Royal New Zealand Ballet's Dream dance

The Vodafone Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Royal New Zealand Ballet Music, Felix Mendelssohn Choreographer, Liam Scarlett
Wellington St James Theatre: August 20 - 23 Christchurch Isaac Theatre Royal: August 27 - 29 Auckland ASB Theatre: Sept 2 - 6 Rotorua Civic Theatre: Sept 10 Palmerston North Regent on Broadway: Sept 16 Napier Napier Municipal Theatre: Sept 19

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s final production for the year is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s comedy about the romantic adventures and misadventures, quarrels and reuniting’s, of two pairs of mortal lovers and the king and queen of fairies.

It has been choreographed by many of the leading choreographers including Georges Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton, whose Dream was staged by the Australian Ballet earlier this year (NBR May 22) Now, the Royal New Zealand Ballet has commissioned Liam Scarlett, a top international choreographer, to create new version of the ballet for the company.

He has been lauded as the future of UK ballet and called “Dance’s hottest property” by the UK press. At only 29 years old, he regularly choreographs for leading international companies. 

The Vodafone Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will have its world premiere on August 20 in Wellington ahead of a five-centre New Zealand tour. “We are incredibly excited to showcase this sensational new ballet created for us," ballet company artistic director Francesco Ventriglia says. “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.”

Mr Scarlett says 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 Royal New Zealand Ballet is a joy, and the end result will be a testament to its talent and enthusiasm and all that this wonderful company has to offer.”

Ballet managing director Amanda Skoog says the ballet is partnering with Queensland Ballet to bring the 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.” 

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 MAC cosmetics to create a compelling look for each of the main characters.

The set for this production is the biggest the ballet company has ever created. It will also feature over 4000 LED lights and over 2000 metres of fibre optics cable and be illuminated by Kendall Smith (Giselle). Live music will be provided by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in Christchurch and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Auckland, conducted by ballet Music Director Nigel Gaynor.