National Ballet of Canada's Director Of Production James Thornley Steps Down

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Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, and Barry Hughson, Executive Director, today announced that Director of Production James Thornley has stepped down from his position after 30 years with the company. Mr. Thornley will continue to work as a production consultant on Ms. Kain's new Swan Lake which makes its world premiere in June 2020 and will pursue freelance and consulting opportunities.

"Jim is one of the finest Directors of Production in the world. The National Ballet is incredibly fortunate to have been the beneficiary of his remarkable skill and extensive knowledge over the past three decades. With his considerable expertise and guidance, the National Ballet has been able to create monumental new works as well as successfully tour to the dance epicentres in the world. We will miss his immense talent, instinct and commitment to excellence," said Mr. Hughson.

"Jim has been a huge part of our successes over the last 30 years and will be greatly missed. He maintained the highest standards of excellence in all our productions and skillfully brought designers' visions to life. Personally, he was a great support to me when I took on the role of Artistic Director and I am so glad I will be able, once again, to rely on his expertise as I stage a new Swan Lake," said Ms. Kain.

During Mr. Thornley's tenure at the National Ballet, he worked with three Artistic Directors: Reid Anderson (1989 - 1996), James Kudelka (1996 - 2005) and Karen Kain (2005 - present). Mr. Thornley oversaw all of production, a large department that crosses over several key areas such as wardrobe, lighting, stage management, road crew and the workshop. In 2011, The Gretchen Ross Production Centre was established. The 59,000 square feet facility is where all of the National Ballet's sets and props are created and maintained. Under Mr. Thornley's leadership, it is considered one of the finest ballet production facilities globally.

Mr. Thornley has overseen the creation of countless productions by some of the most renowned choreographers and designers. Highlights include James Kudelka's The Nutcracker, The Contract (the Pied Piper) and The Actress, as well as John Cranko's Onegin, with designs by Santo Loquasto. He has been a key figure in the National Ballet's international touring, including such memorable tours to the US, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. With professionalism, he managed the unique challenges of touring while ensuring that the company's high standards were always met in every venue.

The National Ballet will celebrate Mr. Thornley's commitment and legacy to the company in May 2020 and wishes him all the best.

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