Scottish Ballet: The Nutcracker

Scottish Ballet: The Nutcracker

Scottish Ballet revives Peter Darrell's legendary production

He’s the man who started it all. The founder, the visionary, the choreographer and, until his untimely death in 1987, the artistic director of Scottish Ballet. As such, Peter Darrell is in receipt of no small amount of posthumous respect.

So when current artistic director, Christopher Hampson, decided to resurrect Darrell’s iconic and adored Nutcracker, he had to tread carefully.

‘Darrell’s Nutcracker saw Scottish Ballet through thick and thin for over 20 years,’ says Hampson. ‘So in terms of choreography, we stayed as faithful as we could to what Peter set down. But in terms of staging, we needed to be a bit more flexible.’

The original full-length production (pictured), which premiered in 1974, was designed with real style and flair by Philip Prowse. Inevitably, those designs have dated, and advances in costume and set design have allowed new designer, Lez Brotherston to ‘re-imagine’ Nutcracker with even more vibrancy.

‘The redesign takes on board the original concept,’ explains Hampson, ‘but we have moved it on in some areas. And what I love about what Lez has done, is that he’s brought together the flavour of Philip’s original design, but with today’s materials.’

Hampson himself has created and performed in more Nutcrackers than most during his career, yet his love for the Christmas ballet stays strong.

‘I think people often come to ballet through Nutcracker,’ he says. ‘And if they’re seeing a production that has lots of fun, magic and a sense of theatricality, then I think they’ll be more inclined to come and see other things.’

Scottish Ballet: The Nutcracker

The festive favourite set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. Peter Darrell’s production of The Nutcracker is unique in that the main character, Clara, is danced by a young girl performing alongside the Company’s 40 professional dancers. Booking is essential.

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