Help keep The Nutcracker Dazzling: The Big Give 2018

Help Birmingham Royal Ballet keep The Nutcracker dazzling as we embark on an ambitious project to refurbish and recreate the spectacular costumes in this iconic and much-loved production. Make a donation online to us from Tuesday 27 November until Tuesday 4 December and double the value of your gift!

Every £1 you donate through the Big Give website from 27 November (12pm) to 4 December (12pm) will be doubled to £2 through the sponsorship of the Reed Foundation. That means even a small gift of £20 will be doubled to £40! All the money you donate will go towards the refurbishment of the Nutcracker costumes. 

Since its first performance it has been performed over 600 times in front of an audience totalling over 900,000 people. Last year, The Nutcracker was performed outside of Birmingham at the Royal Albert Hall in a production specially adapted by David Bintley, where it captivated a whole new audience.

After almost 30 years of performances we need your help to ensure that the costumes, from King Rat and the Sugar Plum Fairy, to all the Snowflakes of the corps de ballet are restored and recreated to match designer John Macfarlane’s wonderful original vision. Over time, the Birmingham Royal Ballet Costume department has spent countless hours repairing the costumes and keeping them looking as fresh and bright as possible.

These costumes were originally made to exacting standards and were designed to be hard-wearing. However, after so many performances, their maintenance is becoming more and more challenging. A major refurbishment, including many completely new costumes to replace those beyond repair, is now required.

Our costume team have done a full assessment of the hundreds of items of clothing and accessories worn by the company for The Nutcracker. Of these, many will need to be remade, some will need a thorough refurbishment, and many others will need new individual elements, such as trousers, headwear or other complementary items. 

This work, which will be carried out to the same high standard as the originals by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s own world-leading costume department, will ensure that our Nutcracker costumes are ready to entertain audiences for another 30 years to come.


  • Birmingham Royal Ballet’s famous Nutcracker is now 30 years old. Most of the costumes are the originals and have seen service in over 600 performances.
  • Give to keep our Nutcracker costumes looking as incredible as designer John Macfarlane intended.
  • Give so that our most famous production can continue to entertain and enthral audiences for years to come.
  • Give so that our talented dancers have costumes that are designed to be comfortable and safe to dance in, performance after performance.
  • Give so that we can introduce a whole new generation to a ballet that has become a Christmastime tradition for so many people.
  • Give to support our in-house costume team in developing their specialist skills in maintaining our world-class costumes across our diverse repertoire.