young dancers and has brought in guest artists from New Zealand and overseas to perform with the Dance Theatre – and they include Christopher Lyall, Mark Stevens, Shane Rumball, Leon and Sonia Draper, Mark Baldwin and Michael Parmenter. Several dancers trained here have continued on to successful careers in New Zealand and overseas. They include Nigel Gallienne, Toby Parsons, Rebecca Claridge, Brian Simmons and Emmett Hardie. Major tours of the South Island were made in 1991 and 1992, and a tour of the North Island with the acclaimed “Steps in Time” in 1994.
In its first overseas tour in 2006, the Dance Theatre was invited to and performed in the Arundel Festival in southern England. In recognition of the event, members of the Dance Theatre Trust were honoured by being made cultural ambassadors by the New Plymouth District Council. The Dance Theatre has also been a performance outlet for the enormous talent and creativity of internationally recognised choreographer Val Deakin.
To date, the Dance Theatre has given more than 550 performances of more than 115 different dance works.
In 1981 the Dance Theatre purchased the old Methodist Church building in St. Aubyn Street, New Plymouth, giving the Trust a permanent home. It is also a performing arts centre providing a venue for art exhibitions, music and dance performances and lessons in many forms of dance, music, yoga and martial arts. It is also available for hire.