Northern Ballet’s compelling ballet Hamlet returns to the Yorkshire stage

August 10, 2011

Press Releases

Northern Ballet media release

For Immediate Release

Compelling ballet Hamlet returns to the Yorkshire stage  

ballet dancer dressed in black

Northern Ballet's Hamlet, Tobias Batley as Hamlet. Photograph : Jason Tozer

Northern Ballet’s widely-acclaimed production of Hamlet returns to theatres in Yorkshirethis autumn with performances at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 9 – 17 September and Sheffield Lyceum Theatre on 20 – 24 September.

Created by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director David Nixon OBE and co-directed by Northern Ballet Associate Artist Patricia Doyle, the production originally premièred in 2008. It is set in the early 1940s in Nazi occupiedParis, where Hamlet’s mind unravels against the backdrop of one of the most terrifying periods in modern history. Billed a ‘big boys ballet’ the production challenges traditional assumptions about ballet and is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat.

two ballet dancers on stage

Northern Ballet HAMLET Grand Leeds 15 Feb 08. NATHALIE LÉGER (Gertrude) & DARREN GOLDSMITH (Claudius). Photograph: Dee Conway

The ballet is performed to a specially commissioned score from celebrated British composer Philip Feeney and follows a young man who arrives back from the front to find his home and world is not the one he left behind. His father is dead, his mother has married his Uncle and the enemy occupies his city. As his world descends into chaos, the boundaries between truth and deception, sanity and insanity become distorted.

David Nixon says: “Hamlet is a young man who starts out with everything but loses it all. It is a story that people immediately identify with and there is much about it that has resonance in our darker corners. Maybe that’s why it is so popular, because somewhere deep inside of us, at some time, we all debate whether to be or not to be.”

On the challenges of writing a scenario based on such a well-known literary work, Patricia Doyle says: “It was daunting as we couldn’t use any of the text – the famous soliloquies – but instead express these in dance and with emotion. Through dance, we can interpret the story and its central character in another way, staying true to Shakespeare’s inspiration and imagination, but at the same time making it a little more contemporary by relating it to a fairly recent past.”

Hamlet is brought to life with atmospheric lighting from Tim Mitchell and stunning 1940s Parisian style sets and costumes from ex-Northern ballet dancer Christopher Giles.


two ballet dancers on stage

Northern Ballet's Hamlet, Tobias Batley as Hamlet with Victoria Sibson as Gertrude Photograph : Jason Tozer




Venue: West Yorkshire Playhouse,Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill,Leeds,LS2 7UP

Dates: Fri 9 September – Sun 15 September

Performances: Evenings – 7.15pm, Matinees: Sat 10 and 17 Sept – 2pm . Tickets: £20 – £30 (Discounts, concessions and group rates available)

Box Office:  0113 213 7700 or West Yorkshire Playhouse website


Venue: Sheffield Lyceum Theatre,55 Norfolk Street,Sheffield,S1 1DA

Dates: Tues 20 September – Sat 24 September

Performances: Evenings – 7.45pm, Matinees: Wed – 2pm and Sat- 3pm  Tickets: £16 – £32 (Discounts, concessions and group rates available)

Box Office: 0114 249 6000 or Sheffield Theatre website 

Northern Ballet Revealed, £4

See for yourself what it takes to be a dancer when you watch our dancers put through their paces in daily class and find out more about Hamlet with an informal talk.

Wed 21 September, 10.45am – 12.15pm at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre


Production credits:

Choreography and Direction: David Nixon

Co-Direction: Patricia Doyle

Music: Philip Feeney

Design: Christopher Giles

Lighting Design: Tim Mitchell

Scenario: David Nixon and Patricia Doyle

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