Birmingham Royal Ballet announces 2015-16 season at Birmingham Hippodrome

  • Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, the first ever ballet that the Company performed in 1990,returns to celebrate Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 25 years in the city
  • The Nutcracker, created as a gift to the City of Birmingham, turns 25
  • The 2016 year-long commemoration of 400 years since Shakespeare’s death begins with Frederick Ashton’s The Dream
  • A new ballet by Jessica Lang and a new to the Company ballet by José Limón arrive in the summer
  • Plenty of family-friendly performances, including weekday and weekend matinees
  • Flexible range of ticket prices from as little as £10 with a generous choice of concessionary rates, making ballet accessible for all

Birmingham Royal Ballet announces the 2015/2016 Birmingham Hippodrome season, the 26th season at its home theatre in the Midlands. The season will celebrate the Company’s varied repertory, from the lavish Swan Lake in the autumn through to the return of The Nutcracker for Christmas and The Taming of the Shrew in the summer of 2016. Added to the mix will be two works new to Birmingham audiences; a thrilling one-act tragedy, José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane, and The Sonnets, a new one-act ballet from Jessica Lang which is a world premiere for Birmingham Royal Ballet. Over the course of the season, the Company will perform four full-length classic ballets and three programmes of shorter works to include the return of Alexander Whitley’s Kin., David Bintley’s The Shakespeare Suite and a revival of Frederick Ashton’s 1976 creation A Month in the Country.

During the 15/16 season Birmingham Royal Ballet will continue to focus on creating new works and presenting quality productions at affordable ticket prices. The Company has held most of its prices for the last few seasons and from September 2015 a flexible range of prices will enable the Company to offer tickets from as little as £10 with a generous range of concessionary rates available to many. This is designed to open up the work of Birmingham Royal Ballet to a greater audience and make productions such as the Company’s highly acclaimed mixed bills accessible to all.

Throughout the season, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 60 full-time dancers from across the world will be accompanied by Britain’s busiest ballet orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. The Sinfonia under the musical directorship of Koen Kessels, with Principal Conductor Paul Murphy and Conductor Philip Ellis, plays for Birmingham Royal Ballet's wide-ranging programme in the UK and abroad.

The 15/16 Birmingham season begins with Swan Lake. Ballet’s greatest love story returns with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s lavish production. This romantic fable of ill-fated passion, powerfully illuminated by Tchaikovsky’s legendary score, has bewitched audiencess for generations.

Swan Lake 28 September – 6 October 2015

By a moonlit lake, a grieving prince witnesses the transformation of a swan into a beautiful princess. Compelled by an evil spell to spend her days in the form of a bird, she can only be saved by the power of love.

Filled with exquisite ensembles, lyrical pas de deux and bravura solos, this Swan Lake is atmospheric, romantic and beautiful- an unforgettable experience.

Variations triple bill

Theme and Variations / Kin. / Enigma Variations 8 – 10 October 2015Join us as we celebrate 25 years in Birmingham with three contrasting ballets that showcase the Company’s extraordinary range: classical, abstract, and distinctively English.

Joyful and grand, Theme and Variations (which launched the Company’s 1990 season) is George Balanchine’s love letter to classical Russian ballet, set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No.3.

Abstract ballet Kin. by former Company dancer Alexander Whitley (twice nominated for Critics Circle National Dance Awards)is an athletic piece danced to a pulsing, hypnotic score by Phil Kline.

Enigma Variations, an elegant and eccentric character ballet, is Frederick Ashton’s poignant depiction of Edward Elgar and his friends.

The Nutcracker 27 November – 13 December 2015

There’s no better sign that Christmas is approaching than the arrival of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s evergreen production of The Nutcracker. Brimming with festive energy, this ballet charms young and old alike.

When a young girl sneaks downstairs on Christmas eve to play with her new nutcracker doll she is swept up in a fantastic journey filled with toy soldiers, sugar plum fairies and of course her handsome prince. This world-famous production by Sir Peter Wright, with exquisite designs by John Macfarlane, is acclaimed as one of the best in the world.

Ashton double bill

The Dream / A Month in the Country 17 – 20 February 2016

In this programme of one-act ballets we focus on works by one of England’s most influential choreographers, Sir Frederick Ashton, and his deft hand at characterisation and narrative through dance.

In The Dream love gets out of hand for mortals and fairies alike in an elegant and witty distillation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Created in 1964 to mark Shakespeare’s birthday, The Dream kicks off Birmingham Royal Ballet’s year-long commemoration of 400 years since the playwright’s death.

A Month in the Country, inspired by Turgenev’s play, is the story of a bored housewife, a charming young man, and a dreaming girl; a poignant and romantic tale.

Romeo and Juliet 24 – 27 February 2016

Love at first dance, forbidden passions, dangerous secrets and star-crossed fate combine in an exhilarating classic ballet.

Kenneth MacMillan’s best-loved adaptation of this famous play continues Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2016 Shakespeare celebration.

Set to Prokofiev’s instantly recognisable soaring score, Romeo and Juliet tells the familiar tale of two young lovers at the mercy of powerful families and their own hearts. From the balcony scene’s ecstatic pas de deux to the lovers’ heart-breaking ends, Romeo and Juliet has been an audience favourite since its first performance.

The Taming of the Shrew 16 – 18 June 2016

Choreographer John Cranko adapts Shakespeare’s tale of mismatched marriage to create his undoubted masterpiece.

In this sparkling comedy, independent and tempestuous Kate gives her suitor Petruchio considerably more than he bargained for.

Cranko breathes new life into this witty battle of the sexes, set to a sparkling baroque score by Domenico Scarlatti, and achieves a memorable and truly funny mix of comedy, romance and bravura dancing.

Shakespeare triple bill

The Sonnets / The Moor’s Pavane / The Shakespeare Suite 22 – 25 June 2016

The 2015/16 Birmingham Hippodrome season finishes with a combination of tragedy, comedy and poetry, all translated into dance.

José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane distils the passion and drama of Shakespeare’s Othello in a thrilling one-act tragedy, tightly focussed on four characters and their jealousy.

David Bintley’s The Shakespeare Suite sets a collection of the Bard’s best-loved characters to a swinging Duke Ellington score and offers a quicksilver visit to Shakespearean couples of every sort, star-crossed, bewitched, squabbling and romantic, plus a powerhouse solo.

Jessica Lang captures the poetry of The Sonnets in her new world premiere work for Birmingham Royal Ballet.


  • PRESS NIGHTS – Birmingham Royal Ballet press nights will take place on the first night of each production. For press ticket requests please contact Claire or Ben in the press office. Please note that tickets are strictly limited.
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet at BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME 2015–16 season on-sale dates

7 April: BRB Friends and Donors processed from this date (in person, by post or telephone).

14 April: Renewing subscribers (in person, by post or telephone).

14 May: Public booking season packages (in person, by post, telephone or online).

1 June: Public booking individual tickets online, telephone and in-person.

  • Book tickets online at or phone Birmingham Hippodrome ticket office 0844 338 5000. For full booking information please visit
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Birmingham Hippodrome 14/15 season at a glance:

28 September – 6 October 2015: Swan Lake

8 – 10 October 2015: Variations triple bill (Theme and Variations / Kin. / Enigma Variations)

27 November –13 December 2015: The Nutcracker

17 – 20 February 2016: Ashton double bill(The Dream /A Month in the Country)

24 – 27 February 2016: Romeo and Juliet

16 - 18 June 2016: The Taming of the Shrew

22 –25 June 2016: Shakespeare triple bill (The Sonnets / The Moor’s Pavane / The Shakespeare Suite)

  • Autumn 2015 tour dates confirmed(more information and 15/16 tour dates to follow)

The Lowry, Salford:23 – 26 September Swan Lake

Sunderland Empire Theatre: 22 – 24 October Swan Lake

Theatre Royal Plymouth: 27 - 29 October Swan Lake; 30 – 31 October Variations triple bill (Theme and Variations / The King Dances / Enigma Variations)

Belfast Grand Opera House: 4 – 7 November Swan Lake

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton: 26 – 30 January 2016 Swan Lake