When did you get the theatre bug?
Mum took me to see Angela Lansbury in Gypsy. I loved it and wanted to be on stage. I never forget that and try to get youngsters as enthused as I was.
Do you take criticism well?
I try to avoid it. People love what I do or hate it, there’s no in between.
I want to give them a great night out and sometimes critics hate that.
Does your reputation make dancers nervous?
Yes, when they first meet me. So many want to join our company I understand it, but then they see I’m not someone to be nervous of.
Ever felt your popularity swamping you?
When my all-male Swan Lake took off internationally there was a danger I’d become a franchise. I said no, and don’t spread myself thinly.
What’s your secret?
Attention to detail and hard work.
Any unusual hobbies?
I enjoy Strictly, I’m a big fan of Ella Fitzgerald, and I also love Kenneth Williams and Beryl Reid.
Yes, my mum was a big fan and went to her memorial service even though she’d never met her. I’m grateful to my parents for exposing me to varied entertainment.
Did they also expose you to ballet?
No, they didn’t have highbrow tastes. Not because they didn’t like ballet or opera, it just didn’t ever come in to their lives.
Did they live to see your success?
Yes, they came to New York and LA for my openings and met lots of old film stars. They had a ball. I was proud to give that back to them.
You’ve 24 hours left to live. How do you spend the time?
Going back in time to see Nijinsky dance. There’s no film of him so I want to see just how great he was. It might be a bit disappointing though, eh?
Sir Matthew Bourne is a supporter of the Mousetrap Theatre Projects charity.
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