Wayne Sleep won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in 1961 and joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1966. He became a Senior Principal with numerous roles created for him by Ashton, MacMillan, de Valois and Nureyev. He was a Guest Artist at the English National Ballet, London City Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet and London Contemporary Dance.
As an actor he has played principal parts in The Servant of Two Masters, She Stoops to Conquer, Arsenic and Old Lace, , and in Shakespeare performed in Midsumer Nights Dream and Twelfth Night. His films include: The Great Train Robbery, The Tales of Betrix Potter, The Virgin Soldiers and for the BBC The Soldier’s Tale. In musicals he starred in Cats, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, High Society, Cabaret and The Point. He also worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber who adapted his Variations for Song and Dance, and has topped the bill in more than 21 pantomimes.
As a choreographer he created, directed and appeared in a revue Dash which for the first time incorporated all dance genres (including ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary), which after many London seasons and a world tour culminated in the Hot Shoe Show, which ran for two series.
Wayne has been the subject of This is Your Life, The South Bank Show, appeared on The Royal Variety Show several times, 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 has also been a guest on numerous chat shows.
Appointed OBE in 1998, he received honorary degrees from the Universities of Exeter, Teeside and Plymouth, and is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award. He has two entries in the Guinness Book of Records and was Show Business Personality of the year in 1984 from the Royal Variety Club of Great Britain. He is a Patron of the British Ballet Organisation and Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance.
His charity, The Wayne Sleep Foundation, helps students who have successfully gained a place at a performing arts vocational college. He continues to pass on his knowledge through private tuition and workshops for all ages.