The Nutcracker –  Festive fun for all the family

The Royal New Zealand Ballet spreads festive cheer from Auckland to Invercargill this Christmas with The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcracker. This brand new traditional production by world-renowned choreographer Val Caniparoli is inspired by E.T.A Hoffmann’s 1816 novel The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says: “Seeing a performance of The Nutcrackercreates special memories and family traditions. It’s an enchanting ballet that the entire family can enjoy year after year. The Nutcrackershares the joy of the holidays and reminds us whether we are young or old that to dream is the most magical gift of all.”

Gordon MacLeod, Chief Executive of Ryman Healthcare, said the team was excited for the Nutcrackerseason. “I think Christmas 2018 is going to be extra special for thousands of New Zealanders thanks to this festive ballet. We’re pleased to have been asked to support this tour, which we’re sure will bring a lot of joy to young and old.’’ “We will be getting into the swing of things with Nutcracker-themed activities at our villages so our residents and staff can be part of the fun in the lead-up to Christmas.’’

Many RNZB dancers past and present took their first steps on the professional stage as child extras in The Nutcracker. The company is thrilled to continue this special ballet tradition in 2018. RNZB Ballet Masters travelled around the country auditioning 665 young dancers from 95 schools, with 351 being given the opportunity to perform on stage with the RNZB as the company tours the production throughout New Zealand from 31 October – 15 December.

The RNZB will team up with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Dunedin Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich who will perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s much-loved score in their respective cities with a specially-made recording to accompany performances in Invercargill, Blenheim, Palmerston North and Napier.

School matinee performances in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland have already sold out and the RNZB is grateful to funders including the Four Winds Foundation, The Ballet Foundation of New Zealand and Perpetual Guardian – New Zealand Charitable Foundation who have subsidised students’ tickets and their transport costs, as well as other community and education initiatives throughout the Nutcrackertour. Selected matinee performances in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland will include audio description for blind and visually-impaired audience members.  This outreach initiative by RNZB Education proved hugely popular with audiences for the RNZB’s Romeo and Julietin Auckland  in 2017 and is now expanding with support from the Trillian Trust.

Four new company members will make their debuts with the RNZB during The Nutcracker, in addition, three students from the New Zealand School of Dance and one intern from Mount Eden Dance Academy in Auckland, will join the corps de ballet for the duration of the season.

Wellingtonians and visitors to the city are invited to enjoy the RNZB’s annual free all-day event at Te Papa on Saturday 29 September. Ballet lovers young and old can watch class on stage and rehearsals of The Nutcrackerin Soundings Theatre as well as many other attractions, workshops and classes taking place around the building throughout the day.

Tickets are on sale now – for details of how to book in all venues, including special prices for children and groups, see The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcrackeropens in Wellington on 31 October, touring to Blenheim, Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier and Auckland, and concludes with performances at Takapuna’s Bruce Mason Centre on 14 and 15 December.

The Nutcracker