Episode 2: Dame Monica Mason

Broadcast date: 20 October 2022

May you live in interesting times may be an ancient curse, but Monica Mason has voyaged through some very interesting times and places. She spent most of her career at The Royal Ballet, eventually as its artistic director – but was born in South Africa, moving to London in the 1950s to ignite her astonishing career. She later toured through segregated America, behind the Iron Curtain, and to Cuba and China. As a Vice President at the RAD she was a key figure in realising its dream of a new home, so is perfectly placed to discuss what it means to a dancer to feel at home and far away.

Dame Monica Mason

Dame Monica Mason is a Vice President of the RAD. Born in Johannesburg, she came to England aged 14. She joined The Royal Ballet in 1958 and was promoted to Principal in 1968. She created the Chosen Maiden in Kenneth MacMillan’s The Rite of Spring and many other roles in her wide repertoire. She later became Assistant Director, Acting Director and then Director of The Royal Ballet, from 2002–12, leaving the Royal Opera House after 54 years. She was made a Dame Commander for her services to dance and received the Queen Elizabeth II Award from the RAD in 2011.

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