Northern Ballet announces 50th Anniversary programme!

Northern Ballet 50th Anniversary. Photo by Guy Farrow

Northern Ballet has announced details of their anticipated 50th Anniversary Programme, which includes three world premières, a star-studded Gala and tours of some of the Company’s best-loved productions.


Northern Ballet 50th Anniversary ft. Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Rachael Gillespie and Pippa Moore. Photo by Guy Farrow


Marking the start of the Company’s anniversary programme, Northern Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala will see dancers from some of the world’s leading companies unite in a unique event celebrating Northern Ballet’s 50-year journey.

Northern Ballet will be joined by guest stars from The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre performing excerpts from Northern Ballet’s repertoire and works connected to the Company’s history.

The 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala will be at Leeds Grand Theatre for one night only on Saturday 4 January 2020.


Minju Kang in Geisha. Photo by Guy Farrow


In the first of three world premières, Kenneth Tindall, choreographer of the Company’s acclaimed Casanova, creates his second full-length ballet, Geisha.

Based on a true story, Geisha is the haunting tale of two young women trapped in a world of duty and sacrifice, who can only be saved by a promise from beyond the grave.

Geisha will feature original music composed by Alexandra Harwood, an original scenario and dramaturgy by Gwyneth Hughes, set and costume designs by Christopher Oram, and lighting by Alastair West.

Geisha will première in Leeds on 14 March 2020 followed by a tour to Sheffield, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff until May 2020.



The second full-length world première of Northern Ballet’s 50th anniversary season will see Drew McOnie make his Northern Ballet debut with Merlin, a magical spectacle inspired by the story of the legendary wizard.

Merlin will feature original music by Grant Olding, a scenario by Gwyneth Hughes, set and costume designs by Colin Richmond, and lighting by Anna Watson. In addition, Chris Fisher, International Illusions and Magic Associate on Harry Potter & the Cursed Child has been appointed as Illusionist for Merlin.

Merlin will première in Bradford on 16 October 2020 followed by a tour to Norwich, Newcastle, Southampton, Woking and Leeds until December 2020.


Photo by Bill Cooper


Returning favourites include: David Nixon OBE’s enchanting Cinderella, which will tour nationally in the spring; David Nixon OBE’s smash hit, The Great Gatsby, which returns for a new national tour in the autumn.

Following the success of the Company’s debut at Newcastle’s Northern Stage this year, Northern Ballet will return in April 2020 with an exhilarating programme of Three Short Ballets featuring The Kingdom of Back by Morgann Runacre-Temple, Powerhouse Rhumba by David Nixon OBE, and For an Instant by Amaury Lebrun.



Continuing its pioneering programme of short ballets created specifically for young children, Northern Ballet will première a new children’s ballet in October 2020.

The title is yet to be announced but will follow in the footsteps of the recently announced world première of Little Red Riding Hood in October 2019, which is choreographed by Mariana Rodrigues and will tour nationally in spring 2020.


Nicola Gervasi and Antoinette Brooks-Daw in The Great Gatsby. Photo by Guy Farrow


David Nixon OBE, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet said:

‘Northern Ballet is a truly extraordinary organisation and has endured so many challenges in its history to arrive, 50 years after its inception, as the successful, confident and innovative company that we are today. I am privileged to be the Artistic Director as we reach this milestone anniversary and to be continuing the incredible work of all the artists and staff who have gone before us. Our programme of events for our anniversary year showcases Northern Ballet’s strengths in creating new work, reviving some of our most popular productions and making exciting progress with our digital ambitions. As we take our next steps in the Company’s journey, I wish to thank all of our supporters past and present, and we look forward to what the future will bring.’


For more information on the season, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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