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JONATHAN OLLIVIER: 1977 – 2015 A Tribute from Matthew Bourne and New Adventures

Jonathan Ollivier
Jonathan Ollivier

Following yesterday’s tragic incident and as messages come in from around the world, Matthew Bourne, Artistic Director of New Adventures issues the following tribute on behalf of the company:

Yesterday we lost our “Swan” and our “Car Man” – Jonathan Ollivier was one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation: An intensely masculine presence tempered with tenderness and vulnerability made him the perfect casting for a string of triumphant roles in the New Adventures repertory including “The Swan”, the enigmatic “Speight” in “Play Without Words” and his final role as Luca in “The Car Man” which he was due to dance at last nights final performance at Sadler’s Wells.

A man of great warmth and charm, Jonny was a true gent, loved and respected by his colleagues and adored by audiences who were mesmerised by his memorable performances on stage as well as his friendly and genuine personality at the Stage Door. He was also an inspiration and role model to several generations of young dancers who strived to emulate his enviable technique and majestic stage presence.

Yesterdays events have ripped at the heart of the New Adventures family and we join together to send our heartfelt condolences to all of Jonny’s family and friends. In our grieving for this irreplaceable artist we take some comfort in the legacy of memories that he has left behind

Jonathan trained at the Rambert School of Dance and has been a principal dancer at Cape Town Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre and the Alberta Ballet. In addition to working with Michael Clarke Jonathan also starred in the first UK tour of Dirty Dancing.

As a Principal Dancer for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Jonathan played two seasons of Swan/Stranger in Swan Lake, Luca in The Car Man and Speight in Play Without Words.

He was awarded an honorary fellowship to the Dance Critics Circle and nominated by them as Best Young Dancer (2003) and Best Male Dancer (2004).

Jonathan guest starred for major dance companies in the USA, South Africa and Germany and toured extensively around the world.

Monday 10th August 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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2 thoughts on “JONATHAN OLLIVIER: 1977 – 2015 A Tribute from Matthew Bourne and New Adventures”

  1. We were so looking forward to taking my recently graduated daughter to see Car Man. When we arrived I wondered why all the Sadlers Wells staff were outside the theatre. We were told the show was cancelled due to a tragic accident shortly before we had arrived but no more information was offered. We were of course disappointed but left imagining what might have happened. Upon hearing the terrible news that a young talented live had been lost we wanted to send our heartfelt condolences to all Jonathan’s family and those who were close to him.

  2. My husband and I are just two ordinary members of the public who have enjoyed performances by Jonathan Ollivier. We are deeply shocked and very sad at his untimely death. Please tell his wife and children that we are thinking about them every day. It will be of little comfort to her but is all we can do to help if help it is. Recently we bought a ticket for ‘ Car Man’ for a friend of ours, also 38yrs, who had never seen a ballet before. He researched the company before he went and was entranced by the performance. He replied to my text of Mr Ollivier’s death, ‘Oh God how tragic’. Another life, given a new dimension by the performance of Mr. Ollivier and affected by his death.

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