Ballet gets Beastly this Christmas
By Terry Grimley, Birmingham Post
Birmingham Royal Ballet will break with a 13-year tradition by resting its popular Christmas production, The Nutcracker, this year.
A lavish new version of Beauty and the Beast, choreographed by company director David Bintley, will take over the pre-Christmas slot at the Birmingham Hippodrome for one year while Sir Peter Wright’s acclaimed production takes a rest before a promised return for Christmas 2004.
Yesterday, it was also announced that Prince Charles has agreed to become president of the company. He succeeds Princess Margaret. click for more
Here is the BRB Press release: Birmingham Royal Ballet Overview 2003-4
Following the closure and subsequent re-opening of the Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet has aimed to consolidate its financial position and to clear its operating deficit gained during the closure period. At the end of the 2002/2003 financial year, the Company aims to have more than halved this deficit and is currently performing over target on its three-year recovery plan. Whilst this prudent management has been enormously successful, the creative aspirations of the Company have been affected. Although BRB remains committed to its financial recovery and long-term security, the 2003/04 season will see major new works, collaborative projects and the further development of the choreographic talent within the Company.
BRB’s subscription season, details of which are unveiled today, aims to present a full balance of both new and heritage works alongside full-length popular classics and a major new seasonal ballet, Beauty and the Beast, to be premiered in December 2003. This new work by David Bintley with a commissioned score by Canadian Glenn Buhr and designs by Philip Prowse has been made possible by the continued financial support from the Company’s principal sponsor, Powergen UK plc.
West Midlands based, international choreographer and Kathak dancer Nahid Sidiqui is currently working with the Company on a unique collaboration entitled Krishna. The work, to be premiered in September 2003, will be sponsored by Carlton and will form part of a mixed programme of ballet to include George Balanchine’s Apollo, sponsored by American Airlines and David Bintley’s The Sons of Horus.
BRB’s subscription packages offer a blanket 25% discount on all tickets purchased and, as with all tickets for BRB performances at the Hippodrome, are sold without the 5% booking fee charged by the Theatre. This year BRB has maintained its ticket prices from November 2001 and will aim to ensure that low-cost ways of attending the Company’s performances are introduced wherever possible.
In 2003 the Company will, alongside the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), co-present one of the foremost international dance competitions, the Adeline Genée Awards. Held last year at the Sydney Opera House, the competition will have two days of semi-finals, which will be open to the public culminating in a live final to be held on Sunday 28 September at which BRB will perform. In addition to the competition, the Royal Academy of Dance has chosen Birmingham to host its international conference, which will be hosted by BRB over the weekend of 26-28 September 2003.
Alongside its usual performance schedule the Company will, in March 2004, present a unique, one-off gala performance entitled Sir Fred and Mr B. The evening, a fundraiser for the future development of the Company, will pay tribute to the works and lives of Sir Fredrick Ashton and George Balanchine, both of whom would have celebrated their centenary year in 2004.
BRB is currently negotiating a series of performances in the USA, which will again pay tribute to Ashton and Balanchine. The Company is also in talks aimed at presenting a series of performances in China during May 2004.
Off-stage, the Company has maintained its commitment to staff development and has implemented a new contract for all dancers. This new agreement, replacing an agreement inherited from the Royal Opera House, creates a more sensible and safe working pattern and allows more flexibility for performances other than those presented on the main stage.
BRB continues to develop its policies towards health and safety and ensures that the Company’s current employment practices take into account new legislation.
<small>[ 11 February 2004, 03:20 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>