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Shakespeare Celebrations continue this June with three Birmingham premieres

5 Jun 2016

Iain Mackay and Elisha Willis - The Taming of the Shew- photo Andrew Ross

Iain Mackay and Elisha Willis – The Taming of the Shew- photo Andrew Ross

In 2016, Birmingham Royal Ballet are commemorating 400 years since the death of arguably the world’s most prolific playwright, William Shakespeare alongside arts organisations from across the country and the globe. This June, the Company continue their celebration of the Bard’s characters and prose with three ballets never before seen in their home base of Birmingham.

In a riotous and comedic battle of the sexes, John Cranko adapts The Taming of the Shrew (16-18 June). In a first performance by Birmingham Royal Ballet, Cranko breathes new life into this wild and witty comedy telling the tale of the stubborn and tempestuous Kate and how her suitor Petruchio gets rather more than he bargained for when agreeing to their marriage. This must-see romantic comedy promises a burst of colour and fun to kick start the summer season.

The Shakespeare Triple Bill (22-25 June) will feature two works performed on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage for the very first time. Jessica Lang’s brand-new work for the Company, Wink is inspired by five of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The title, Wink, comes from the first line of sonnet 43 “When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see”. This stylish abstract exploration of William Shakespeare’s words features an interactive set of rotating boards by Mimi Lien which seamlessly intercept with the performers movement, switching from black to white to give the illusion of a blinking eye. The piece features a new commissioned score by Jakub Ciupinski whom studied for his first degree at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

This season’s triple bill also features José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane, once again performed for the very first time in Birmingham. Created in 1949, this dark and dramatic work embodies the tensions, drama and jealousy in Shakespeare’s Othello.  Four dancers portray the essence of the play’s central protagonists, The Moor (Othello), Iago, Emelia and Desdemona amongst an atmospheric, endless black backdrop playing to the mood and themes of one of the playwright’s great tragedies.

The bill concludes with a celebration of some of Shakespeare’s most famous and infamous characters in David Bintley’s The Shakespeare Suite. Featuring the accompaniment of a live jazz band, this fast paced romp races through some of the Bard’s most beloved plays and people.  Macbeth, Bottom and Titania, Hamlet, and Richard III are amongst some of the characters who come to life in this energetic celebration.

As part of the Company’s ongoing commitment to involving audiences in the creative process, ahead of Friday evening performances (17 & 24 Jun) audience members are invited to join a select panel of some of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s most influential creative forces  for a pre-show talk as they discuss life as part of a world-renowned ballet company. The event is free for ticket holders and starts at 6.30pm ahead of the evening performance.

On Saturday 25 June members of the public are then invited behind closed doors as the Company of dancers open up their daily class. This is a rare and fascinating opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes to witness the preparation and dedication needed to be part of the UK’s leading touring classical ballet company.

Tickets are now on sale for the conclusion of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2016 Shakespeare season, the world premiere of David Bintley’s new full-length ballet The Tempest (1-8 Oct). One of William Shakespeare’s most beloved narratives takes to the stage in a breath-taking production full of theatrical wizardry and stunning designs by War Horse’s Rae Smith set to a brand-new score by acclaimed British composer Sally Beamish.