Saturday 21 July 2018

West End theatres to dim lights in memory of choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne

Dame Gillian died aged 92.

Dame Gillian Lynne has died aged 92 (John Stillwell/PA)
Dame Gillian Lynne has died aged 92 (John Stillwell/PA)

By Sherna Noah and Ryan Wilkinson, Press Association

London’s West End theatres are paying tribute to Dame Gillian Lynne, dimming their lights in memory of the Cats choreographer.

Dame Gillian, whose credits also included Phantom Of The Opera, died aged 92 on Sunday evening.

Lights will be dimmed for one minute, at 7pm, before Monday evening’s performances at theatres across London’s West End.

Society Of London Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said: “Dame Gillian Lynne’s contribution to theatre was inestimable. Her career, which spanned over seven decades, encompassed performance, choreography and directing.

“She worked across so many of the West End and Broadway’s top venues and productions, and won numerous awards and accolades.

“We are proud to celebrate her extraordinary legacy tonight in the West End.”

Dame Gillian received a Special Olivier Award in 2013 for her contribution to theatre.

Her husband, actor Peter Land, said she died at the Princess Grace Hospital in Marylebone, central London.

“She leaves behind a huge legacy and is adored by many,” he said in a tribute on Twitter to his “dearest wife and friend and love for 40 years”.

A major influence on dance and musical theatre, Dame Gillian was best known for her work with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The composer and impresario wrote on Twitter: “Farewell dearest Gillie, three generations of the British musical owe so much to you. With love, Andrew”.

Choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne also paid tribute, tweeting: “RIP Dear Gillie … you supported and inspired me from the very beginning … your spirit and love of dance and dancers lives on in all of us who share that love.”

Strictly Come Dancing judge and retired ballerina Darcey Bussell wrote: “Gillian Lynne was an incredible force and passion within the dance world. Such an inspiring lady she will be very much missed. Dx”

Dame Gillian also directed more than 50 productions in the West End and on Broadway and received two Olivier Awards.

She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to dance and musical theatre in 2014.

In June, Lord Lloyd-Webber renamed his New London Theatre the Gillian Lynne Theatre, making it the first West End theatre to be named after a woman.

Press Association

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