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What's On

By season

Autumn 2015
Winter 2015
Spring 2016
Summer 2016

By venue

Belfast Grand Opera House
Birmingham Hippodrome
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Sadler's Wells, London
Sunderland Empire
The Lowry, Salford
Theatre Royal Plymouth
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

By show

Ashton Double bill
Company Class
First Steps: a child's Swan Lake
Free pre-performance talks
Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare Triple bill
Swan Lake
The Nutcracker
The Taming of the Shrew
Variations Triple bill (Birmingham)
Variations Triple bill (tour)

The Nutcracker story guide


click here for a child friendly story guide.
(you will need Adobe Acrobat to view the printable story guide. If you do not have this installed please click here)

It is Christmas Eve and Dr Stahlbaum and his wife, a former ballerina, are giving a party. They have two children, Clara who is 15 and training to be a dancer, and her younger brother, Fritz. Mrs Stahlbaum has invited some of Clara's friends from the ballet school who dance for the guests, after which they ask her to dance herself. She has also invited a magician, Drosselmeyer, to provide an entertainment. He brings gifts for the young children and gives a Nutcracker doll to Clara; she is fascinated by it and her belief that it has magical powers is confirmed when her brother breaks it and the doll strangely mends itself. The party comes to an end, the guests depart and the family retires to bed.

Unable to sleep, Clara creeps downstairs looking for the Nutcracker. As the clock strikes midnight, strange things begin to happen. The whole room seems to grow and grow and a horde of giant rats led by their King attacks Clara. The Nutcracker springs to life and, summoning the toy soldiers, defends her - battle ensues.

Realizing that the Nutcracker is about to be overpowered, Clara hits the Rat King with her shoe and he dies. The Nutcracker falls exhausted to the ground, seemingly lifeless. Sadly, Clara takes him in her arms and tries to revive him. He gradually comes back to life and, to her amazement, has turned into a handsome Prince. He dances with her, then leads her to the Land of Snow where the winds transport her into the night sky.

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