Our History

We’ve been proud residents of Birmingham since 1990 – but we can trace our history back to 1931, London and Dame Ninette de Valois, our legendary founder. Here’s how we got from there to here.

Ninette de Valois establishes the Vic-Wells Ballet at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, so called because it performs at both Sadler’s Wells and the Old Vic Theatre.

Sadler’s Wells is bombed during the war, leading the company to tour widely throughout the country – and to change its name to the Sadler’s Wells Ballet after losing its link with the Old Vic.

The company is invited to become resident at the newly reopened Royal Opera House. Soon after, de Valois establishes a new company at Sadler’s Wells called Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet.

Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet undertakes a highly successful tour of the USA.

Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet temporarily loses its link with Sadler’s Wells, and is based instead with its sister company at the Royal Opera House.

The companies, along with their joint school, are granted a Royal Charter – with Sadler’s Wells Ballet becoming The Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet becoming the Touring Company of The Royal Ballet.

The Touring Company (later known as the Royal Ballet New Group and then The Royal Ballet on Tour) returns to base itself at Sadler’s Wells, but continues to tour the country.

The Touring Company changes its name to Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, with Peter Wright as Director.

Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham City Council invites Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet to relocate to Birmingham.

Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet moves to Birmingham, changing its name to Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Sir Peter Wright retires and becomes Director Laureate. David Bintley is appointed BRB’s new Artistic Director.

Sir David Bintley’s new production of Cinderella is broadcast as the BBC’s Christmas ballet.

BRB’s refurbished Birmingham home officially opens for business after year-long building works, as the company celebrates 25 years in the city.

Caroline Miller succeeds Jan Teo as Chief Executive.

Sir David Bintley marks the end of his tenure as Director with performances of his acclaimed production of Hobson’s Choice.

Carlos Acosta becomes BRB’s new Director.