Northern Ballet | Fantastical fairytales for Autumn/Winter

Northern Ballet media release

For immediate release

24th June 2011

Fantastical fairytales, iconic Egyptians, Shakespearian tragedy and seasonal cheer from the Northern Ballet this Autumn / Winter

Northern Ballet will bring a mix of seasonal cheer and gripping tragedy to theatres across the UK with its autumn and winter 2011 tour, which will see the World Première of enchanting fairytale Beauty & the Beast, at the Leeds Grand Theatre. The tour will also feature 2011’s must-see ballet Cleopatra which premièred at the start of the year, the Company’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic Hamlet and everyone’s favourite festive story The Nutcracker.

The season starts with Hamlet, set in Nazi occupied Paris in the 1940s, which will be performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds between 9 and 17 September and at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre between 20 and 24 September. Northern Ballet’s Hamlet is co-directed by David Nixon OBE and Northern Ballet Associate Artist Patricia Doyle. The production uses powerful dance, gripping theatre and stirring live music to draw audiences deep into Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. Performed to a specially commissioned score from celebrated British composer Philip Feeney, Northern Ballet’s production is set in early 1940s occupied Paris where Hamlet’s mind unravels against a backdrop of one of the most terrifying periods of the 20th century.

Northern Ballet’s Cleopatra is back on tour following its eight-venue debut in spring this year, which received widespread critical acclaim. This remarkable story of one of the world’s best-known icons will be visiting the Nottingham Theatre Royal on 27September – 1 October, Woking New Victoria Theatre 4- 8 October and Norwich Theatre Royal 11 – 15 October.

The most recent production from Northern Ballet, Cleopatra is choreographed by Artistic Director David Nixon OBE to a score composed by celebrated composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, best known across the world for Les Misérables and Miss Saigon. Cleopatra explores the life of arguably the most powerful woman in the world at the time and her passionate love affairs with Marc Antony and Julius Caesar.

The Nutcracker is a seasonal favourite told in a traditional way. Amidst the Christmas commotion in the Edward’s family home, the fire crackles and the pile of presents grows ever higher. As the clock strikes midnight Clara’s Nutcracker doll proves to be no ordinary toy. Clara is swept away by her Nutcracker prince into a magical winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy.

Northern Ballet has set its version in the Regency period. The festivities of the season are captured by Charles Cusick Smith’s beautiful set designs, David Nixon’s vivid costumes, and Mark Jonathan’s lighting. The original score by Tchaikovsky is arranged by John Longstaff and performed live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

Beauty & the Beast is choreographed by Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE, to an infectious score comprising of music by Bizet, Debussy, Poulenc and Fauré. The ballet rediscovers the enchanting and magical aspects of the traditional story; exploring the values that lie at the heart of the tale – the battle between the forces of good and evil. Beauty & the Beast tells the story of a young prince who is magically transformed into a beast and cursed to live alone in his castle until the enchantment is broken by the sacrifice of true love.  In Beauty’s presence the Beast remembers the joy he once had and his willingness to sacrifice his life for her permits his final transformation back to a handsome Prince.

Beauty &the Beast is the second entirely new production to be created in the Northern Ballet’s new home in Leeds and makes an exciting addition to the repertoire of family ballets which already includes The Nutcracker, Peter Pan and A Christmas Carol.

Northern Ballet Artistic Director David Nixon OBE said: “I wanted to create a family show which would be equally popular with both children and adults alike. Beauty & the Beast is a classic fairytale of good versus evil, exploring the concept of beauty on the inside and the outside. This is not be an adaptation of the Disney version of the story – it is based on the original tale and will embrace the darker elements of the tale as well as the lighter, frothier moments.”

Tour Listings


West Yorkshire Playhouse  

Fri 9 – Sat 17 September 

Box Office: 0113 213 7700



Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

Tue 20 – Sat 24 September

Box Office: 0114 249 6000




Nottingham Theatre Royal

Tue 27 Sept – Sat 1 Oct

Box Office:  0115 989 555

Woking New Victoria Theatre
Tue 4– Sat 8 Oct

Box Office:  0844 8717645

Norwich Theatre Royal

Tue 11 Oct – Sat 15 Oct

Box Office:  01603 630000



The Nutcracker

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Tue 25 – Sat 29 October

Box Office: 00844 871 7614

Canterbury Marlowe Theatre

Tue 1 – Sat 5 November

Box Office: 01227 787787

Bradford Alhambra Theatre

Tue 8 – Sat 12 November

Box Office: 01274 432000

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tues 15 – Sat 19 November

Box Office: 08448 11 21 21


Manchester Opera House

Tue 22 – Sat 26 November

Box Office: 0844 847 2484



Beauty & the Beast

Leeds Grand Theatre

Sat 17 – Sat 31 December

Box Office: 0844 848 2701


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


Music Claude-Michel Schönberg

Choreography David Nixon

Scenario Claude-Michel Schönberg, David Nixon and Patricia Doyle

Orchestrations John Longstaff and Claude-Michel Schönberg

Co-Directed David Nixon and Patricia Doyle

Designed David Nixon and Christopher Giles

Lighting Design Tim Mitchell

Projections Nina Dunn

The Nutcracker

Choreography, Direction and Costume Design:

David Nixon OBE

Set Design Charles Cusick Smith

Lighting Design Mark Jonathan

Music Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Reduced Orchestration John Longstaff

Costume Design Assistant Christopher Giles

Beauty & the Beast

Choreography by David Nixon

Music by Georges Bizet, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc and Gabriel Fauré

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