Wayne Sleep won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in 1961 and joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1966 becoming a Senior Principal Dancer with roles created for him by Ashton, MacMillan, de Valois, Layton, Neumeier and Nureyev.
He played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in both the opera and the ballet at Covent Garden and acted the part in numerous theatres around Europe. Also as an actor he had principal parts in The Servant of Two Masters, She Stoops to Conquer, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Tempest, Twelfth Night and, in musicals, he created two roles in Cats and played the EmCee in Cabaret for over a year in the West End, performed the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Soldier in Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale, Uncle Willy in High Society, Harry Nilsson’s The Point at the Mermaid Theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance at the Palace.
Films: The Virgin Soldiers, The First Great Train Robbery, The Tales of Beatrix Potter, and he has topped the bill in 23 pantomimes. As a choreographer he created, directed and appeared in DASH which for the first time incorporated all genres (including ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary), and after many London seasons culminated in a world tour, and led to the Hot Shoe Show on BBC Television. Wayne was the subject of This Is Your Life, The South Bank Show, appeared on The Royal Variety Show several times, directed and presented Big Ballet and more recently The Real Marigold Hotel, BBC Radio 2‘s Friday Night is Music Night, ITV’s The Real Full Monty, BBC Queer as Art, and he has also been guest on many television chat shows. His portrait by David Hockney is in the Tate Gallery and he is in the National Portrait Gallery.
Appointed OBE in 1998, he has received honorary degrees from the universities of Exeter, Teeside and Plymouth, and is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a Legend of Industry, has two entries in the Guinness Book of Records and was Show Business Personality of the Year in 1984. He is Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance, a Patron of the British Ballet Organisation and many other institutions.
Voluntary Service, Prostatic Cancer. His charity, The Wayne Sleep Foundation, helps students who have gained a place at a performing arts vocational college. He continues to pass on his knowledge through tuition and workshops for all ages.