Northern Ballet’s newly announced 2024-25 season is one of new commissions and the revival of three iconic and popular ballets.
To new voices first. May 2024 sees the return of Sketches, a creative lab and performance opportunity for new choreographic talent which made a sold-out debut last year. This year, along with talent from within Northern Ballet, DeNada Dance Theatre’s Carlos Pons Guerra will have the opportunity to create and experiment at the company’s Leeds studios. Sketches is at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds on May 9 & 10.
A new triple-bill premières at Northern Ballet’s studio theatre in Leeds (September 6-14, 2024) before performances at the Linbury Studio Theatre, London in 2025 (dates to be announced). The programme will include a second work for the company by Mthuthuzeli November. A response to Romeo & Juliet, his new piece is inspired by South African author R.L. Peteni’s novel Hill of Fools, about two villages in a bitter rivalry, which some consider the country’s version of the Shakespeare tale.
The triple bill will also feature the UK premiere of Four Last Songs, by former artistic director of Dutch National Ballet Rudi van Dantzig to music by Richard Strauss, and a second still-to-be-announced new commission.
Early autumn sees Northern Ballet make a first visit to the Royal Shakespeaere Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon with an extended run of Christopher Gable CBE and Massimo Moricone’s Romeo & Juliet (September 19-28, 2024). It will then visit Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre (October 3-5), the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury (October 9-12) and Newcastle Theatre Royal (October 23-26).
The tour follows the ballet’s return to the repertory in March 2024 at Leeds Grand Theatre following the painstaking restoration of Lez Brotherson’s intricately crafted costumes and sets after their destruction in the 2015 Boxing Day floods.
In November, the festive classic A Christmas Carol, also directed by Gable and choreographed by Moricone returns. Created at the height of Gable’s collaborations with award-winning designer Lez Brotherston, the ballet features music from Carl Davies.
A Christmas Carol will open at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre (November 7-9, 2024) before touring to Hull New Theatre (November 12-16), Norwich Theatre Royal (November 19-23) and Nottingham Theatre Royal (November 26-30) before a final two week run at Leeds Grand Theatre (December 18-January 4).
Both Romeo & Juliet and A Christmas Carol will be danced to recorded music.
Artistic director Federico Bonelli insists that live music remains central to the company’s storytelling and artistic vision, however. But, “Due to unprecedented rises in operating costs however, some performances this year will be to recorded music and some to live music from our Sinfonia. We remain as passionate as ever about the importance of live music and its role in our ballets past, present and future.”
In spring 2025, Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre returns along with a new children’s ballet.
Looking at the season as a whole, Bonelli says, “I am delighted to announce the return of Christopher Gable and Massimo Moricone’s A Christmas Carol and Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre to stages over the coming year. Both of these productions hold a special part in Northern Ballet’s history and exemplify our mission to tell stories that connect. September will also see the return of our hugely successful Three Short Ballets series that lends the talent of our dancers and creative team to three artists from across the sector, bringing new voices and perspectives to the fore.”