BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET’S SPECTACULAR PRODUCTION OF THE NUTCRACKER
RETURNS TO THE BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME
FRIDAY 22 November – THURSday 12December 2013
Birmingham Hippodrome Ticket Office: 0844 338 5000
With tickets selling fast and several performances in Birmingham already sold out, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s spectacular production of the fairytale classic The Nutcracker, created by the Company’s Director Laureate Sir Peter Wright, will return to its home theatre the Birmingham Hippodrome from Friday 22 November – Thursday 12December. The Nutcracker is the world’s most celebrated family Christmas show.
Sir Peter Wright created the production in 1990, to thank the city of Birmingham for its support and generosity towards the Company following its move from Sadler’s Wells in London. The Nutcracker immediately triumphed, establishing itself as the finest on offer throughout the country in the Christmas calendar of entertainment.
Adapted from ETA Hoffman’s story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’, the story of The Nutcracker has inspired several choreographers since the first production by Lev Ivanov premiered in 1892. It has been performed every Christmas since in cities all over the world, from St Petersburg to Beijing, and is the most popular family Christmas show of all time. The harmonious mix of music, magic and dance has roused the talents of George Balanchine, John Cranko and Rudolf Nureyev, yet Sir Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker for Birmingham Royal Ballet is widely regarded as the finest version ever of Tchaikovsky’s best-loved ballet score.
The enchanting story of Clara’s adventures with her Nutcracker doll, Rat King and the Sugar Plum Fairy is an exquisite seasonal feast. Let yourself get swept up in the excitement of Christmas with sets and costumes by John Macfarlane, the designer of the Company’s stunning Cinderella.
A favourite for all the family, this classic fairytale tells the story of Clara who receives a beautiful wooden Nutcracker doll from the eccentric magician Drosselmeyer at a Christmas Eve party and is immediately enchanted. That night Clara sneaks downstairs at midnight to play with her new Nutcracker doll, and to her amazement the Christmas tree starts growing, she starts shrinking and she is swept up in a fantasy of toy soldiers, giant rats, snow fairies, magic and mystery. After saving her beloved Nutcracker from the King of the Rats, she is whisked away to the enchanted Land of Snow and dances the night away in her Prince’s arms, meeting a host of strange and exotic characters before she is finally transformed into a beautiful ballerina.
The night passes in a blur and she wakes up on Christmas morning at the foot of the Christmas tree with memories that will stay with her forever, as the memory of this amazing production will stay with everyone who sees it.
The Nutcracker production trivia:
- Before the curtain goes up on the first performance, hours of work have been undertaken behind the scenes. The sets, props and lights for the show will travel to the Hippodrome in five articulated trucks from the Birmingham Royal Ballet stores in Dudley. When the sets arrive work will begin on the ‘get-in’ and ‘fit-up’. This process takes approximately three days. Another two days are usually required for technical and stage rehearsals.
- The production has a flying goose that transports Clara to a magical land and it travels 20 metres across the stage.
- Many tricks and illusions feature in the production and a Magic Circle magician was recruited especially to devise them. Dancers performing the roles of Drosselmeyer and his assistant are sworn to secrecy concerning the tricks.
- The Nutcracker features a huge transformation scene where a Christmas tree grows from 4 metres to 15 metres and a fireplace grows to fill half of the stage. A crew of around fifty people work backstage on the production and during the transformation scene it is a case of ‘all hands on deck’.
- 75kg of flame retardant artificial snow is used in the production which is imported from a specialist company in New York.
- The production has over 200 costumes, the preparation of which begins at least six weeks before the opening night. This may involve sewing on sequins, shortening tutus, or letting in or out seams. Several new dancers have joined the Company this year and the costumes may need altering to fit them.
- Dancers that take the parts of ‘Winds’ and ‘Snowflakes’ in the production coat the visible parts of their body in special silver body paint imported from Germany.