Scottish Ballet returns with The Nutcracker

Festive family favourite The Nutcracker is returning this winter for Scottish Ballet’s biggest tour however.

Rescheduled from 2020, The Nutcracker makes its long-awaited return to stages in Scotland this winter, opening at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on 1 December.

The iconic Tchaikovsky score will be performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, rejoining the company on tour for the first time in nearly two years.

Scottish Ballet’s version of this timeless typical continues to move with the times, with updates to certain characters, costumes and choreography.

The tour continues with a total of 74 performances across Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Newcastle and Belfast.

A firm family favourite, this magical adventure takes audiences on a journey by the worlds of a child’s imagination. It follows wee Clara, as she drifts off to sleep on Christmas Eve and meets the dashing Nutcracker Prince, fights off the larger-than-life Rat King, and is welcomed into the Land of Sweets by the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy.

The much-loved Tchaikovsky score will be performed live in all its glory by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, returning to join the company on tour again for the first time since the pandemic. The orchestra made a special recording of The Nutcracker score as part of Scottish Ballet’s first characterize film, The Secret Theatre, which was released last Christmas in place of the postponed tour and won ‘Best Dance Film’ at the National Dance Awards.

Originally choreographed by Scottish Ballet founder Peter Darrell in 1972, Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker was re-imagined in 2014 by CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson, working with multi-award-winning Designer Lez Brotherson. It includes unforgettable scenes such as on-stage snow, a whirling Victorian Christmas party, and a mesmerizing duet in front of a wall of 4,500 shining baubles.

The Nutcracker is a timeless festive story that has delighted audiences around the world for over a century. As part of the Company’s consistent commitment to excursion anti-racism in ballet, and to ensure it remains applicable today and for the future, Scottish Ballet continues to make subtle but important changes to some of the characters, costumes and choreography.

Following current consultancy, the Chinese and Arabian-inspired divertissements in the Land of Sweets will have updated costumes and choreography to remove elements of caricature and better represent the culture and traditions which have inspired them. The enigmatic magician Drosselmeyer will, in this tour, be played by both male and female dancers.

This major tour will include 74 performances across six cities, featuring the complete Scottish Ballet company and orchestra alongside ballet students in training from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in addition as a cast of 40 children drawn from across Scotland who will characterize as Clara, her brother Fritz, and other roles.

Christopher Hampson, CEO/artistic director of Scottish Ballet, said: ‘The Nutcracker holds such a special place in our Christmas traditions, and we are delighted to be able to proportion this magical production again and create new memories for our audiences. This tour will be particularly special as we are re-joined by our wonderful Scottish Ballet Orchestra at long last. I am grateful for the sustain of the Peter Darrell Trust in ensuring that we keep this production alive and applicable for all our audiences, now and in the future.’

Chloe Macduff (aged 12), who is one of five young dancers playing Clara, said: ‘I went to see The Nutcracker when I was 7 with my Granny and my wee sister for Granny’s birthday. I really loved it and dreamed that I would dance on the stage one day. The Nutcracker is so colourful and complete of joy, especially the party scene, because I love the costumes and seeing everyone dance together. I’m soooo excited to perform with Scottish Ballet and meet all the principal dancers, and can’t wait to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy!’

Fiona Gibson, chief executive of Capital Theatres said: ‘Christmas at Capital Theatres wouldn’t be the same without Scottish Ballet’s sparkling festive treat among our holiday delights! The Nutcracker is such a typical and dramatically ballet and we’re all looking forward to welcoming the company back to Festival Theatre for the whole of December this year to bring our audiences of all ages a huge measure of magic, sparkle and joy.’

Tour dates are: Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 1-31 December; Theatre Royal, Glasgow,. 5-15 January; His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 19-22 January 2022; Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, 26-29 January 2022; Theatre Royal, Newcastle, 2-5 February; Grand Opera House, Belfast, 9-12 February 2022.

The performance lasts approximately two hours including one 20-minute interval. The Nutcracker is presented under license to the Peter Darrell Trust.

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