Good Monday Morning everybody!
Yes it’s the start of the week, I am up and at it, and ready to get stuck in to another week of madness in the world of AP…
But first, here’s the rest of what I’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks.
I had two very different opening nights to attend, the first a play so deeply moving, it was like watching my own life played out in front of me. The Father at the Wyndhams theatre is hailed as the most acclaimed new play of the decade, and is there for eight weeks only.
“Now eighty years old, Andre was once a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine. Or was he an engineer whose daughter Anne lives in London with her new lover, Pierre? The thing is, he is still wearing his pyjamas and he can’t find his watch. He is starting to wonder if he’s losing control…The Father is the winner of France’s highest theatrical honour, the 2014 Moliere Award for Best Play, and in Christopher Hampton‘s crisp and witty translation, has dazzled audiences and critics alike at the Theatre Royal Bath and the Tricycle Theatre. It has received an unprecedented eight five star reviews from major national newspaper critics.”
More importantly, it reduced me to such floods of tears, I couldn’t even make the party and it was home to bed with a heavy heart, but also a sense of relief knowing I wasn’t alone in the struggle with my father, that I have spoken about so many times, and will continue campaigning to find a cure for this terrible and heartbreaking disease.
Anyway, on a much happier note, I had the most wonderful evening at the opening of the spectacular Kinky Boots, starring the divine Matt Henry as Lola, who I had the pleasure of working with in Saturday Night Fever many years ago. I also have to give a special mention to the diva that is Luke Jackson, another dancer who I worked with for many years in many different shows, and who in my eyes shone like a star and stole that stage! It was great to catch up with the creator Jerry Mitchell, and just being in the presence of Cindy Lauper made me feel like I was back in my wild 80’s all over again!
I can finally reveal some of what I’ve been up to in Cardiff… working on the most incredible new production of A Midsummer Nights Dream, alongside actors including Matt Lucas, Richard Wilson, Bernard Cribbins and Elaine Page to name a few! You can read more about it here – and see me hard at work in Cardiff here…!
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If you haven’t already noticed, the BBC is gearing up for another amazing Children in Need event, and I hope you are all out there getting involved. Make sure you check out the BBC website for fun fundraising ideas, and in the meantime, get your ears on!
I’ll leave you with my favourite photo from the week, of me with my darling boy and true inspiration Edward Watson, who I was privileged to celebrate his investiture with, alongside dance genius Matthew Bourne, who’s creativity and vision never cease to amaze me. We had a fabulous night at the hospital club, with dear friends and family, and as always it was hilarious catching up with fabulous author Matt Cain, and absolutely fabulous actress Harriet Thorpe. Ed, I quite simply adore you, congratulations. Edward Watson, MBE.
AP & ED Raven Girl
SO that’s it for now, and I’ll be back later in the week with news from the Inspiration Womens Awards, and also the RSPCA Animal Hero Awards, both truly moving and wonderful events, along with exciting news from Starlight Germany!
Love always,
Arlene x

Fashion Fabulous

I’d like to start this blog with a Happy Monday everybody! As per usual I have been here, there and everywhere, flitting from one fabulous event to the next, up and down the country and of course dancing my way through it all.

From auditions for Starlight Express, to a top secret TV choreography project in Cardiff, it truly has once again been non stop!

And here’s some of what I’ve been up to….

Gossiping at the Pride of Britain Awards… And can we just discuss my divine dress from, Zara! I’m telling you, you don’t have to spend thousands feel a million dollars, and I most certainly did.

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I had an amazing and fascinating lunch at the Science museum with these gorgeous ladies….


Learning all about the Cosmonaughts!

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I certainly got my fashion foot forward with the help of my dear friend Louanne, (whom you must know by now as I have mentioned her several times in previous blogs because I adore her so much!) who flew in from Las Vegas for one night only before jetting off round Europe, and I managed to snag her for some serious girl time and vintage Halston. I also bumped into the gorgeous Alex Jones, who is always such a delight to catch up with, and clearly as much of a fashion lover as I am. Can we just appreciate the disco dance floor, now that really takes me back to my days at Studio 54 with Biana Jagger… But I’ll save those stories for the book!

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I was thrilled to be asked to officially open this most fascinating conference as you can see below, Dancing More, Living More at City Hall, bringing healthcare professionals and Public Health England together with the Dance World.

Dance and health experts came together this week (Monday 5 Oct) at a special event organised by the London Mayor’s Office at City Hall to look at the benefits of dance in improving health and wellbeing and its potential to reduce health inequalities.

The Dancing More; Living More conference welcomed leading decision makers from local authorities, health and sport institutions and the NHS as well as senior health and dance professionals from across the country to showcase how dance can benefit people who are currently physically inactive and who may not be interested in traditional sport. Award winning choreographer Arlene Philips; Director for London Public Health England, Yvonne Doyle, Executive Director Arts Council England, Laura Dyer and Jan Burkhardt, Public Health Commissioner and health and dance specialist; Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Public Health Leeds; Ian Rodley, Director of DAZL[Dance Action Zone Leeds]; Tim Joss, Chief Executive of AESOP (Arts Enterprise with a Social Purpose); Patrick McGeough, Chief Executive Director for Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK) and Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, Director of Engagement English National Ballet Parkinson’s programme were amongst those who attended. 

The event focused on issues such as physical inactivity amongst women and girls who are less likely to take part in sport than their male counterparts, the effect dance can have on children in early years and the impact dance has on older people’s well-being, especially those with dementia or Parkinson’s Disease. 

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, adults should aim to be moderately active for at least 150 minutes a week. In London only 25% of adults are active enough through a wide range of activities including walking, cycling and sport. There are large parts of the population, particularly women and older people, who may not be interested in sport but for whom dance provides a relaxed and sociable way of keeping active. It has many health benefits including improved movement, balance and cardio-vascular fitness. 

As the Mayor’s Big Dance initiative has shown, dance is also hugely popular, attracting people from all ages and backgrounds. It can benefit people’s physical and mental wellbeing, by encouraging them to become more active, it is fun and a social activity that brings communities together. More than 100,000 people were involved in Big Dance in 2014 .

More information about the health benefits of dance is available on the Public Health England National Obesity Observatory:

I’ll leave you with a teaser for the next round of gossip including my opening nights at Kinky Boots and The Father, my divine dinner at the truly beautiful Clos Maggiore, celebrating with my darling Ed Watson on his investiture, and much more… so stay tuned!

Much love,

Arlene x