The centre for dance was one of just ten UK projects to be shortlisted for the award, in the annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre both invited the public to vote for the building earlier this year, receiving heartening support from the public.
The winner will be chosen by a further round of public voting, which will take place in September. The three finalists will appear on a special BBC One programme later in the year. The winner, announced live, will receive a trophy and a cash prize of £2,000.
Mark Skipper, chief executive of Northern Ballet, said: “Everyone at Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre is thrilled that people have been voting for us in the National Lottery Awards. To have been selected for the Award at all was fantastic, to have reached the finals has surpassed our hopes. We can’t thank people enough for their support, it means a huge amount to both companies, to the young people in our academies and the wider community we work with.”
The purpose-built home for dance has received widespread praise since it opened in January 2011. The building, in Quarry Hill in Leeds’ cultural quarter, is one of the largest purpose-built dance spaces outside London. It is unique in housing both a ballet and a contemporary dance company, with seven dance studios (including the 230-seat Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Europe’s biggest dance studio), wardrobe facilities, office space, meeting rooms and a public exhibition space. It is used by the companies, by students of the companies’ academies, and by the general public, with dance classes open to all.
Photograph: Jonathan Taylor