About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Who are we investing in?

Central School of Ballet (CSB) is a London based classical ballet school founded in 1982 by the late Christopher Gable CBE and Ann Stannard. It was created to offer a different experience of ballet training in an education that particularly valued individual artistic expression in dance alongside the importance of technique. The School is unique in offering a BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance, validated by the University of Kent - the only ballet-focused degree course in England. In 2011 it also pioneered an MA in Choreography, with a specialism in ballet, ensuring the continued development of the artform in the future.

Outside of the main ballet programme, Central School of Ballet also runs a wide programme of outreach work to encourage and broaden participation in dance within schools and communities that do not have access to this, as well as an extensive programme of evening and weekend adult classes.

What are we investing in?

Central School of Ballet has been in need of a new venue for many years. To this end, it has secured a state of the art, purpose-built new home located within Paris Gardens, Southwark, close to the vibrant cultural cluster of the South Bank, which it now needs to fit-out to meet the needs of a 21st century training facility. This new home will give the organisation space to grow, with three times the space it has now. Paris Gardens will also have state of the art technology to enhance teaching and learning, with the facility for dancers in the studio to work in real time with a choreographer and musicians anywhere in the world via digital screens as part of a ‘Virtual Conservatoire’ partnership project.

The Arts Impact Fund was able to offer a £600,000 unsecured loan towards the cost of the fit-out on the assumption that this would be repaid out of future fundraising income secured by the organisation.

In moving to Paris Gardens, operating costs for the School will fall as it will no longer need to hire performance space for productions and events, and it will have the capability to diversify revenue streams through commercial hires of the new studio spaces. Student numbers will also increase as will the general numbers of participants for outreach programmes.

Read the full case study on Central School of Ballet on the Arts Impact Fund website.