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Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2014-15 season

Posted on April 4, 2014


Birmingham Royal Ballet has announced plans for the new season at the Birmingham Hippodrome, including a recreation of Robert Helpmann’s Miracle in the Gorbals and artistic director David Bintley’s new one-act ballet, The King Dances.


The season opens at Birmingham Hippodrome on September 30 with the return of Bintley’s Beauty and the Beast.

It’s followed by Shadows of War, a triple bill of ballets touched by war. Kenneth MacMillan’s La Fin du jour evokes the glamorous 1930s, with bright young things enjoying swimming, golf and aeroplanes, despite the looming threat of war. Helpmann’s Miracle in the Gorbals, created in 1944, was a hugely popular dance drama but has not been seen for decades. A Stranger appears in a bleak Glasgow slum, where he revives a young woman who has committed suicide.

The choreography will be recreated by Gillian Lynne, a member of the original cast, with sets and costumes by Adam Wiltshire after the original designs by artist Edward Burra. Bintley’s own Flowers of the Forest opens with a light-hearted view of Scotland to music by Malcolm Arnold. The second part, danced to a folk-inspired score by the young Benjamin Britten, is darker, evoking the deaths at the battle of Flodden. Shadows of War runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome from October 8 to 11, before touring.

Peter Wright’s much-loved production of The Nutcracker runs from November 28 to December 13. In the new year, the company dance Moving Stateside, a triple bill of ballets by American-based choreographers. The lyrical Serenade was the first ballet George Balanchine created after moving to America. Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces was created for Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2012, danced to music by Edvard Grieg. Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room is an athletic ballet danced in both pointe shoes and sneakers. Moving Stateside runs from February 18 to 21. Peter Wright’s production of Coppélia returns from February 24 to 28.

David Bintley celebrates 20 years as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet with a double bill of The King Dances and Carmina Burana, running from June 17 to 20. The King Dances is a new work inspired by Louis XIV of France, known as the Sun King after he danced the role of Apollo the sun god in a court ballet. Using a new score by Stephen Montague, Bintley reimagines the very beginnings of classical ballet. Carmina Burana was the first work Bintley created for Birmingham Royal Ballet as director, danced to Carl Orff’s dramatic choral score. For these performances, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia will be joined by Birmingham’s Ex Cathedra choir.

The 2014–15 Birmingham Hippodrome season ends with a revival of Bintley’s Sylvia, which frames the traditional mythological story with a tale of a quarrelling married couple, who are taken back to mythical Rome to learn how to reconcile their differences.

The company will be touring Beauty and the Beast to The Lowry, Salford, Sadler’s Wells, London, the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and the Sunderland Empire Theatre. Shadows of War will tour to Sadler’s Wells and the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. Further tour dates will be announced later.


Pictures: Birmingham Royal Ballet in Serenade. Photograph by Roy Smiljanic.


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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