September 19, 2013

Press Releases


English National Ballet is encouraging people in the UK to join in with International Pirate Day*, the annual event held on September 19. All around the country, members of the public, schools and teachers are invited to get involved in a series of pirate themed activities, designed to stimulate an interest in all things piratey, and herald the arrival of the pirate ballet Le Corsaire.

From October 2013 English National Ballet’s world renowned dancers will premiere a new production of Le Corsaire (The Pirate) which will open in Milton Keynes (October 17) and then tour to Southampton, Oxford, Bristol, London, and Manchester.*

Le Corsaire is inspired by Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair (1814) and tells the story of Conrad, a dashing pirate, and his love for Medora, the beautiful harem girl. It is a swashbuckling drama of captive maidens, rich sultans, kidnap and rescue, disguise and conspiracy, love and betrayal, culminating in a shipwreck which is one of the most breath-taking spectacles in ballet.


Pirate Activities include:

  • Poetry Competition –  an online competition in partnership with The Poetry Society  and the Young Poets Network
  • Pirate PackLe Corsaire resource pack for teachers, full of piratey dance and poetry writing activities for the classroom
  • Pirate Photograph Competition – a chance for schools to win tickets to watch a performance of Le Corsaire
  • Pirate Promotion Squad – coming to a city near you soon, members of the Pirate Promotion Squad will      tour a Pirate Prop, giving people the chance to strike a ballet pose and win tickets – keep a look out!
  • Schools’  Link Workshops  – based on Le Corsaire, inspiring students with a piratey dance workshop at their school led by English National Ballet


For full details on how to enter or take part in any of the pirate activities please visit English National Ballet’s website.

Poetry Competition

The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network is offering young people (under 25) the chance to submit a poem inspired by the epic love story of Le Corsaire, and win tickets. Join the Young Poets Network to enter; main competition runs 25 October-3 November 2013, with a teaser writing competition about the sea from 19-29 September.

Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, Director of Learning, English National Ballet said: “We are delighted to be working alongside The Poetry Society and Young Poets Network, to deliver a programme of activities and resources which engage schools and young people with this epic new production and explore the close connection between poetry and dance at the heart of Le Corsaire.”

Pirate Pack

English National Ballet has also collaborated with The Poetry Society to develop a Le Corsaire Resource Pack, providing teachers with a wide variety of dance and cross-curricular lesson ideas based on Le Corsaire, bringing all things piratey into the classroom.

Pirate Photograph Competition

Enter the national schools’ competition to be in with a chance to win tickets for a whole class to see Le Corsaire at your local theatre…just submit a picture of your class dressed in your best pirate outfits.  

Schools’ Link Programme

English National Ballet’s Schools’ Link Programme brings high-quality dance activities directly to local schools. This season its artists will deliver creative piratey dance workshops based on Le Corsaire, for students of all ages and abilities, which included 10 free tickets to see this epic production.

National Poetry Day 2013

By coincidence the theme for National Poetry Day 2013 (Thursday 3 October) is ‘water’, providing further links with Le Corsaire which ends in a shipwreck hailed as one of the most breath-taking spectacles in ballet. Young people can take part in the Young Poets Network teaser challenge and submit lines of poetry or prose on the theme of the sea.

English National Ballet’s Artistic Director Tamara Rojo said: “Le Corsaire is a true epic story that offers drama, an exotic landscape and the best pyrotechnics of the classic technique. It’s a men’s ballet, with heroic and passionate characters and with the famous pas de deux that made a legend of Nureyev when he first performed in England with Dame Margot Fonteyn. This is a unique and unmissable opportunity as it has never before been performed by a British company.”

Generously supported by Swarovski and Le Corsaire Le Corsaire appeal donors and the New Commissioning Fund

*International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.For example, an observer of this holiday would greet friends not with “Hello,” but with “Ahoy, matey!”

Creative Credits

Staged by Anna-Marie Holmes after Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev
Music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo and Prince Oldenbourg

Libretto by Jules-Henri de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier in a version by Anna-Marie Holmes

Based on The Corsair (1814) by Lord Byron

Sets and Costumes by Bob Ringwood

Lighting by Neil Austin


The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote a “more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”. Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, the Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages. It publishes the magazine Poetry Review, runs the National Poetry Competition, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and the youth performance poetry championship SLAMbassadors UK.

Young Poets Network is the Poetry Society’s online resource for young poets aged 25 and under, with a special focus on 13-19 year olds. Young Poets Network offers regular writing workshops and challenges, features about poets and poetry, new writing, and listings of magazines, competitions and groups which particularly welcome young writers. Contributors include Clare Pollard, Jo Shapcott, Colette Bryce, Ross Sutherland and Karen McCarthy Woolf.

Alfa Banking Group

Alfa Bank is sponsoring English National Ballet’s production of Le Corsaire in its London season.  Petr Aven, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Alfa Banking Group, said: “I am delighted that we are partnering with one of Britain’s greatest dance companies. Alfa Bank strongly supports building ties between the UK and Russia, be they in the business, economic or cultural spheres. Alongside bringing inspiring Russian work, like Le Corsaire, to British audiences, I hope this sponsorship will also shine a light on English National Ballet’s young Russian dancers.”


Alfa Banking Group, the largest private commercial and investment banking group in Russia and the CIS, has entered a strategic partnership with leading classical dance company, English National Ballet. The sponsorship with English National Ballet extends Alfa Bank’s existing work of building cultural ties between Russia and the UK, as well as other nations. The bank has previously sponsored concerts and art exhibitions in the UK, the USA and elsewhere. Alongside sponsoring A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev and Le Corsaire, Alfa Bank will work with English National Ballet to foster creative exchanges between Russia and the UK in the classical dance space, and highlight and promote English National Ballet dancers from Russia and the CIS. 

*Full Principal casting details as follows:


Milton Keynes

Thursday   Mat 17.10.13 Thursday   Eve 17.10.13 Friday   Eve 18.10.13 Saturday  Mat 19.10.13 Saturday   Eve 19.10.13
Medora Oliviera Cojocaru Rojo Oliviera Klimentová
Conrad Konvalina Muntagirov Bufala Konvalina Muntagirov


Tues   E 22.10.13 Wed   E 23.10.13 Thur   M 24.10.13 Thur   E 24.10.13 Friday   E 25.10.13 Sat   M 26.10.13 Sat   E 26.10.13
Medora Cojocaru Rojo Oliveira Takahashi Klimentová Rojo Takahashi
Conrad Muntagirov Golding Konvalina Acosta Muntagirov Golding Acosta


Wed   E 30.10.13 Thur   M 31.10.13 Thur   E 31.10.13 Fri   E 1.11.13 Sat   M 2.11.13 Sat   E 2.11.13
Medora Rojo


Klimentová Oliveira Tbc Klimentová
Conrad Golding


Muntagirov Konvalina Tbc Muntagirov


Tues   E 26.11.13 Wed   E 27.11.13 Thur   M 28.11.13 Thur   E 28.11.13 Friday   E 29.11.13 Sat   M 30.11.13 Sat   E 30.11.13
Medora Cojocaru Oliveira Tbc Cojocara Rojo Tbc Takahashi
Conrad Muntagirov Konvalina Tbc Muntagirov Golding Tbc Acosta

London Coliseum

Thursday   Eve  9.1.14 Fri  Eve 10.1.14 Sat   M 11.1.14 Saturday  Eve 11.1.14 Sunday   Mat 12.1.14
Medora Cojocaru Takahashi Oliveira Rojo Cojocaru
Conrad Muntagirov Acosta Konvalina Golding Muntagirov

London Coliseum

Tues   E 14.1.14 Wed   E 15.1.14 Thur   M 16.1.14 Thur   E 16.1.14 Fri   E 17.1.14
Medora Oliveira Cojucara Tbc Rojo Cojocaru
Conrad Konvalina Muntagirov Tbc Golding Muntagirov
Sat   M 18.1.14 Sat   E 18.1.14 Sun   M 19.1.14
Medora Takahashi Rojo Klimentová
Conrad Acosta Golding Muntagirov


Milton Keynes Theatre

0844 871 7652

17-19 October 7:30pm

17 October 2pm

19 October 2:30pm


Southampton Mayflower

023 8071 1811

22-26 October 7:30pm

24 October 2pm

26 October 2:30pm


New Theatre, Oxford

0844 871 3020

30 October- 2 November 7:30pm

31 October 2pm

2 November 2:30pm


Bristol Hippodrome

0844 871 3012

26-30 November 7:30

28 November 2pm

30 November 2:30pm


London Coliseum

020 7845 9300

9,11, 14-18 January 7:30pm

11-12, 16, 18-19 January 2:30pm


Palace Theatre Manchester

0844 871 3019

11-15 February 7:30pm

13 February 2pm

15 February 2:30pm

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