Thursday 29 September 2016

Professional dancer Jonathan Ollivier killed in motorbike accident hours before show

Kate Ferguson

Published 09/08/2015 | 22:00

A general view of Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, following the cancellation of this evening's performance of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, following the death of professional dancer Jonathan Ollivier. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
A general view of Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, following the cancellation of this evening's performance of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, following the death of professional dancer Jonathan Ollivier. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Staff inform patrons of the cancellation of this evening's performance of Matthew Bournes The Car Man at Sadlers Wells Theatre, London, following the death of professional dancer Jonathan Ollivier Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A professional dancer was killed in a motorbike accident hours before he was due to perform in the final show of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man at Sadler's Wells Theatre.

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Jonathan Ollivier, 38, was killed as he rode his motorbike through Clerkenwell in central London this morning, Scotland Yard said.

A general view of Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, following the cancellation of this evening's performance of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, following the death of professional dancer Jonathan Ollivier Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
A general view of Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, following the cancellation of this evening's performance of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, following the death of professional dancer Jonathan Ollivier Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Jonathan performed as the swan in Matthew Bourne's radically reinterpreted and sold out Swan Lake in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in February 2014.

His sister Rachel Ollivier wrote on Facebook: "To all my beautiful little bro friends, it is with a heavy heart that we have to tell you that Jon tragically died today. We love him and will miss him massively xx".

Ollivier, from Northampton, played the role of Luca in Bourne's show.

He was on his motorbike when he collided with a black Mercedes saloon car shortly after 11am this morning.

Police, paramedics and an air ambulance tried to save his life, but he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before noon.

The driver stopped and was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He is currently in custody at a central London police station.

Ollivier's next of kin have been informed.

His fellow cast were said to be "shaken" after the accident and tonight's show by the dance company New Adventures was cancelled.

Theatre-goers were turned away from the door and told by staff the production had been cancelled "due to a tragic accident".

In an email to patrons the theatre said: "On behalf of the company New Adventures, we regret to inform patrons that tonight's performance of The Car Man at Sadler's Wells has had to be cancelled due to a tragic accident earlier today.

"While due process is being followed we are unable to give further information however we offer our sincere condolences to those concerned.

"New Adventures and Sadler's Wells are sorry for the inconvenience caused to patrons due to attend tonight's performance."

Ollivier played the lead Luca in The Car Man, a production loosely based on Georges Bizet's opera Carmen and set in 1960s America.

His performance and been praised by critics, with The Telegraph's Rachel Ward writing that he brought "brooding power and danger of a matador" to the role.

He had previously won plaudits for playing as The Swan in Bourne's all-male Swan Lake.

Formal identification and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course, Scotland Yard said..

Detectives from the serious collision investigation unit are investigating and are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed or may have information regarding the collision.

Anyone with any information can contact the police on 020 8991 9555 or Criimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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