HK BALLET SEASON 2020/2021 | Hong Kong

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Don Quixote | Li Lin and Hong Kong Ballet Dancers | Photographer: Conrad Dy-Liacco | Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

We could not be more thrilled that Hong Kong Ballet, Asia’s premier ballet company, is pirouetting, glissading and jetéing back into live performance starting 30 October 2020.

This new season is bursting with classics, including: Don Quixote (30 October 2020); The Nutcracker (18 December 2020); Artistic Director Septime Webre’s Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella, featuring a stripped-down and narrated version of Prokofiev’s score (30 January 2021); Balanchine’s Jewels (21 May 2021); and Septime Webre’s new Romeo + Juliet, with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta on Prokofiev’s iconic score (18 June 2021).

In addition, Hong Kong Ballet will be running turn(it)out festival for two weeks at West Kowloon Cultural District’s Freespace, kicking off with an opening gala on 29 January 2021. The Vivaldi / Handel Project follows on 5 February 2021, along with a ton of interactive, family-friendly activities and events throughout the two weeks.

Artistic Director Septime Webre says that the central theme for the new season is, quite simply, love: “The word “love” infuses absolutely everything at Hong Kong Ballet: love of being a dance artist, and love for our amazing city, which has seen and experienced so much this past year. Love fuels the dedicated work we do, and drives the innovative ways we engage with the community. Love is not about getting – it’s about giving.” Well, we certainly cannot wait to celebrate this love for ballet in Hong Kong again.

Read Hong Kong Ballet’s new brochure and get booking.

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THE QUARANTINE QUILT | Cambridgeshire, online

Interview

Glimmer Theatre is a visual folk theatre ensemble who create female-led action adventure stories, and exciting community events.

Andrew Brock and Sophie Crawford talk about their new collaborative project.

What will The Quarantine Quilt look like when it’s complete?

SC: We don’t know yet! Come back in July and see.

AB: It will be an enormous patchwork quilt, made up entirely of little red and white patches, which will ultimately be displayed in libraries and museums across Cambridgeshire. People can submit their patches online or by post.

What inspired you to do this project?

AB: I’m from Cambridge originally, and Cambridgeshire County Council approached us for their new initiative, The Library Presents: in your house.

SC: We wanted to channel the lockdown life into something collaborative and artistic, and The Library Presents are producing this project.

AB: On Zoom, when you have a group call, it looks like a patchwork quilt. I thought that would be an amazing starting point for a project. Millions of individual squares of light, making up our isolated population. We want to draw those squares together literally and physically into a hybrid of physical and digital art making.

What sort of things are you looking for?

AB: We are very open-minded!

SC: It’s a chance for everyone to create something inspired by their time in lockdown. It could be a symbol of the virus like a facemask; or it could be something wonderful like a bird. I’m excited to see what patches people come up with.

How do people get involved?

AB: We are particularly looking for people to make real-life patches with needle and thread. We will send all the materials!

SC: Even if you’ve never picked up a needle and thread before – we want to hear from you! Just go on the website, it’s all there. You can submit digitally or you can request patches to be posted to your house.

Visit the Glimmer Theatre website to design your own patch and get involved in The Quarantine Quilt.

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THE RIVER RUNNER | London, Streatham Space

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Glimmer Theatre’s exciting new family show comes back to London’s Streatham Space this February half term, for eight performances only, promising ice skating, magic and adventure – brought to life with stirring live music, and Glimmer Theatre’s trademark beautiful imagery, inspired by “A Rich Theatre by Little Means”.

Co-artistic director Sophie Crawford, who has also composed the show’s live music, most recently appeared in Warhorse and Amélie in the West End. She chalks the show’s success down to the passion of the whole company: “We are passionate about creating family theatre with an inspiring message,” she says. “I think it introduces children to characters and places they might never have encountered before.”

Co-artistic director and designer Andy Brock agrees: “The show is very entertaining, and rehearsals have been extremely playful, which I think comes through in performance, too. But at its core, The River Runner is a story about a strong young woman, who uses her talent and skill to change the world around her.”

It’s 1901 in Isleham village, Cambridgeshire, and Annabelle Howgego is the best ice skater for miles around. With metal skates strapped to her boots, Annabelle casts off her dull life as a scullery maid, and becomes a champion skater. But this year, something rises up from the frozen river, and sends the village into chaos. It’s down to Annabelle to save her village and solve the mystery of what lurks beneath the ice.

You can read our review of the show here.

The River Runner will be skating back into Streatham Space 20 – 23 February 2020.

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TITANIC: THE MUSICAL | Hong Kong, HKAPA Drama Theatre

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“We spent a really, really long time — much longer than any other show before — trying to work out the set design,” explains director Candice Caalsen, who is directing a cast of forty-two adults for the “Face Productions“ performances, and a cast of a hundred children aged 8-18 for the “Face Academy“ performances of this epic musical. “Of course, we didn’t want to make a boat, and then try and sink it. We’ve gone a bit more abstract.”

The five-time Tony award-winning 1997 Broadway musical approaches the historic tragedy of 1912 in a way completely different to the 1997 film. “We want to transport audiences to another era,” Caalsen explains. “It’s a real story, and all the characters are based on the real people who were on the Titanic, so every story you see is real. We definitely want people to go away feeling moved, and remembering such a historic tragedy.”

Both Face Academy and Face Productions rely on a cast of volunteers, but for the adult cast, at least, you can expect to see the lead roles played by trained professionals from all over the world, and all local Hong Kong talent.

There’s no live band (audiences will hear a fully customisable, “conducted” backing track with a bit of live keyboard), but both gigantic casts are going to blow the roof off in the ensemble numbers. Don’t miss the boat!

Book the “Face Academy” performances and the “Face Productions” performances online, playing 11 – 13 October 2019.

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TORUK: THE FIRST FLIGHT | London, O2 Arena

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Cirque du Soleil’s 2015 arena spectacular, based on James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), is coming to London. Still the highest-grossing film of all time at $2.8 billion, Avatar is about how, on the planet Pandora, a local tribe of Na’vi become endangered by the expansion of a mining colony. This contemporary circus show is a sort of prequel, set thousands of years before the events of the film.

In Avatar, Jake Sully becomes the sixth person to successfully ride a great leonopteryx, also known as a toruk: any rider is then named Toruk Makto. But who was the first Toruk Makto? Set around 837 BC, the show follows the journey of Entu, the first Na’vi to become a Toruk Makto, in order to save the Tree of Souls from being destroyed by a volcano.

Cirque du Soleil are globally renowned as the greatest circus on earth, and audiences can expect plenty of jaw-dropping acrobatic stunts. However, this differs from most Cirque du Soleil shows in that there is a narrative core. The show also has a large focus on puppetry, animating the wild and diverse creatures of Pandora: viperwolves, direhorses, austrapedes and turtapedes. The leonopteryx/toruk flies using reverse-string puppetry, with the puppeteer beneath the creature.

Toruk also features multimedia audience interaction, where audience members use a mobile app to to influence visual effects and interactive content during the performance. It’s Cirque du Soleil pushing their art to the limits: no wonder this has been such a global hit show for the last four years. Book now!

Take flight with the ancient Na’vi in London for seven performances only, 26 — 30 June 2019.

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY ON ICE | London, SSE Arena Wembley

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The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice has been touring worldwide since 2017 and finally, for the first time, reaches the UK. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse invite fans on a treasure-filled journey bound for heartwarming adventure.

Audiences can expect a huge selection of excerpts from from across all of Disney’s hits, including: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1939); Aladdin (1992); The Lion King (1994); Tangled (2010); and — of course — Frozen (2013). You’ll also get the chance to see characters from The Little Mermaid (1989); Toy Story (1995); and, for the first time in the UK, Finding Dory (2016).

As well as all this, there’s also Disney Princess parade, and the whole clubhouse gang come to join in the fun too. Plus, you can learn the Mouse Bounce dance during the Fit to Dance pre-show!

Disney On Ice shows are always inspiring, featuring a huge cast of some of the best figure skaters in the world. Produced by Feld Entertainment, Nicole Feld says, “Whether this is your first time attending Disney on Ice or you’ve been coming for years, our goal is to create an atmosphere where families can create a dialogue between generations and bring to light their cherished memories.”

The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice brings beloved characters, both classic and new, to life through cutting-edge figure skating, incredible costumes and stunning set designs. Innovative lighting, thrilling special effects and breathtaking skating make it an experience the whole family will remember forever.

The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice plays at The SSE Arena, Wembley, 13 – 17 March 2019.

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DISNEY ON ICE: DREAM BIG | London, The O2

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Feld Entertainment’s all-new production assembles a collection of inspiring stories about Disney’s greatest heroines, featuring highlights from Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and — of course — Frozen.

The title comes from Disney’s recent “Dream Big, Princess” campaign, a video series encouraging girls to follow their passions and “be students; be teachers; be politicians; be preachers; be believers; be leaders; be astronauts; be champions”.

Feld Entertainment Regional Vice President, Steven Armstrong, says, “The stories of Moana and Frozen, in particular, inspire a new generation of young girls through self-reliance and a belief in themselves. Our greatest wish for our guests is that they will be inspired by these tales of bravery and see that anything is possible if you follow your dreams.”

But the title of the new ice spectacular shows that it’s just as much for boys as it is for girls. Executive Vice President and Producer, Nicole Feld, says, “Having both a daughter and son at home, I knew it was important to present a variety of Disney stories as well as show the connection between these stories and illustrate how a journey can unfold in many ways.”

2018 also celebrates 90 years since the creation of Walt Disney’s ‘True Original’, Mickey Mouse. Guests should arrive early to join a special 90th birthday celebration! High-flying jumps, breathtaking skating and lovable Disney friends make Disney On Ice presents Dream Big an experience your family will never forget, so book now.

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big will be skating into Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham and London from the 21st September 2018 to 6th January 2019.

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THE WIDER EARTH | London, Natural History Museum

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In an exciting collaboration, the National History Museum will be hosting The Wider Earth, an award-winning drama about 22-year old Charles Darwin’s voyage across the globe. Fronted by six young actors bubbling with enthusiasm, the show will bring originality, energy and fun to the story of Darwin’s five-year expedition on HMS Beagle.

The production will be fast-paced and colorful, combining an original score (Lior and Tony Buchen) with live drawings (Justin Harrison) projected on a concave backdrop. The centrepiece is a revolving set (David Morton, Aaron Barton) that offers a deconstructed version of rich wood-paneled HMS Beagle, offering unexpected vistas and angles.

The production, set in the beautiful Jerwood Gallery, will be framed with stone arches and a vaulted ceiling. Seating 357 people, this sparse and elegant space will provide a uniquely immersive experience for the audience. They’ll also pass by the Darwin Centre on their way to the show, to get them in the mood.

The play’s most charming attraction may well be its thirty puppets of iguanas, armadillos and other creatures, conceived by the Dead Puppets Society. These wooden cutouts move just like real animals; the actors operate them as feral extensions of their own bodies. Seeing it all come to life was magical, and enough to warrant this reviewer buying a ticket for opening night. Don’t miss it.

The Wider Earth runs from 2 October to 30 December 2018.

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