Northern Ballet goes to the ball

November 19, 2013

Press Releases

Northern Ballet goes to the ball

Northern Ballet will bring the ultimate rags to riches fairy-tale to the stage this December with a magical new production of Cinderella by David Nixon OBE. It will have its World Première at Leeds Grand Theatre on Tuesday 17 December and will tour nationally in 2014.

In David Nixon’s ballet, set within a fantasy world of Imperial Russia, Cinderella’s life is turned upside down following the death of her father. Subject to the coldness and cruelty of her step mother, and kept as a servant by her family, Cinderella’s life is transformed once again following a magical encounter in a market place. As romance blossoms, can Prince Charming see beyond the servant girl and fall in love with the real Cinderella?

Duncan Hayler’s (Beauty & the Beast, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) fantastical set designs transport the audience through a Russian-inspired landscape where Cinderella marvels at the magician and circus performers at the winter fair, finds a moments freedom skating on a crystal lake and finally, magically, arrives at the ball, a palace of elegance and wealth.

Choreographer David Nixon has placed some universal themes at the heart of his ballet: the contrast between the lives of those who experience freedom, warmth and love and those who experience loneliness, unable to enjoy their liberty; the many faces of love, the love of our family and the love of those who will become our family; the absolute darkness of grief and the transforming power of generosity.

David explains, “My Cinderella strays far from the pantomime interpretation. Amidst all the action, magic and fun lies the story of a real woman and man who must travel their separate roads to ultimate happiness even though that journey is fraught with challenge. Cinderella is ultimately a joyous story but it is not without pain, grief and loneliness.”

Northern Ballet is renowned for creating unique interpretations of classic stories and Cinderella will be no exception. The colourful tapestry of Russia will lend new magic and wonder to this very traditional story. Rather than a fairy godmother, a magician is one of the central protagonists, and in preparation for the production Northern Ballet’s dancers have been learning magic and circus skills.

Northern Ballet has commissioned Philip Feeney to write a new score which will be played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia at all performances. Tim Mitchell (Hamlet and Dracula) is creating the lighting and Julie Anderson assists David Nixon in costume design. 

Cinderella is David Nixon’s fifteenth new full-length production for Northern Ballet where he has been Artistic Director since 2001.


Production credits 

Choreography and Direction: David Nixon OBE

Music: Philip Feeney

Associate Director and original scenario: Patricia Doyle

Set Design: Duncan Hayler

Lighting Design: Tim Mitchell

Costume Design: David Nixon

Costume Design Assistant: Julie Anderson

Magic Consultant: Richard Pinner

Circus skills training provided by Greentop Circus


Tour listings


Leeds Grand Theatre (World Première)

Tue 17 December 2013 – Sat 4 January 2014

Preview Mon 16 December

Box Office 0844 848 2701



Hull New Theatre

Wed 2 – Sat 5 April

Box Office 01482 300 300



Cardiff New Theatre

Tue 8 – Sat 12 April

Box Office 029 2087 8889



Touring in autumn 2014 to: Norwich, Newcastle, Belfast, Manchester and Sheffield.


Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s five large ballet companies. Based in Leeds it performs throughout the UK as well as overseas. Northern Ballet’s productions mix classical dance and theatre, embracing popular culture and taking inspiration from literature, opera, or giving a unique interpretation of popular classical ballets.


Northern Ballet is the busiest touring ballet company in the UK and is typically on the road for around 24 weeks of the year. The Company of 40 dancers tours a combination of new works and established repertoire to cities throughout the UK and are the only large scale ballet company to do so.

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