Matthew Bourne

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Mathew Bourne

Matthew Bourne Edward Scissorhands Melbourne 2006-11-28.jpg
Bourne in 2006
Born (1960-01-13) 13 January 1960 (age 62)
Hackney, London, England
OccupationTheatre director, choreographer, dancer
Years active1985–present

Sir Matthew Christopher Bourne OBE (born 13 January 1960) is an English choreographer whose work includes contemporary dance and dance theatre.


In 2007, Bourne contemplated a gay version of Romeo and Juliet. Despite the success of his Swan Lake, in which he altered the traditional story to be about a human male falling in love with a male swan, Bourne acknowledged the challenge of a gay Romeo and Juliet. "It's more to do with dancing than with sexuality," he said "A male dancer, whether gay or straight, fits into a relationship with a female partner very happily. It's something you're taught, and it fits, it feels right, the lifting and all that stuff. Getting away from that, making a convincing love duet, a romantic, sexual duet, for two men that is comfortable to do and comfortable to watch — I don't know if you can. I've never seen it done."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Bourne has received multiple awards and award nominations, including the Laurence Olivier Award, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award, and has also received several honorary doctorates of arts from UK universities. He was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to dance.[2] He is gay.[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  • 1996 Time Out Special Award
  • 1996 Southbank Show Award
  • 1996 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production - Swan Lake
  • 1997 Honorary Fellow - The Laban Centre
  • 1999 Astaire Award - Special Award for Direction, Choreography and Concept of Swan Lake
  • 1999 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical – Swan Lake
  • 1999 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography – Swan Lake
  • 1999 Tony Award Best Choreography – Swan Lake
  • 1999 Tony Award Best Direction of a Musical – Swan Lake
  • 2000 Evening Standard Award for Musical Event – The Car Man
  • 2001 Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Dance
  • 2003 Hamburg Shakespeare Prize For The Arts - Only the second recipient from the dance world in over 50 years. The other being the legendary ballerina, Dame Margot Fonteyn.
  • 2003 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer - Play Without Words
  • 2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Original Choreography – Mary Poppins (shared with Stephen Mear)
  • 2007 Drama Desk Award Unique Theatrical Experience – Edward Scissorhands
  • 2007 Theatre Managers Special Award (TMA) for Individual Achievement - For services to Dance Touring and Audience Development
  • 2007 Honorary Doctor of Arts from De Montfort University, Leicester.
  • 2010 Honorary Doctor of Arts from Plymouth University.
  • 2010 The British Inspiration Award - Winner in Arts Category
  • 2010 Honorary Doctorate - Plymouth University
  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate - Kingston University
  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate - Roehampton University
  • 2011 Companion - Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • 2012 LIPA Companion (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) Presented by Sir Paul McCartney
  • 2013 De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement - National Dance Awards
  • 2013 Dance Film Association 'Dance in Focus' Award - given for 'persistence of vision, drive and artistry'
  • 2014 The Sir George Monoux Founders Award - Presented at the Dedication Ceremony of The Matthew Bourne Theatre, Monoux College, Walthamstow, London
  • 2015 Primio Ravenna Festical - Ravenna Festival Highest Honour - Previous recipients include Rostropovich, Ennio Morricone, Riccardo Muti and Pierre Boulez
  • 2015 The UK Theatre Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre
  • 2016 Knighthood for Services To Dance - New Years Honours
  • 2016 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation (QEII) Award in recognition of outstanding services to the art of ballet
  • 2016 Honorary Doctorate of Arts - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • 2016 The Gene Kelly Legacy Award from Dizzy Feet Foundation
  • 2016 Critics’ Circle Distinguished Service to Art Award
  • 2017 Trailblazer in Dance and Theatre Award from The International Institute of Dance and Theatre
  • 2017 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer - The Red Shoes
  • 2019 Special Olivier Award in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in dance
  • 2020 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer - Mary Poppins (shared with Stephen Mear)


  • 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreography – Oliver!
  • 2000 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance – The Car Man
  • 2005 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical – Play Without Words
  • 2005 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography – Play Without Words
  • 2007 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography – Edward Scissorhands
  • 2007 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Choreography – Mary Poppins
  • 2007 Tony Award Best Choreography – Mary Poppins
  • 2017 Best Modern Choreography for The Red Shoes - National Dance Awards 2017


  1. ^ "Swans' Way; Why Matthew Bourne's dances are different." The New Yorker (12 March 2007): 40–46.
  2. ^ "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N2.
  3. ^ King, John Paul (21 December 2019). "Bourne's gender-swapped 'Swan Lake' retains its timeless power". Los Angeles Blade. Retrieved 6 February 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Macaulay, Alastair, ed. (1999). Matthew Bourne and His Adventures in Motion Pictures: In Conversation with Alastair Macaulay. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-19706-X.

External links[edit]