Saturday, 17 January 2015

Preview: The Nutcracker at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal

Scottish Ballet’s Spectacular Return To Newcastle’s Theatre Royal
The Nutcracker
Newcastle’s Theatre Royal
Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 February.

A dazzling world of dancing snowflakes, sumptuous sweets and a spectacular sugar plum fairy await ballet fans at Newcastle Theatre Royal as Scottish Ballet returns with family favourite, Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker from Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 February.

The production is a re-creation of the ballet originally produced over forty years ago by Peter Darrell, Scottish Ballet’s founding Artistic Director - a famous story-teller and an incredible dance-maker.

Erik Cavallari as the Prince
with Sophie Martin as the Sugar Plum Fairy
in Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker.
Photo: Andy Ross.
Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director, Christopher Hampson, explained: “I’d known about Darrell’s production of The Nutcracker when I was a child. The images of the hanging baubles in Act Two was in just about every dance book there was. A Nutcracker production, for most ballet companies, is a very important part of the repertoire. It is normally the most performed work and needs to be something that will last for generations. Peter’s production had done that, but it needed to be rested so that it could be rediscovered again and brought back with a fresh perspective. It’s no accident that I’ve chosen a Darrell work to put at the very heart of our repertoire.”

Peter Darrell’s magical world of The Nutcracker has been re-imagined for today’s audiences by Olivier Award winning designer Lez Brotherston, adding sumptuous layers of plush Victoriana and traditional festive fare to the original 1973 production. “This production will be as close to Peter’s original as possible - the point of bringing the production back is to see his beautiful, intricate choreography,” adds Hampson.  “In terms of design, I asked Lez to take inspiration from the original designs. So, although they are different, there will still be a sense of the original production.
“The essence of this being a family production is the key element – and we’ve looked to gently incorporate some new ideas for a new audience. We’ve been working closely with the Peter Darrell Trust to ensure that our new production has Peter’s intentions at its heart.”

“The brief of the piece was unusual in that it existed before.  It’s Peter’s production and it still feels like that – as it should do,” says Designer Lez Brotherston. “Peter’s original designer was Philip Prowse and that feels quite meaningful to me personally.  Philip’s work was of great inspiration to me when I was at art school – he tutored me on my final-year designs and his influences have stayed with me.
“It’s still set in the 1870s and has that sumptuous, rich Victoriana feeling – and there are bustles and tutus of course, but some of the costumes have been adapted to better show off the dancers’ line and the choreography.
 “Those who have seen the production before will remember Darrell’s famous Land of Sweets – that’s still there although my sweeties are slightly different, and there’s a version of the Land of Snow too.  My interpretation of the house is also a little different and maybe there’ll be something special about the toys that the children receive as Christmas presents – you’ll have to come along to see.”

Darrell's enchanting production has sparked the ballet careers of many young dancers who performed the roles of Clara and her brothers - including Scottish Ballet Principal Dancer Christopher Harrison who has seen his own dream come true and will be this time performing the star role of The Prince some twenty years later. 

Once again Scottish Ballet welcomes a very special cast of young dancers to the ranks of the Company's professionals for this inspiring production in which Clara, the littlest ballerina, is the one who visits the many magical worlds and saves the brave Nutcracker Prince.

The Scottish Ballet Orchestra will also accompany the dancers live, performing the world famous Tchaikovsky score.

Scottish Ballet’s production of Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker  appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 February 2015. Tickets are available from £11.50 (a booking fee of 95p - £1.95 will apply to most tickets) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at

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