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Birmingham Royal Ballet to stream NUTCRACKER live from Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Birmingham Royal Ballet to stream NUTCRACKER live from Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Photo: Bella Kotak

Following news of Birmingham’s Tier 3 status together with ongoing uncertainty about what will be possible post 16 December, Birmingham Royal Ballet has taken the difficult decision to move their 2020 adapted version of The Nutcracker online. The magical Christmas production will be streamed live from The Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday 18 December at 7.30pm, giving audiences an experience as close to watching it live in the theatre as is possible. 

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The REP will be available to watch as a  livestream event at 7.30pm on Friday 18th December.  It will then be available to view as a video-on-demand recording from Saturday 19th to Thursday 24th December.  Video-on-demand sales close at midnight on 21st December, but can be viewed until midnight on Christmas Eve.

Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta said ‘I guess you could say we’re trying to look on the bright side at the moment! By live streaming this new adapted version of our famous and much-loved production we can proceed with confidence and focus on making the event as special as possible for our wonderful audiences and now, wherever you are in the world, you can be part of it. I can’t deny it’s disappointing not to see everyone’s happy faces in the theatre, but we will plan to end the year on a Christmas high, finding ways of celebrating is important right now.’

Sean Foley, Artistic Director at The REP said: ‘We hope this newly announced Live Stream performance of The Nutcracker at The REP will bring a flurry of theatrical magic and seasonal warmth into families’ homes this Christmas. Teams at The REP and Birmingham Royal Ballet have been working tirelessly since new safety measures were announced to make this very special, one-off adaptation of the classic festive tale. We are tremendously excited to share it with thousands of people across the world at the same time – the first time ever a performance has been streamed ‘Live from The Birmingham REP’.

In light of the performances being cancelled the Company has again focused on finding solutions and decided to tackle uncertainties by enabling audiences to enjoy the world premiere of this new adaptation from home. After the cancellation of this year’s full production at the Royal Albert Hall, this will be the one chance to experience Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Christmas classic this year.

The full-length Nutcracker will be shortened to an 80-minute magical experience that will retain all of the most enchanting moments and characters you would expect and hope for –  Snowflakes, Drosselmeyer, Fritz and Clara’s Christmas Eve party, King Rat’s battle, the Kingdom of Sweets dances from around the world, the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy and, of course, The Nutcracker Prince – and features the cherished Tchaikovsky score performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy.

Ticket holders for this pay per view production will also be able to enjoy some extra treats the Company have tied together with a seasonal red bow to make the experience as special as possible.

People who have bought tickets for the original live performances The REP will be contacted by the box office.

This year’s performance will ensure the safety of all performers, technical crew and staff.

Two performances featuring two different casts will be captured at The REP. The second film will feature three third year students from The Royal Ballet School performing Trepak, the Russian dance, and students from Elmhurst Ballet School dancing Snowflakes will be available for audiences to watch online in early 2021.

Birmingham Royal Ballet is committed to offering performance opportunities for students of the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School, especially at this time when such opportunities are so rare for students starting out in their careers.

Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s social media pages will reflect a celebration of The Nutcracker throughout the run, including exclusive new dance footage, ballet lessons for the very young and behind-the-scenes insights and the premiere of a new animated film inspired by The Nutcracker created with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s second company, Freefall, whose exceptionally talented dancers have learning disabilities.

The Nutcracker at The REP

1st Cast:

Clara: Karla Doorbar

The Prince: César Morales

The Sugar Plum Fairy: Momoko Hirata

Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy

Running Time: 90 minutes – Including a short interval and exciting behind-the-scenes access

Fri 18 Dec – 7.30pm Live Stream

Tickets: £15 per device

Booking Information:

New creative partnership between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre announced

New creative partnership between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre announced


A brand-new partnership has been confirmed between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which will see the two established companies combine creative ingenuity to stage new dance works in the heart of Birmingham city centre. The partnership will be launched with four shows for live audiences in October, following the recent announcement by the government allowing socially distanced performances to happen in theatres.

The world premiere performances of Lazuli Sky, choreographed by Will Tuckett, as part of a triple bill of ballet with live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia will take place at The REP on 22 – 24 October, with 150 tickets on sale to the public for each of four shows. The show will also be filmed at The REP for broadcast in November via ‘pay per view’ media to audiences unable to attend the live shows.

This new partnership has enabled Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP to work together to find a way to entertain audiences and help revive Birmingham’s cultural life after lockdown.

Carlos Acosta, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, says:

‘After joining Birmingham Royal Ballet at the beginning of the year, I set about making new friends in the city, knowing that collaboration was key to a successful and creative art form. Sean Foley, also new to the job of Artistic Director of The REP, and I spoke about an exciting cross-sector partnership, using the best of our creative networks in theatre and in dance to develop new work. It became clear that we shared a vision and commitment to making Birmingham the greatest city in the Arts.

This year, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates 30 years of working in the heart of Birmingham. Whilst the Company continues to enjoy strong bonds with its home venue, Birmingham Hippodrome, our work to bring back large-scale, classic ballets with them is not yet complete, and will require government approval. The new partnership between Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP will complement the relationship with Birmingham Hippodrome, and enhance creative development throughout this great city.

Sean Foley, Artistic Director of The REP says: “Carlos Acosta and I are both honoured to be leading amazing cultural institutions in a great international city. It is part of our job to amplify, celebrate, and create work about that city, delivering excitement and artistic excellence for the people of Birmingham and wider afield – both nationally, and internationally.

“Particularly now, in order to survive and thrive, the Arts must find new and inventive ways to collaborate and create new works. The REP has an unrivalled pioneering history in UK theatre – from staging the world’s first modern dress Shakespeare, to being a national leader in community development and creative learning, it has always been a theatre that seeks the cultural collisions that make extraordinary art for ordinary people. This is the beginning of an exciting partnership that will encompass full-scale productions, and new ways to create audiences together. Combining The REP’s own history with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s reputation for world-class ballet gives us both hope that we can help establish Birmingham as the very best city for theatre, for dance and the creative arts.”


Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Autumn Mixed Bill will be staged at The REP from 22 – 24 October, with tickets on sale via, before heading to Sadler’s Wells in London from 29 – 31 October, with further information and booking details available in mid-September from

Family groups will be able to sit together, but will be protected by taking neighbouring seats out of commission.

The performance will be filmed at The REP for broadcast in November, with more information to be confirmed soon.

World Premiere of Lazuli Sky, choreographed by Will Tuckett

Lazuli Sky will be the first one-act ballet to be commissioned and presented by Carlos Acosta as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, a role which he started in January 2020 shortly before the COVID-19 crisis hit. At the beginning of lockdown, Carlos turned to British choreographer Will Tuckett and asked him to create a new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet that is inspired by, and utilises, ‘social distancing’.

In response to the evolving way in which dance and live performance can once again be staged, Tuckett and his fully collaborative team, including designer Samuel Wyer and projection designer Nina Dunn, are creating a unique piece set to Shaker Loops by John Adams, which will be performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy. The ballet will be performed within a projected environment and will use architectural forms as part of the costuming that will help ‘socially distance’ the 12 dancers. In addition, an augmented reality experience is being created in collaboration with James Simpson to provide an alternate to the ‘live’ experience, using elements of volumetric capture and a digitally altered version of sections of the choreography.

The deep, speckled blue of the treasured Lapis Lazuli gemstone formed the base for the most precious and expensive of colours in the Renaissance painter’s palette. It created the beautiful expanse of Leonardo da Vinci’s sky. During the recent period of lockdown, the creative team has been drawn to the open clarity of sky, wind-shaped landscapes, and birdsong, without the distractions of normal everyday living. These form the inspiration and backdrop to this outward looking, hopeful and regenerative piece.

Our Waltzes, choreographed by Vicente Nebrada

To be performed by ten dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet, this Latin infused collection of neo-classical work celebrating love and romance by Venezuelan choreographer Vicente Nebrada has been performed for over 40 years. Filling the stage with fluid movements, love, romance and passion, Our Waltzes was created for the International Ballet of Caracas in the late 1970s and has since appeared in the repertory of many international companies.

The score for Our Waltzes draws together music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries by a Who’s Who of Venezuelan composers of the period: Teresa Carreño, Salvador Llamozas, Manuel Guadalajara, Isabel de Maury, Sofia Limonta, Ramon Delgado Palacios and Heraclio Fernández.

Liebestod, choreographed by Valery Panov

Wagner’s powerful music from Tristan and Isolde inspires emotive and dextrous dance in choreographer Valery Panov’s visceral solo piece. Little movements grow to explosive athleticism before subsiding to stillness.

NEW WORK IN DEVELOPMENT: City of a Thousand Trades

World Premiere performances at Birmingham Repertory Theatre will be on 6, 7 & 8 May 2021; on sale details to be announced.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary season of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s move to the City in 1990, Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP are delighted to reveal initial details for City of a Thousand Trades, a new one act abstract ballet in development, inspired by and celebrating the richly diverse cultural and industrial heritage of Birmingham.

Commissioned as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s ‘Ballet Now’ programme which, under the new direction of Carlos Acosta, seeks to find exciting, diverse, international creative talent, City of a Thousand Trades will be brought to stage by choreographer Miguel Altunaga, with music by Mathias Coppens, designs by Guilia Scrimieri, and lighting by Michael Lee-Woolley.

Birmingham became known as the City of a Thousand Trades at the height of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, thanks to the exponential growth of businesses using the central location and vast water network for transport and manufacturing. As the city grew into the second largest in the UK, highly skilled workers and tradespeople migrated to the city from throughout the Commonwealth including Ireland, India, the West Indies, and from all over the world, creating a melting pot of cultures.

The international creative team of City of a Thousand Trades is using pre-recorded interviews with a cross section of the Birmingham community as a reference, to make connections and to tell its residents’ stories. Their voices and opinions, tone, music and ambitions will greatly influence this work: Where have they come from? Where are they now? What are their hopes and desires for the future of the great city of Birmingham?

Havana-born choreographer Miguel Altuanaga has created work for Rambert, The Royal Ballet (as part of the Deloitte Ignite Festival 2014), Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Tate Modern, and for bands Simply Red and The Zutons, and for Raindance an award-winning film Love Tomorrow, and previously for Carlos Acosta (Memoria). As a performer he is twice winner of the Cuban Best Male Solo Award, and a Critics’ Circle of London National Dance Award nominee.



MUSIC: John Adams (Shaker Loops, for small string orchestra)



CONDUCTOR: Paul Murphy

OPENING NIGHT CAST: Damen Axtens, Ryan Felix, Haoliang Feng, Tori Forsyth-Hecken, Kit Holder, Yu Kurihara, Gus Payne, Rachele Pizzillo, Emma Price, Tom Rogers, Eilis Small, Yuki Sugiura


CHOREOGRAPHY: Vicente Nebrada

MUSIC: Teresa Carreño, Salvador Llamozas, Manuel Guadalajara, Isabel de Maury, Sofia Limonta, Ramon Delgado Palacios and Heraclio Fernández



MUSIC: Richard Wagner

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP

*Press Performance 1: Thursday 22 October 2020 (7.30pm)

Friday 23 October 2020 (7.30pm)

*Press Performance 2: Saturday 24 October 2020 (2.30pm)

Saturday 24 October 2020 (7.30pm)

Tickets £15, £25, £35

*Please note that due to reduced capacity and audience distancing, press tickets for these performances are extremely limitedDetails of all COVID measures that Birmingham Repertory Theatre has in place for these performances can be found here

Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4TN

29 October – 31 October 2020


CHOREOGRAPHY: Miguel Altunaga 

MUSIC: Mathias Coppens

DESIGNS: Guilia Scrimieri

LIGHTING: Michael Lee-Woolley

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP

Thursday 6 May 2021 (7.30pm) | Friday 7 May 2021 (7.30pm) | Saturday 8 May 2021 (2.30pm & 7.30pm)


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