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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Ballet boss told to leave country
Scottish Ballet sign
Scottish Ballet are contesting the decision
Scottish Ballet is taking legal advice to prevent its artistic director having to leave the country.

American choreographer Robert North - who was last week told his contract with the Scottish ballet company will not be renewed - has been told by the Home Office he must leave within eight days or face prison.

Mr North was appointed artistic director of Scottish Ballet in 1999.

It is the company's responsibility to ensure that he has applied for a proper work permit but it appears that a mistake was made with the paperwork.

Doubly embarrassing

According to the Home Office, Mr North has just eight days to leave the UK and return to America or face imprisonment.

The mix-up is doubly embarrassing as just a week ago Mr North was told that his contract with Scottish Ballet would not be renewed.

But a spokesman said although the timing of the mistake was unfortunate, Scottish Ballet was doing everything in its power to make sure Mr North is able to stay till the end of his contract next summer.

His next production for the company is a restaging of his popular children's ballet The Snowman and rehearsals are due to begin in the autumn.

Isabel Fraser reports
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See also:

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Opera raises cycle of debt fears
03 Nov 99 | Scotland
MSPs launch Scottish Opera inquiry
24 Oct 99 | Scotland
Debt phantom back to haunt opera
23 Mar 00 | Scotland
Crisis talks over opera closure
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