Birmingham Royal Ballet announces Beyond Words 2018/19 season, including four world premieres

From the perpetual sunshine of Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, to the storybook fantasy of David Bintley’s Beauty and the Beast, to the mischievous fun of Hobson’s Choice, plus some exciting looking new works, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2018/19 Beyond Words season weaves a series of enduring stories into dance, bringing them to life for a modern world.

The season features 159 performances of 11 different productions in 8 programme at 13 venues, with 90% of its shows taking place outside London.

Juanjo Arqués and Didy Veldman deliver two of the season’s four world premieres as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Now talent development programme that presents the company with the opportunity to support emerging choreographic talent, and choreographers who maybe have not had the opportunities one might expect (all of the first three choreographers on the programme have previously made work for major companies presented in major theatres, contrary to some claims).

Birmingham Royal ballet in La Fille mal gardéePhoto Roy Smiljanic
Birmingham Royal ballet in La Fille mal gardée
Photo Roy Smiljanic

The Fire & Fury mixed programme welcomes back Bintley’s The King Dances alongside Arqués’ Ignite. Inspired by William Turner’s painting The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, we are promised that Ignite will “translate vibrant colour into atmospheric choreography, inspiring a symbolic narrative unique to each audience member.”

Fresh from her success with The Happiness Project and its follow up, The Knot, for her own Umanoove company, Veldman’s as yet untitled new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet premieres as part of an all-female choreographer mixed programme, [Un]leashed. The bill features Jessica Lang’s much admired Lyric Pieces alongside the world premiere of Petra and the Wolf, an innovative contemporary view of the classic tale choreographed by Birmingham Royal Ballet First Artist, Ruth Brill.

Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay in Jessica Lang's Lyric PiecesPhoto Roy Smiljanic
Jenna Roberts and Iain Mackay in Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces
Photo Roy Smiljanic

Petra and the Wolf also appears as part of the Company’s new midscale offering, Home from Home. Inspired by Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic fairytale, Brill’s ballet will blend classical ballet with a fusion of urban influences. Petra and the Wolf is accompanied by the world premiere of A Season in Our World, which takes the audience on a journey through a diverse range of music genres and dance traditions from around the world. A new venue on next season’s midscale tour is Derngate in Northampton.

As usual, Sir Peter Wright’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker returns to Birmingham Hippodrome for the festive season., and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia will again take centre stage for an Evening of Music and Dance.


La Fille mal gardée
Birmingham Hippodrome; September 26-29, 2018
Plymouth Theatre Royal; October 11-13
The Lowry, Salford; October 24-27
Sadler’s Wells, London; November 1-3
Grand Opera House, Belfast; November 7-10

Fire & Fury (The King Dances, Ignite)
Birmingham Hippodrome; October 3-6, 2018
Plymouth Theatre Royal; October 9-10
Sadler’s Wells, London; October 30-31

The Nutcracker
Birmingham Hippodrome; November 23-December 13, 2018

Beauty and the Beast
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton; January 30-February 2, 2019
Birmingham Hippodrome; February 20-March 2
Plymouth Theatre Royal; March 6-9
Edinburgh Festival Theatre; March 13-16
The Lowry, Salford; March 20-13
Sunderland Empire; March 28-30
Bristol Hippodrome; dates to be announced

Evening of Music & Dance
Symphony Hall, Birmingham; February 15, 2019

Home from Home (A Season in Our World, Petra and the Wolf)
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham; May 10-11, 2019
Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton; May 14-15
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury; May 17-18
Nottingham Theatre Royal; May 24-25

[Un]leashed (Lyric Pieces, New Veldman – title to be confirmed, Petra and the Wolf)
Birmingham Hippodrome; June 12-15, 2019
Sadler’s Wells, London; week commencing June 24, dates to be confirmed

Hobson’s Choice
Birmingham Hippodrome; June 19-22, 2019
Sadler’s Wells, London; week commencing June 24, dates to be confirmed