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Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes

Posted on April 5, 2016


New Adventures has announced the world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, a new production based on the celebrated film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

The production will tour the UK this winter, with an eight week Christmas season at Sadler’s Wells. The designs will be by Lez Brotherston, with music by golden age Hollywood film composer Bernard Hermann, arranged by Terry Davies.

Made in 1948, The Red Shoes starred Moira Shearer as an ambitious young dancer torn between love and her dancing career. The film had many more dancers and dance people in its cast, including Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine and Marie Rambert. It’s famous for its romantic atmosphere, visual daring and the sumptuous colour palette of Powell and Pressburger.

Matthew Bourne said: “It has been a long-held ambition of mine to bring The Red Shoes to the stage as a dance/drama. It is set in the theatrical world of a touring dance company. It is actually about dance and dancers, a world that we all understand so well. However, the film’s genius is to make that theatrical world at times surreal, larger than life and highly cinematic. My challenge will be to capture some of that surreal, sensuous quality within the more natural theatre setting. It has also long been an ambition of mine to bring the incomparable music of Bernard Hermann to the stage. It has been fascinating to discover how much of this music lends itself to storytelling through dance and this production will, I believe, be the first full length ballet to celebrate his unique music.”

At the press conference announcing the new production, Bourne said that the music had been selected from a number of Hermann’s film scores, including The Ghost and Mrs Muir and Citizen Kane, and from a number of concert works, although Bourne has decided not to use any of the music composed for the films of Alfred Hitchcock.

The leading role of Victoria Page will be created by Ashley Shaw. Currently appearing in New Adventures’ Sleeping Beauty, Shaw has danced many of the company’s leading roles, including the heroines of Nutcracker!, The Car Man, Edward Scissorhands and Cinderella. She was Dancing Times’ Dancer of the Month in February 2016. Asked if she would dye her hair red for the role, Shaw said that she was prepared to do it, but a red wig had already been created for her to wear.

Picture: Ashley Shaw in the role of Victoria Page

Tour dates

Tickets for the Christmas run at Sadler’s Wells are already on sale. Tickets for performances at other venues will be on sale soon.

November 21–26, 2016

Theatre Royal, Plymouth

November 29 – December 3, 2016

The Lowry, Manchester

December 6, 2016 –January 29, 2017

Sadler’s Wells, London

January 31 – February 4, 2017

New Victoria Theatre, Woking

February 7–11, 2017

Birmingham Hippodrome

February 14–18, 2017  

Milton Keynes Theatre

February 21–25, 2017

Theatre Royal, Norwich

March 7–11, 2017  

Theatre Royal, Nottingham

March 14–18, 2017

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

March 21–25, 2017 

The Mayflower, Southampton

March 28–April 1, 2017  

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

April 4–9,  2017

Bristol Hippodrome

April 11–15, 2017 

New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon

Further dates to be announced

Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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