Beyond the 50th anniversary: Scottish Ballet announce their 2020-21 plans

Scottish Ballet have released details of their 2020-21 programme that includes the world premiere of a reimagined production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling and sees the company visit London, New York and Washington DC, besides touring throughout Scotland.

Highlight of the season is The Scandal at Mayerling, a reimagining of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet by Gary Harris and Christopher Hampson with new designs from Elin Steele and a new orchestration of Franz Liszt’s music from Martin Yates. It will open at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh on September 17, 2020. Developed in association with Lady Deborah MacMillan, this is the third of Scottish Ballet’s commissioning programme Five in Five.

After Edinburgh, The Scandal at Mayerling tours to Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow.

Scottish Ballet in MC 14/22 by Angelin PreljocajPhoto Andy Ross
Scottish Ballet in MC 14/22 by Angelin Preljocaj
Photo Andy Ross

The 2020-21 season will be launched with This Is My Body, a double-bill of contemporary work, which sees them make their Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London debut from March 31-April 3.

This is My Body includes MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps), Angelin Preljocaj’s meeting of the spiritual and carnal that draws on St Mark’s version of The Last Supper in the Bible: ‘Take, eat: this is my body’. Created for twelve male dancers with soundscapes by Tedd Zahmal, it’s a sensual and passionate hymn to the male body

Also on the bill is Sibilo, by Scottish Ballet’s artist in residence Sophie Laplane, a joyful, humorous and surreal work for eight dancers, whose eclectic movement is led by audible whistles (sibilo is Latin for whistle) in the soundtrack. Laplane collaborated with Scottish electronic DJ and music producer Alex Menzies (aka Alex Smoke) to create the original musical composition for this piece.

This is My Body will also tour to New York, with details announced in the late autumn.

Scottish Ballet in Sibilo by Sophie LaplanePhoto Jane Hobson
Scottish Ballet in Sibilo by Sophie Laplane
Photo Jane Hobson

Spring will also see the return of the company’s contemporary take on ballet’s best-know title, David Dawson’s sleek Swan Lake, which will be performed in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow from April 9, 2020.

Also returning is Helen Pickett’s full-length The Crucible, which will make its US debut at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC from May 13-17, before transferring to open the dance programme at Spoleto Festival USA from May 22-24. The first major dance adaptation of Arthur Miller’s chilling account of the 1692 Salem witch trials that recall a community destroyed by fear, hostility and hysteria, and an allegorical comment on the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, the ballet met with critical acclaim at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

Winter brings Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker, which opens in Edinburgh on December 5, then going to Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow, Newcastle and Belfast through to February 13, 2021.

Constance Devernay and ensemble in The CruciblePhoto Jane Hobson (2)
Constance Devernay and ensemble in The Crucible
Photo Jane Hobson

Alongside its main stage work, Scottish Ballet continues its Off-Stage Collaborations across multi-art forms.

To celebrate the season launch, the company invited visual artists to creatively respond to the season imagery of Swan Lake, The Scandal at Mayerling and The Nutcracker. Over 70 artists submitted their proposals before fine-artist Alan McGowan was invited to spend a day in the studio where he painted a canvas of each production. That process was filmed by Double Take Projections, culminating in a series of teaser time-lapse films that were projected on buildings in Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.

To celebrate the 2020/2021 announcement, all three time lapse films were then projected on the walls of French Institute for Scotland on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall on the evening of November 5.

As part of a PhD residency funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities and in partnership with The Work Room, Joyce Welsh Dixon is being welcomed into Scottish Ballet as writer-in-residence.

Her appointment will allow her to develop a body of creative writing in response to dance and choreography. She will have the opportunity to observe choreographers and dance artists in creation and rehearsal periods, as well as have conversations with the artists and other creatives about their work.

Christopher Hampson, CEO and artistic director says, “It’s been an incredibly exciting time for Scottish Ballet during the company’s 50th anniversary year. The 2020-2021 season connects us with audiences from across the world through an invigorating repertoire showcasing some of today’s most cutting-edge choreographers, and Scottish Ballet’s adventurous, daring and unique style.”

For more information about Scottish Ballet’s 2020-21 season and tickets (now on sale), visit

2020-21 Listings

This Is My Body
Royal Opera House, London; March 31-April 3, 2020
New York; 2021. Details to be announced in late autumn

Swan Lake
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh: April 9-11, 2020
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: April 16-18, 2020
Eden Court, Inverness: April 23-25, 2020
Theatre Royal, Glasgow: April 29-May 2, 2020

The Crucible
Kennedy Center, Washington DC: May 13-17, 2020
Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston SC: May 22-24, 2020

The Scandal at Mayerling
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh: September 17-19, 2020
Theatre Royal, Glasgow: September 24-26, 2020
Eden Court, Inverness: October 2-3, 2020
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: October 8-10, 2020

The Nutcracker
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh: December 5-31, 2020
Theatre Royal, Glasgow: January 6-16, 2021
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: January 20-23, 2021
Eden Court, Inverness: January 27-30, 2021
Grand Opera House, Belfast: February 10-13, 2021
Newcastle dates to be announced