Feature

The memory I cherish most from 25 years of Birmingham Royal Ballet is…

… the opening night of David Bintley’s Cinderella. Great storytelling, great dancers, marvellous sets and costumes. I hope my legacy will support such fabulous first nights in the future.

Charles Glanville

… the absolute wonder felt by a visiting four-year-old when the tree and everything around it grew in The Nutcracker. Bea, now 17, is still an annual visitor and I like to think that a gift in my Will can help future generations of four-year-olds feel that wonder.

Hilary Macaulay

As part of Remember a Charity in Your Will Week, and to celebrate 25 years of Birmingham Royal Ballet, we invited our audiences to share their favourite memories of the Company.

Whether a particular performance, a favourite dancer or a unique costume, we have created wonderful memories for thousands of people – a legacy of which we are very proud. After taking care of family and loved ones, a gift in your Will would help us inspire ballet memories for another 25 years.


RAC Logo colour.

Please join in the conversation by taking a look at the memories already shared, then e-mail us your own favourite memory to Anna Martin. We’ll then upload it to our website, so check back regularly to see more memories.

If you’d like more information about Remember a Charity in your Will week, or leaving a gift in your Will to Birmingham Royal Ballet, visit our Legacy page.


Memories

...the very first time I saw Nutcracker and the visual impact of the giant Christmas tree – stupendous. (Although hotly followed by the huge clock in Cinderella!)

Pauline Wood

Travelling up by coach with the Vic Wells Association on Madam’s 100th birthday, seeing The Prospect Before Us and travelling back eating the birthday cake presented to us!!

Jeanette White

...seeing Birmingham Royal Ballet's most beautiful Nutcracker in London. Then realising, when I moved to the Midlands years later, that I could see Birmingham Royal Ballet all the time at Birmingham Hippodrome. The best ballet company in the world and long live David Bintley.

Annie Whitaker

Seeing Jenna Roberts as Odette in Swan Lake. Her performance was so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye. I hope that my bequest will help Birmingham Royal Ballet to continue with this standard of excellence.

Graham Howlett

...the Stravinsky Festival (jointly with CBSO). It was marvellous to see so many Balanchine ballets and then the re-creation of the 1913 Rite of Spring in the Nijinsky choreography. As Friends we also had the privilege to see the company in rehearsal for this and hear from Millicent Hodgson and Kenneth Archer on the way they reconstructed the 'lost' ballet

Philip Wilson

We flew over and stayed in a hotel close by the theatre. I remember John being amazed at the amount of constant traffic on Smallbrook Ringway, but this was nothing compared to his wonderment the minute the curtain went up! I didn’t know whether to watch his face or the stage – the Christmas tree ‘growing’, and the fireplace, King Rat, all so spectacular and of course the music which always gives us goose bumps. This was the first of so many ballet/ theatre memories – John was 'hooked' from that evening and sharing has given my lifelong passion for ballet an extra dimension.

Kate Keown

...seeing Sir Peter Wright's magical Nutcracker for the first time and seeing Miyako Yoshida as the Sugar Plum Fairy. It was she who fuelled my interest in, and love of, ballet as the ultimate art form. I think I saw Miyako in every role she subsequently performed in her career with Birmingham Royal Ballet, often several times. So many happy memories!

Philip Baldwin

A tradition has evolved in my family of introducing junior members to ballet around age six. My Mother brought me, I brought my own daughter and now I bring her daughter. Age 13 Lily’s a veteran of numerous ballets including six Nutcrackers. My happiest memory is of bringing her to Coppélia several years ago. We were invited to go backstage, before the performance, to see the costumes and one of the headdresses was put onto her head. The expression of wonder on her face and even more when, a few minutes later, she saw that headdress on stage was wonderful and she was still talking about it hours later. I hope my legacy can contribute to ensuring that there will be ballet for Lily's children and grandchildren.

Margaret Shand

...the sheer delight every performance exudes.

Irene Field

...struggling to get to the Hippodrome in the snow & very cold weather – and then enjoying the warmth and brightness of Cyrano.

Christine Green

Where to start? Arthur? Krishna? Pictures at an Exhibition? The original version of Verdi’s Seasons? All brilliant! After much thought it has to be the first outing of The Cracked Nut, with Andrew Murphy being chased by the group of sugar plums.

Martin Woolley

...the raw power of Edward II and every time the King Rat comes out of the fireplace in Nutcracker!

Paulette Burkill

the late 1990s production and performance of Edward II... thrilling, horrifying, and sad. It took me out of my comfort zone and I ended the evening exhausted, exhilarated and overwhelmed. The contemporary music contradicting my expectation of ‘plinkety plonk’ and the choreography (led by Kevin O’Hare) blew away ballet’s conservatism. My friend and I still talk about that evening nearly 20 years later. Thank you.

Elizabeth Denton

Sitting with my mum enjoying every performance we attended, especially the first time we saw The Nutcracker, what wonderful sets and costumes.

Eileen Corkindale

the pure joy and pride on my daughter’s face when she found out she had a place on the amazing and brilliant BRB Dance Track programme. Thank you.

Zoe Brentnall

20 years ago I took my young granddaughters to see The Nutcracker. It was my first visit to the ballet and I was enchanted – and continue to be each time I go to any of the Birmingham Royal Ballet productions.

David Mills

Carmina burana – I could watch it again and again and again and each time be overwhelmed with joy!

Jill Sanders

Seeing Carmina burana for the first time. Fantastic performance.

Dinah Dancer

My most vivid memory of Birmingham Royal Ballet was the first night of Edward II, David Bintley's creation for Stuttgart Ballet which he brought to Birmingham in his second year as Director. Its spectacular and at times terrifying staging introduced a strength to the dance itself and to the dancers of the Company. I shall never forget the shocking death of Edward high on a foreground screen facing the audience - or the two dancers who played Edward - Wolfgang Stollwitzer and Kevin O'Hare.... Maybe the best of Bintley's historical ballets?

Colin Nears

How can I select a single memory except when the set fell down during a rehearsal in Plymouth! Every performance is an incredible experience.

Ian Wren

I have many happy memories. One that stands out is seeing In the Upper Room for the first time and being bowled over by the energy, speed and sheer exuberance of the dancing and the music.  I also treasure memories of seeing for the first time pieces choreographed by Ruth Brill and Kit Holder. It is a wonderful feature of the company that opportunities like this are given to the dancers.

Gillian Shaw

My fondest memory was when I saw Hobson's Choice for the first time. I thought it was absolutely fabulous! So original and the dancing was superb. I also loved The Nutcracker, but remember when I was a child (over 73 years ago) my Mother taking me to see Swan Lake for the first time. I already was attending Ballet lessons but nothing prepared me for the delight and wonderment which I felt then and still do when attending any ballet performances. Thank you so much for the pleasure you convey with all your wonderful presentations.

Sheila Preston

What I have loved is to see the Company blossom and grow in Birmingham as an independent creative force and to have experienced the skill and dedication of everyone at Birmingham Royal Ballet and the magic of its performances, to say nothing of the friendliness of everyone in the organisation. I have made provision in my Will for Birmingham Royal Ballet because I want new generations to discover the thrill and beauty of classical ballet from a company I love, and which is dedicated to bringing those experiences at the highest level to every part of the country, and I want it to be able to continue to develop new work and go in new directions long after my death.

Keith Perry

I have so many Lovely memories of performances it is hard to choose.... David's Take Five to a special piece of music… The purity of the massed swans in Swan Lake... the fun of Western Symphony and Nutcracker Sweeties. The pleasure that the Company has given me has inspired me to leave a legacy so future generations may have that joy and ensure the Company’s future.

Jean Redfern

We were lucky enough to be able to attend the outstanding production of Ballet Hoo at Birmingham Hippodrome. Who could forget the impact of such a bold and extraordinary artistic adventure that Birmingham Royal Ballet undertook with the youth of Birmingham? Our hope is that the Company will continue to expand its repertoire with the vision demonstrated so vividly over the years, and continue to give young dancers the opportunity and encouragement to thrill audiences of the future. We are delighted to support Birmingham Royal Ballet by being members of the de Valois Legacy Circle – it was an easy decision for us to make.

Ian & Maxine Norley

My favourite memory, amongst many, would be the first performance of David's Cinderella that I saw. I had had to take a bit of a break owing to family illness and it was the first time I had been able to get to Birmingham for a while. The production was a breath of fresh air and I was swept away by it. Membership of the de Valois Legacy Circle means that the enjoyment that I have had from Birmingham Royal Ballet will go on into the future. I can think of no better legacy than ensuring the varied work of such a vibrant company. Giving in this way is entirely painless and very tax efficient and I would like to thoroughly endorse membership and the benefits enjoyed by Circle members. We feel really valued and part of the 'team' that is BRB.

Marian Mulady

I must have seen at least 1500 performances by Birmingham Royal Ballet in the last 25 years and I have very, very many favourites - not just one or even 201. That being said, it was not just one performance or memory which has inspired me to leave a gift in my will but, rather, the overall excellence of the company and the enjoyment I have had over the years of watching most performances. Specifically, I like the repertory (especially the number of new ballets) and the quality of the dancers.

Terry Amos

I love to see the new works that Birmingham Royal Ballet has created, each is unique and when I think back over the years these are the memories that I cherish. I have left a gift in my will in the hope that after I have gone, further new works will continue to be created and give the next generation of audiences as much pleasure as I have had.

Nigel Burton