As festive as mince pies and mulled wine, the curtain has risen again on Birmingham Royal Ballet’s much-loved The Nutcracker. And this year, this most magical tale of a winter wonderland, dancing snowflakes and the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy has a new lease of life.
There are few more magical ways to kickstart your family’s festive celebrations than Sir Peter Wright’s world-famous The Nutcracker. Whether you’re eight or 80, this beautifully told production has long whisked audiences straight into the pages of a classic fairy tale. The exciting news is this year, it is brighter and bolder than ever as it returns to Birmingham Hippodrome following a million-pound refresh.
A visual feast from start to finish, it features 60 world class dancers and music played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Together they bring the famous Christmas story to life, as we follow Clara’s journey through an enchanting winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes; meeting the dashing Nutcracker Prince, the larger-than-life Rat King and the Sugar Plum Fairy along the way.
Choreographed by Sir Peter Wright, former artistic director of BRB, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker was a gift for Birmingham to say thank you for welcoming the company when it moved here from London in 1990. But over the last three decades the sets and costumes started to show their age, so much so that much work has been done behind the scenes to breathe new life into this year’s production.
As designer John Macfarlane explains, this latest show see’s brand new sets, backdrops, props and costumes. “It’s a complete rebuild of everything, but I’ve kept the production as close to its original as possible. I felt my brief was absolutely that when the curtain goes up the audience know it’s their Nutcracker, that has been the most important thing in my thinking.
“With time, the colour palette of the show has slowly gone down and down so I think now the audience will get their much-loved Nutcracker but it will have much more guts to it,” he adds. “For example, the big Christmas tree will be so much brighter – all the baubles and the lurex fabrics which are used to build the branches are all new so they will give out so much gorgeousness.”