Source: Royal New Zealand Ballet

A magical world premiere from the RNZB – The Vodafone Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In an unprecedented artistic coup the Royal New Zealand Ballet has commissioned one of the world’s most sought after choreographers working today – Liam Scarlett – to create a brand new ballet for the company. 

The Vodafone Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will have its world premiere on 20 August in Wellington ahead of a five centre New Zealand tour.

“We are incredibly excited to showcase this sensational new ballet created for the RNZB by the talented Liam Scarlett.  This magical tale will cast its spell on audiences of all ages. And as with all the best stories, true love and friendship triumph in the end.” says RNZB Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia.

Liam Scarlett is renowned for his witty and sophisticated choreography and this spectacular new ballet will be no exception.

“Shakespeare’s tale of wit, love, petty quarrels and mistaken identities has captured the hearts of audiences young and old for centuries and has secured its place in history as one of the greatest stories ever told. It is with great pleasure and responsibility that I have the opportunity to transform this magical piece of work into a ballet. Being able to create this for the RNZB is a joy, and the end result will be a testament to their talent and enthusiasm and all that this wonderful company has to offer.” says choreographer Liam Scarlett. 

“In a smart business move we are partnering with Queensland Ballet to bring this tremendous production to the stage. It is a great opportunity to collaborate on a significant new dance work that will certainly form part a central part of our repertoire.” says RNZB Managing Director Amanda Skoog.

“We’re thrilled to continue our support of the RNZB with this year’s Vodafone Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Vodafone customers and staff up and down the country can look forward to the production in their town as the show makes its way around New Zealand. 2 for 1 tickets are available as part of our Fantastic Fridays offer,” says Matt Williams, Vodafone Consumer Director.

Liam Scarlett, has been lauded as the future of UK ballet and called “Dance’s hottest property” by the UK press. At only 29 years of age he regularly choreographs for leading international companies and was awarded UK Dance Critics Circle National Dance Award for his Asphodel Meadows. He was appointed first Artist in Residence at The Royal Ballet Covent Garden in 2012, a position created especially for him when he retired from dancing with the company.  He continues to attract acclaim from audiences and critics alike with his work. Recent collaborations include New York City Ballet, English National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be his third full length ballet.

Distinguished costume and set designer Tracy Grant Lord has been behind many of the company’s successful productions, most notably Cinderella. Her designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream will create a glorious new vision of thousands of lights, glitter and butterflies. She is working closely with M.A.C. cosmetics to create a unique and compelling look for each of the main characters. Tracy is a Winston Churchill Fellow, has a Bachelor of Spatial Design from Auckland University of Technology and her work is frequently chosen to represent performance design in New Zealand, at the Prague Quadrennial (Czech Republic).

The set for this production is the biggest the RNZB has ever created. It will also feature over 4000 LED lights and over 2,000 metres of fibre optics cable and be illuminated by Kendall Smith (Giselle).

Mendelssohn’s wonderful and highly recognisable music will be performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in Wellington and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Auckland, conducted by RNZB Music Director Nigel Gaynor.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a Co-Production between the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Queensland Ballet.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: 20 August – 20 September

Wellington St James Theatre: Thur 20 August 7.30pm, Fri 21 August 7.30pm (Pre-performance Music talk 6.30pm), Sat 22 August 1.30pm & 7.30pm (Post-matinee Q&A; Warm Up, Curtain Up 6.20pm), Sunday 23 August 6.30pm

Christchurch Isaac Theatre Royal: Thur 27 August 7.30pm, Fri 28 August 7.30pm (Pre-performance Music talk 6.30pm), Sat 29 August 1.30pm & 7.30pm (Post-matinee Q&A; Warm Up, Curtain Up 6.20pm)

Auckland ASB Theatre: Wed 2 – Fri 4 Sept 7.30pm (Warm Up, Curtain Up 6.20pm; Thur 3 Sep Pre-performance Music talk 6.30pm), Sat 5 Sept 1.30pm & 7.30pm (Post-matinee Q&A), Sun 6 Sept 6.30pm

Rotorua Civic Theatre: Thur 10 Sept 7.30pm (Warm Up, Curtain Up 6.20pm)

Palmerston North Regent on Broadway: Wed 16 Sept 7.30pm (Warm Up, Curtain Up 6.20pm)

Napier Napier Municipal Theatre: Sat 19 Sept 7.30pm (Warm Up, Curtain Up 6.20pm), Sun 20 Sept 1.30pm 

Next season:

Visit our website to read about our forthcoming International Tour visiting UK and Italy from Oct 2015. The programme will feature our recent world premieres Passchendaele and Dear Horizon together with the RNZB’s acclaimed production of Giselle. 

The Royal New Zealand Ballet – www.rnzb.org.nz

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.