A brand new partnership has been confirmed between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which will see the two established companies combine creative ingenuity to stage new dance works in the heart of Birmingham city centre. The partnership will be launched with four shows for live audiences in October, following the recent announcement by the government allowing socially distanced performances to happen in theatres.
The world premiere performances of Lazuli Sky, choreographed by Will Tuckett, as part of a triple bill of ballet with live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia will take place at The REP from 22-24 October 2020, with 150 tickets on sale to the public for each of four shows. The show will also be filmed at The REP for broadcast in November via ‘pay per view’ media to audiences unable to attend the live shows.
This new partnership has enabled Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP to work together to find a way to entertain audiences and help revive Birmingham’s cultural life after lockdown.
Carlos Acosta, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, said:
“After joining Birmingham Royal Ballet at the beginning of the year, I set about making new friends in the city, knowing that collaboration was key to a successful and creative art form. Sean Foley, also new to the job of artistic director of The REP, and I spoke about an exciting cross-sector partnership, using the best of our creative networks in theatre and in dance to develop new work. It became clear that we shared a vision and commitment to making Birmingham the greatest city in the arts.
“This year, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates 30 years of working in the heart of Birmingham. Whilst the Company continues to enjoy strong bonds with its home venue, Birmingham Hippodrome, our work to bring back large-scale, classic ballets with them is not yet complete, and will require government approval. The new partnership between Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP will complement the relationship with Birmingham Hippodrome, and enhance creative development throughout this great city.”
Sean Foley, artistic director of The REP added:
“Particularly now, in order to survive and thrive, the arts must find new and inventive ways to collaborate and create new works. The REP has an unrivalled pioneering history in UK theatre – from staging the world’s first modern dress Shakespeare, to being a national leader in community development and creative learning, it has always been a theatre that seeks the cultural collisions that make extraordinary art for ordinary people. This is the beginning of an exciting partnership that will encompass full-scale productions, and new ways to create audiences together. Combining The REP’s own history with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s reputation for world-class ballet gives us both hope that we can help establish Birmingham as the very best city for theatre, for dance and the creative arts.”
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Autumn Mixed Bill will be staged at The REP from 22-24 October, before heading to Sadler’s Wells in London from 29-31 October.
Choreographed by Will Tuckett, the world premiere of Lazuli Sky will be the first one-act ballet to be commissioned and presented by Carlos Acosta as director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, a role which he started in January 2020 shortly before the Covid-19 crisis hit. At the beginning of lockdown, Acosta turned to British choreographer Tuckett and asked him to create a new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet that is inspired by, and utilises, ‘social distancing’.
Tuckett and his fully collaborative team, including designer Samuel Wyer and projection designer Nina Dunn, are creating a unique piece set to ‘Shaker Loops’ by John Adams, which will be performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Paul Murphy.
To be performed by ten dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet, this Latin infused collection of neo-classical work celebrating love and romance by Venezuelan choreographer Vicente Nebrada has been performed for over 40 years.
Wagner’s powerful music from Tristan and Isolde inspires emotive and dextrous dance in choreographer Valery Panov’s visceral solo piece.
New Work In Development: City of a Thousand Trades
World premiere performances at Birmingham Repertory Theatre will be on 6, 7 and 8 May 2021. To celebrate the 30th anniversary season of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s move to the City in 1990, Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP have revealed initial details for City of a Thousand Trades, a new one act abstract ballet in development, inspired by and celebrating the richly diverse cultural and industrial heritage of Birmingham.
Commissioned as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s ‘Ballet Now’ programme which, under the new direction of Acosta, seeks to find exciting, diverse, international creative talent, City of a Thousand Trades will be brought to stage by choreographer Miguel Altunaga and with music by Mathias Coppens.