Scottish Ballet presents the world premiere of Alice

poster for Alice by scottish ballet with a dancer ina blue dress

Sophie Martin as Alice in Scottish Ballet’s Alice. Photograph by Graham Wylie

PRESS INFORMATION

From Scottish Ballet

March 2011

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Scottish Ballet presents the world premiere of Alice

Sponsored by Adam & Company

Choreography Ashley Page

Music Robert Moran

Design Antony McDonald

Touring Glasgow / Edinburgh / Inverness / Cardiff / Aberdeen

April – May 2011

This spring, Scottish Ballet presents the world premiere of Alice, an extraordinary adventure into the depths of imagination, sponsored by Adam & Company.

After tumbling through a camera lens, Alice finds herself in a strange dreamlike place. Drifting through episodes from Lewis Carroll’s treasured stories, she meets a series of fantastical characters who each impatiently try to teach her something, and guided by Carroll himself, she has to rely on her wits to find her way out.

Featuring choreography by Artistic Director Ashley Page, otherworldly designs from Antony McDonald and a specially commissioned musical score by Robert Moran, this is an unforgettable take on the most curious of tales.

three ballet dancers in rehearsal

Sophie Martin, Tama Barry and Victor Zarallo in rehearsals for Ashley Page’s Alice. Photograph by Andrew Ross

Almost 150 years ago three sisters – Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell – shared a leisurely boat trip on the river Isis with family friend Reverend Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). The children began to grow restless and Alice, the feistiest of the three, begged Dodgson to invent for her a wonderful story ‘with lots of nonsense in it’ – and so Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland began.

In this brand new production for Scottish Ballet, Artistic Director Ashley Page takes scenarios and characters from both Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Carroll’s sublimely surreal sequel published some six years after Wonderland, to create a magical new ‘life through a lens’.

And indeed photography and imagery plays an important role in this new Alice. Not only does Alice tumble into a strange new world through Dodgson’s camera lens (he was a photographer and inventor as well as mathematician and clergyman, and is often considered one of the best amateur photographers of his time) but look closely and you’ll see photographs of Alice taken by Dodgson worked through the set, and specifically the beautiful Victorian magic lantern style animations that feature throughout the piece.

four ballet dancers practicing a move with one arm

Sophie Martin, Erik Cavaralli, Adam Blyde and Tomomi Sato in rehearsals for Ashley Page’s Alice. Photograph by Andrew Ross

“When approaching this new Alice ballet, it felt important to attempt to do more than merely re-tell Carroll’s tales in dance form,” explained Page.

“There is so much history attached to the stories and their creator – as well as much documentation of his relationship with the real-life Alice, that our creative team felt it that to delve into these magical books without making some kind of commentary on this fascinating man would be almost to miss the point.

“In our brand new production, we have placed Dodgson (Carroll) centre stage, alongside Alice herself, sharing the spotlight with his most famous creation and the object of an obsession that triggered arguably the most famous children’s stories of all time.

“And while we have episodes from the stories to hang the action on, and of course some of the authors most loved creations will feature, our Alice will feel more ‘in the spirit’ of Carroll than straight off the page.”

four dancers rehearse in the ballet studio

Constance Devernay, Katie Webb, Nathalie Dupouy and Laura Joffre in rehearsals for Ashley Page’s Alice. Photograph by Andrew Ross

This brand new production of Alice sees Page work once more with composer Robert Moran who Scottish Ballet commissioned to create a brand new score.

“As I researched Alice and her time,” says Moran. “I was interested to read that Opium was freely available at any British pharmacy, and it made me wonder about the hallucinogenic and surreal sequences in Carroll’s book.

“It led me to think about the caterpillar sat upon a gigantic mushroom, smoking his hookah.  A nice image but how does one get that caterpillar off his mushroom for some dancing?

“I asked Ashley about such a problem and he answered ‘Why not compose a tango?’ That set me off and I created musical sequences to redefine each character – the caterpillar is a tango teacher, volatile with a dash of schizophrenia.  Alice attempts his steps but is lost and her teacher becomes frustrated and unhinged.  As I unravelled the story and characters in my mind it really got me thinking, what is it all about?”

And not only does Scottish Ballet’s Alice feature a Dali-esque, tango-dancing Caterpillar but, with designer Antony McDonald, Page has created a world of delightfully curious characters that include an eccentric Humpty Dumpty with design cues by way of late British artist Leigh Bowery, a busking, trumpet playing Mock Turtle dressed in Harris Tweed fabric and a Cheshire Cat with showbiz style to match her enormous grin.

Antony has also worked with Scottish Ballet sponsors M·A·C, and most specifically M·A·C Senior Artist Caroline Donnelly to create some beautiful make up looks for the characters in Alice – a first for the make up brand who have sponsored the Company for several years.

“When I saw the designs Antony had created for Alice I was absolutely stunned by the beautiful fantasy and fashion elements that worked so incredibly together,” explained Caroline.

“I worked with Antony to choose the right colours and textures for the make up.  I wanted to make the colours work with the costumes as well as choose products that would stay put on the face, and in this case, sometimes the body.

“As the make up designs were very editorial it was very exciting for me to interpret this into the context of ballet and how the make up itself had to perform.”

Alice is sponsored by Adam & Company. Adam & Company has been a supporter of the arts for many years and this is its third year as headline tour sponsor of Scottish Ballet.

Scottish Ballet’s dedication to staging performances of the highest standards reflects perfectly Adam’s aim to provide the very highest levels of service to all of its clients, and last year Adam & Company received a commendation in the Arts & Business Scotland Awards for its sponsorship of Scottish Ballet’s 2009 autumn season.

Graham Storrie, Managing Director of Adam & Company said: “Adam & Company is delighted to be continuing its sponsorship of Scottish Ballet and to be further developing our partnership for this production of Alice.”

“As with all of our sponsorships that have charitable status, we feel that it is important to provide our support, particularly in such challenging economic times, so that we can help preserve this wonderful art for future generations and enable outstanding work to be produced and performed.

“Simultaneously, it is important for us to be able to thank our clients for their support and provide access to bespoke rehearsals and productions and our association with Scottish ballet is an excellent way of showing our appreciation.”

Cindy Sughrue, Chief Executive and Executive Producer at Scottish Ballet added: “We are delighted to be embarking on the third year of our very successful sponsorship with Adam & Company. Their continued support of Scottish Ballet is testament to the benefits that both companies receive and we look forward to working with them on our world premiere of Alice.

Alice premieres at Theatre Royal Glasgow 12 – 16 April, before touring Scotland and to Cardiff.

Adam & Company is one of Scotland’s leading private banks, and a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group of companies. Adam & Company provides banking, investment management and financial planning services to private individuals and their families, and has over £1.6bn of private client funds under management. Further information on the range of services offered by Adam & Company can be obtained by visiting the website www.adambank.com.

On 24 March at 8pm Scottish Ballet will host a special Alice On Screen event at Eden Court Cinema, Inverness. Opening with an exclusive preview of the concepts behind the Company’s new production of Alice, including the music, set and costume designs, the evening will conclude with a one-off screening of Jan Svankmajer’s 1988 film Alice, a surrealist take on Lewis Carroll’s stories combining live action and stop-motion animation. For more information, or to book tickets please contact Eden Court box office directly on 014630 234 234.

From 7pm on 21 April, audiences can join Alice through their computer screens as Scottish Ballet broadcasts live the Company’s ‘half hour call’ before the curtain rises at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. Streamed on www.scottishballet.co.uk, fans can watch the dancers making final preparations for the evening’s performance of Alice.

And visitors to the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh can also enjoy a very special Alice themed exhibition featuring early editions of the original Alice books, glimpses of Scottish Ballet’s costume designs and much more. The exhibition runs from 18 March – 1 May.  Please contact the National Library of Scotland on 0131 623 3700 for further exhibition information

Throughout the tour members of the public can engage with the Company and its new production of Alice via a wide range of Access All Areas events. Access All Areas is supported by The Herald and includes free pre-show talks with members of the Artistic and Music team, insight and family insight events with the chance to discover the inspirations behind Alice and watch the dancers take class on stage (from £5/£3 concession) and benefit from special audio described performances and touch tours. Please see listings for more information.

Scottish Ballet is also hosting a series of national tea parties in Glasgow (Scottish Ballet, 13 April), Edinburgh (Dancebase, 20 April) and Aberdeen (His Majesty’s Theatre, 11 May) and senior groups and individuals (age 50+) are invited to come along and watch a performance by Scottish Ballet’s Regenerate group, find out more about Alice and take part in a sociable dance session with the chance to relax for a chat with cake and a cup of tea after.  For more information on this opportunity please contact helen.coughtrie@scottishballet.co.uk or call 0141 331 6285.

Scottish Ballet have worked with award-winning Scottish design studio Timorous Beasties to create special Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit illustrations that can be seen on the Company’s promotional Alice posters. These designs will also feature on the labels of Limited Edition wines from Scottish Ballet sponsor Inverarity Vaults, comprising of new arrivals to the Inverarity portfolio: Chateau La Croix St Benoit and Talmard Macon Uchizy.  Retailing at £12.49 and £13.99 respectively, 10% of all sales will go to Scottish Ballet.  The wines will be available to purchase through Inverarity’s retail arm, One to One, which has an online store at www.inverarity121.com, and a shop in Glasgow (185a Bath Street). For more press information please contact Steph Middleton steph@inverarity-vaults.com / 07515 738605.

Members of the public are also invited to ‘invite’ their chosen characters to the Company’s Very Important Tea Party Appeal – a special fundraising initiative in which each character has been assigned a donation level from £35 (The Cards) to £1000 (Alice). Benefits associated with the different levels range from accreditation in the Alice programme to a special tour of Scottish Ballet’s headquarters with a focus on the technical aspect of the production, and even the chance to watch the dancers rehearse Alice. To date the Very Important Tea Party Appeal has raised over £10,000 – half way to its £20,000 target. To donate online please visit www.scottishballet.co.uk/support-us/individual-support.htm or email support@scottishballet.co.uk for more information.

LISTINGS

THEATRE ROYAL GLASGOW

TUESDAY 12 – SATURDAY 16 APRIL 2011

Evenings 12-16 Apr at 7.30pm

Matinees 14, 16 Apr at 2pm

Free pre-show talk on Thurs 14 and Fri 15 April at 6.30pm. Call Box Office to reserve tickets.

Insight (suitable for ages 10+) on Thurs 14 April at 11am.  Tickets £5, concession £3.

Family Insight on Sat 16 April at 11am.  Tickets £5, concession £3, family ticket for four people £12.

Audio Described Performance on Sat 16 April at 12.30pm, preceded by a touch tour.

Tickets from £9.50-£34.50.  Discounts available, contact Box Office.

Box Office 0844 871 7647

Booking Online www.ambassadortickets.com/glasgow

FESTIVAL THEATRE EDINBURGH

WEDNESDAY 20 – SATURDAY 23 APRIL 2011

Evenings 20-23 Apr at 7.30pm

Matinees 21, 23 Apr at 2pm

Tickets from £10-£37.  Discounts available, contact Box Office.

Box Office 0131 529 6000

Booking Online www.festivaltheatre.org.uk

EDEN COURT THEATRE INVERNESS

WEDNESDAY 27 – SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2011

Evenings 27-30 Apr at 7.30pm

Matinees 28, 30 Apr at 2pm

Free pre-show talk on Thurs 28 and Fri 29 Apr at 6.30pm. Call Box Office to reserve tickets.

Insight (suitable for ages 10+) on Thurs 28 Apr at 11am.  Tickets £5, concession £3.

Family Insight on Sat 30 Apr at 11am.  Tickets £5, concession £3, family ticket for four people £12.

Audio Described Performance on Sat 30 Apr at 12.30pm, preceded by a touch tour.

Tickets from £9-£26.  Discounts available, contact Box Office.

Box Office 01463 234 234

Booking Online www.eden-court.co.uk

WALES MILLENIUM CENTRE CARDIFF

WEDNESDAY 4 – SATURDAY 7 MAY 2011

Evenings 4-7 May at 7.30pm

Matinees 7 May at 2pm

Free pre-show talk on Fri 6 & Sat 7 May at 6.30pm. Call Box Office to reserve tickets.

WMC Family Day on Sat 7 May.  A fun day for all the family including tours, free activities, stalls and workshops.

Tickets from £12-£40.  Discounts available, contact Box Office.

Box Office 0844 871 7647

Booking Online www.ambassadortickets.com/glasgow

HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE ABERDEEN

WEDNESDAY 11 – SATURDAY 14 MAY 2011

Evenings 11-14 May at 7.30pm

Matinees 12, 14 May at 2pm

Free pre-show talk on Thurs 12 and Fri 13 May at 6.30pm. Call Box Office to reserve tickets.

Insight (suitable for ages 10+) on Thurs 12 May at 11am.  Tickets £5, concession £3.

Family Insight on Sat 14 May at 11am.  Tickets £5, concession £3, family ticket for four people £12.

Audio Described Performance on Sat 14 May at 12.30pm, preceded by a touch tour.

Tickets from £11.50-£28.50.  Discounts available, contact Box Office.

Box Office 01224 641122

Booking Online www.boxofficeaberdeen.com

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2 Responses to “Scottish Ballet presents the world premiere of Alice”

  1. May Says:

    Can’t help recalling that Royal Ballet is also doing an Alice, but this looks very intriguing. Really, really like their community and fundraising programme – looks like they try to be inclusive of everyone.

  2. cloudia charters Says:

    What awesome pics!

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

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