The award has been created to mark Bourne’s 50th birthday (which was last year), as well as "to honour both the work and achievements of Matthew and his company New Adventures within dance and musical theatre”.
It came about after colleagues of Bourne sent an email asking for help establishing the award and “within 48 hours” had received pledges of almost £15,000 from over 120 people. It is hoped that the award - titled the New Adventures Choreographer Award - will be given bi-annually.
Recipients will work with the company under Bourne’s mentorship over a 12-month period, culminating in a showcase performance of a programme of work created and developed during that time. Applications are currently open (until 8 May 2011), with no age limit and all styles of dance being considered.
Matthew Bourne, whose landmark productions include his all-male swan version of Swan Lake, said: "Choreography is the hardest field of the arts to get your work seen or noticed. It requires space, dancers and other expensive resources. Sometimes these resources do not match the creative vision of a choreographer, and that vision may never be realised.
"I hope that the New Adventures Choreographer Award will go some small way to rectifying that for one talented individual every two years … My friends and colleagues could not have given me a more fitting birthday present."