Main content

Wayne McGregor

Kirsty Young talks to another castaway, choreographer Wayne McGregor.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the choreographer Wayne McGregor.

Despite his background in contemporary dance, he has been resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet - the first from outside the company - for the past ten years. He has brought to Covent Garden a fascination with technology, a passion for collaborative efforts with visual artists and musicians, and he is renowned for drawing inspiration particularly from the field of science.

Born in Stockport in 1970 to Scottish parents, he was inspired by the John Travolta films he watched and took ballroom, disco and Latin American dance classes. After studying choreography at the University of Leeds and spending a year at the José Limón dance school in New York, he returned to the UK and at the age of 22, founded his own company. He made his first professional piece in 1993, and choreographed Dame Judi Dench in Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the National Theatre in 1995. He received his first commission from the Royal Ballet in 2000 and it was his 2006 work Chroma which clinched him the job as resident choreographer.

He works on a wide range of projects away from the stage, including films, music videos, and opening and awards ceremonies, and continues to choreograph for his own company and others around the world including Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, La Scala Milan, New York City Ballet and the Australian Ballet. He has won numerous prizes for his work, including two Olivier Awards, and was appointed a CBE for Services to Dance in 2011.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

36 minutes

Last on

Fri 20 Jan 2017 09:00

Music Played

  • Esa‐Pekka Salonen

    La Variations

    Performer: Los Angeles Philharmonic. Conductor: Esa‐Pekka Salonen.
    • LA Variations.
    • Sony Classical.

    • A Winged Victory for the Sullen

      We Played Some Open Chords and Rejoiced, For the Earth Had Circled the Sun Yet Another Year

      • A Winged Victory for the Sullen.
      • Erased Tapes Records.
  • Jim Reeves

    Have I Told You Lately That I Love you

    • Memories Are Made of This.
    • BMG.
  • Franz Schubert

    Impromptu in G Flat Major

    Performer: Jenő Jandó.
    • Impromptus (Complete).
    • Naxos.
  • Steve Reich

    Electric Counterpoint, III. Fast

    Performer: Jonny Greenwood.
    • Radio Rewrite.
    • Nonesuch.
  • Jlin

    Unknown Tongues

    • Dark Energy.
    • Planet Mu Records.
  • George Michael

    The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

    • Songs From the Last Century.
    • Virgin.
  • Judi Dench

    Send in the Clowns

    • A Little Night Music.
    • Tring.

    Diderot’s Encyclopedia


    Tatsuo Miyajima’s digital art work, ‘Life’


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Wayne McGregor
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 15 Jan 2017 11:15
  • Fri 20 Jan 2017 09:00

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?