Birmingham Royal Ballet announces 2019/20 season, including Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote

10 productions, 11 venues, 127 performances, including first time collaborations with Ballet Black and newly appointed Director Carlos Acosta. That makes for an impressive looking 2019/20 season at Birmingham Royal Ballet.

It’s a season of transition, which for the first time has been created in partnership with leaders from across the world of dance, including Ballet Black and newly appointed Director Carlos Acosta.

The first full-length production of 2019/20 is David Bintley and Galina Samsova’s Giselle. After the usual Nutcracker season in the lead up to Christmas comes the return of Sir Peter Wright’s Swan Lake. June and the end of the season marks a new beginning, as new director Carlos Acosta is welcomed with the company’s premiere and the first performances outside London of his Don Quixote. Acosta will also curate an energising and celebratory festival at Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells, London, also in June 2020.

Jenna Roberts as Giselle and Iain Mackay as AlbrechtPhoto Bill Cooper
Jenna Roberts as Giselle and Iain Mackay as Albrecht
Photo Bill Cooper

The 2019/20 season features two world premieres in the Ballet Now talent development programme. The first, by Queensland Ballet’s Jack Lister, appears alongside Cathy Marston’s critically-acclaimed The Suit (performed by Ballet Black, with music by acclaimed ballet composer Philip Feeney) and Twyla Tharp’s sizzling tribute to ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’, Nine Sinatra Songs. This programme will be performed in Birmingham and London.

Jack Lister said, “I’m really looking forward to working with BRB’s incredibly talented dancers and alongside such highly respected choreographers. To be given this platform for my first international commission and to collaborate with such a truly gifted creative team is a dream come true.”

José Alvez and Cira Robinson of Ballet Black in Cathy Marston’s The SuitPhoto Bill Cooper
José Alvez and Cira Robinson of Ballet Black in Cathy Marston’s The Suit
Photo Bill Cooper

Artistic Director & Founder of Ballet Black Cassa Pancho MBE said, “I’m thrilled that Ballet Black will be joining Birmingham Royal Ballet for their mixed programme in autumn 2019. It’s a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with one of the most established British ballet companies, and for our own brilliant dancers to work alongside the world-class talent at BRB.”

Also in the autumn, Ruth Brill’s Peter and the Wolf will be performed in Plymouth.

The season’s second world premiere, choreographed by Daniela Cardim, is part of a mixed programme curated by incoming Director Carlos Acosta as part of his soon-to-be revealed festival. This bill is completed by the welcome return of Balanchine to the company repertory with his exuberant Theme and Variations, and the UK premiere of Goyo Montero’s Chacona.

Nao Sakuma and Mathias Dingman in Theme and VariationsPhoto Bill Cooper
Nao Sakuma and Mathias Dingman in Theme and Variations
Photo Bill Cooper

Director of Nuremberg Ballett, Spanish choreographer Montero is highly regarded in Germany where his works are widely danced. His work has also featured in Acosta Danza’s programmes. Created for Uruguayan company National Ballet Sobre in 2017, Chacona is a physical piece set to violin, guitar and piano.

Birmingham audiences will have to wait for this second mixed programme, which in 2019/20 will only be presented at Sadler’s Wells, London. Further programme announcements for the Carlos Acosta/Birmingham Royal Ballet festival will be revealed in due course.

The Royal Ballet Sinfonia takes centre stage once more for an Evening of Music and Dance in Birmingham and Northampton.

Birmingham Royal Ballet will once again be embarking on a spring tour in May 2020 to regional venues with a programme of work specially designed for families. Further details to be announced.

Younger audience members can again enjoy Birmingham Royal Ballet’s First Steps programme. These hour-long, interactive shows are adapted for children aged 3+. A storyteller captures their imagination, introducing the music, leading characters and some of the technical magic; the perfect introduction to ballet.

Laura Purkiss and Jonny Caguioa in Nine Sinatra SongsPhoto Bill Cooper
Laura Purkiss and Jonny Caguioa inNine Sinatra Songs
Photo Bill Cooper

Turning to community involvement, following the success of Cinderella Dreams in 2017 and Sleeping Beauty Dreams in 2018 at Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet will embark on Swan Lake Dreams; an ambitious engagement and participation project which will be performed on the main stage at Birmingham Hippodrome, and at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton and Theatre Royal in Plymouth.

A cast of approximately 70 selected students from each of the three areas will be given the opportunity to train, rehearse and perform in a full-length ballet alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers. Open to ballet students aged 9+, the Swan Lake Dreams project gives insight into the Company workings whilst aiming to develop talent and raise aspirations for dancers of all ages. Auditions will take place between July and October 2019 with intensive and weekly rehearsals from July through to the performances in 2020.

The Company will partner with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, whose orchestra will accompany the Swan Lake Dreams Birmingham performance, conducted by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s principal conductor Paul Murphy.

Freefall Dance Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s ensemble that provides high-quality training and performance opportunities for talented adults with severe learning difficulties, will collaborate with current Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet David Bintley and award-winning film director Ross MacGibbon on a new landmark dance-for-screen project. Further details to be announced. This follows their international success with the film One Fine Day (2014) and We Are Here (2017), the latter also featuring appearances by Iain Mackay and Jenna Roberts.


Mixed Programme: New Lister / The Suit / Nine Sinatra Songs
Birmingham Hippodrome – September 19-21, 2019
Sadler’s Wells, London – October 29-30, 2019

Birmingham Hippodrome – September 25-28, 2019
Theatre Royal Plymouth – October 23-25, 2019
Sadler’s Wells, London – November 1-2, 2019

Peter and the Wolf
Theatre Royal Plymouth – October 26, 2019

The Nutcracker
Birmingham Hippodrome – November 22-December 14, 2019

Swan Lake
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – January 29-February 1, 2020
Birmingham Hippodrome – February 19-29, 2020
The Lowry, Salford – March 4-7, 2020
Sunderland Empire – March 12-14, 2020
Theatre Royal Plymouth – April 1-4, 2020

An Evening of Music & Dance
Symphony Hall, Birmingham – February 14, 2020
Royal & Derngate, Northampton – February 15, 2020

Mixed Programme: Theme and Variations / Chacona /New Cardim
Sadler’s Wells, London – June 11-13, 2020

Don Quixote
Birmingham Hippodrome – June 19-27, 2020