A look ahead to the Royal Ballet at the revamped Hull New Theatre
- Credit: Alastair Muir/REX/Shutterstock
Theatre lovers are ready to welcome one of the most anticipated events of Hull City of Culture
There is growing excitement surrounding the opening performance by The Royal Ballet at the Hull New Theatre this autumn following the venue’s multi-million pound refurbishment. Tickets were not yet available as we went to print but if sales for other newly announced productions at the theatre are anything to go by, demand is likely to exceed all expectations.
More than 5,000 tickets were sold in the first week alone as the theatre launched its new season. Ticket sales boomed for performances including John Godber’s The Kings of Hull, the National Theatre’s Hedda Gabler and Jane Eyre and the Carole King musical, Beautiful.
Since then 4,000 tickets for the West End production of Jersey Boys were snapped up within 24 hours of going on sale. And 2,000 were sold for the Take That musical The Band within two hours of tickets being released.
The Royal Ballet will perform a special programme of works as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture celebrations on September 16th. The day will involve a number of of Swan Lake-inspired activities across the city and a gala evening opening of the Hull New Theatre, bringing together artists from Hull with Royal Ballet principals and soloists.
Dancers will also perform Take Flight, a community dance project inspired by flying. Choreographed by members of The Royal Ballet and five local dance groups, Take Flight will culminate in 100 performers and members of the community presenting a re-imagined version of the famous cygnet pas de quatre from Swan Lake throughout the city. Joining The Royal Ballet on stage during the gala will be some of the exciting dance talent emerging in the city today including two of Hull’s own stars from the world of dance: Mariinsky Ballet Soloist Xander Parish and Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Joseph Caley.
Hull-born Kevin O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet, said: ‘I am immensely proud of my roots in Hull, and what has been achieved so far in the city’s year as UK City of Culture. For me this opportunity to return to my home city, for the Company to take to the stage in the magnificent setting of Hull’s refurbished New Theatre and to create new links with the young talent of Hull is unique and special for all of us.’
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Hull has been the cradle of development of an extraordinary number of ballet and dance stars. The Skelton Hooper School of Dance, led by Vanessa Hooper, who performed with The Royal Ballet, has discovered more talented ballet dancers than any other in the UK. Among these, 24 of its pupils have won places at the Royal Ballet School; Xander Parish is the first ever Briton to dance with Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet and his sister, Demelza, is currently an First Artist with The Royal Ball
The £16million refurbishment programme is expected to be completed by September and is the biggest project undertaken in the theatre’s history. There will be major improvements to backstage areas including a new fly tower, used for scenery, lighting and stage effects.
These improvements will allow the theatre to stage bigger, more ambitious shows, in line with its reputation as one of the leading touring theatres in the UK. There will also be more seats, a new cafe/restaurant, two new bars and an extra space which can be used as a performance area or for business, private hire or community events.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, chairman of Hull Culture and Leisure Board and portfolio holder for culture and leisure for Hull City Council, said: ‘I would encourage everyone to look at what we have planned for the theatre and take the opportunity to come and enjoy the new surroundings.’
He added: ‘We aim to inspire people to see more of the high-quality and wide variety of music, comedy, drama and dance we have each year and perhaps see something they hadn’t thought about trying before.’
The launch of the theatre programme coincided with the launch of a new website for Hull New Theatre and its sister venue, Hull City Hall. The address is www.hulltheatres.co.uk. Theatregoers are encouraged to book early to take advantage of the widest availability of tickets and prices.