Harry Haythorne, 1926-2014: An inspiring life in dance

Harry Haythorne, the former assistant artistic director of the Scottish Ballet and artistic director of both the Queensland Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet died today.

Born in Adelaide in 1926, he was inspired by the visit to Australia of Ballet Rambert in 1947/48 and travelled to the United Kingdom to train with Anna Northcote, Stansilaw Idzikowski and Audrey de Vos.

He danced in musicals and with the Metropolitan Ballet, the International Ballet and Walter Gore’s London Ballet.

In 1975 he was appointed artistic director of the Queensland Ballet and from 1981 to 1992, was artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

In 1993 he was awarded an MBE for his services to dance.

Hawthorne continued to perform character roles in Australia in Stanton Welch’s Cinderella, Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker, Tivoli and Swan Lake.

His most memorable final performances were his roller skating solo in Tivoli and his fussy yet adorable interpretation of the Edwardian era photographer in Murphy’s Act I of Swan Lake.


  1. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    A larger than life personality who, apart from the odd screaming tantrum and a truly exquisite taste in leisure wear (his white track suit), imparted a lot of his knowledge and devoted much time in bringing out the best in his dancers though some may disagree with me. It was his worldly experience and knowledge gained from many years of hoofing and working worldwide that made him such an interesting and engaging individual. As one of my friends in Auckland remarked yesterday ” Heavens Corps de ballet is in for a hell of a shake up”!!!

  2. valerie
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Matthew, thank you! I wish I had seen the white track suit. White is a completely suitable look for coaching the corps de ballet of heaven.

  3. Ken Rayment,James Aldridge
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    We will miss you Harry.Thanks for all the good times over the years.Rest well old friend xxx

  4. Richard Patrick
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I think I saw Harry Haythorne in a Summer show at Morecambe in
    1958 called ‘Gaytime’.

    Would this be the same person ?

  5. valerie
    Posted July 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that was him. He performed in vaudeville and variety shows long before he became a ballet dancer.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *


Harry Haythorne

Harry Haythorne