NEWPORT-BASED ballet company Ballet Cymru has won best large-scale dance production at the second Theatre Critics of Wales Awards.

The company, which is based in the Riverfront Theatre, collected the award on Sunday evening for its production of Romeo a Juliet.

Artistic director Darius James, who founded the company in 1986, said: “It’s fantastic – it’s a huge achievement for us.

“We’ve always flown the flag for Newport in the arts and this is just a major thumbs up from the arts community in Wales.”

The awards were born out of the Young Critics Scheme.

Professional Welsh theatre critics sat on the panel with young critics to devise a shortlist from the productions they saw by Welsh companies in Wales during 2013.

The panel’s members then voted for their winners, which were announced at the ceremony at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff on Sunday evening.

Ballet Cymru received four nominations in total.

“All our productions from last year were nominated for awards so we must be doing something right,” said Mr James.

Each year the company tours around 50 venues throughout the UK, with ten dancers and two technicians.

Its award-winning interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic was produced with support of Coreo Cymru.

Mr James who is from Newpor, said: “It was a really good production.

“Not one we can do every year, but it shows the potential of what we are achieving in Newport and I was so proud to stand on the stage in the Sherman and say this is for Newport.”

The company has recently acquired new premises in Rogerstone giving it its own studio for the first time. This will be used for education outreach work as well as their training.

Productions last year included A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stuck in the Mud.

Over the next year, Ballet Cymru is looking to work with musician Cerys Matthews again and in 2015 it aims to collaborate with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch.