The Ryman Healthcare Season of

Hansel & Gretel

6 Nov - 14 Dec 2019

RNZB dancers: Shaun James Kelly as Hansel, Kirby Selchow as Gretel. Photo credit: Nicola Edmonds

Faint starlight peeps through the dark forest canopy. It is midnight: the witching hour. Alone and lost, two hungry children stumble towards a glowing vision of warmth and comfort, an enchanting house made of gingerbread. But all is not as it seems…

Follow the breadcrumbs this Christmas, and venture in to the dark, fantastical realm of Hansel & Gretel for an unforgettable evening at the ballet. Inspired by the old-fashioned magic of silent movies and music hall vaudeville, this ballet will transport you to a magical world with large-scale cinematic effects, world premiere choreography by Loughlan Prior and a specially commissioned score by Claire Cowan. This major premiere brings together many of New Zealand’s creative talents to tell a timeless tale for audiences young and old.

RNZB Choreographer in Residence Loughlan Prior has built up a significant body of work as a choreographer and filmmaker, creating works for members of the RNZB as well as for diverse New Zealand companies and creative partners, and for performances and film festivals in Australia, Germany, France, Canada and the USA. Loughlan was the winner of the RNZB’s inaugural Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award in 2015, and in 2016 received Creative New Zealand’s Tup Lang Choreographic Award. His The Long and The Short of It, inspired by Sir Jon Trimmer, enchanted New Zealand audiences during 2018’s Tutus on Tour.

Claire Cowan is at the forefront of compositional talent in New Zealand. She has received significant commissions and awards from orchestras such as the Auckland Philharmonia and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, recently winning a prestigious Silver Scroll for her Television series soundtrack “Hillary”. Her classical concert work is unique in that it seamlessly merges art music and popular idioms, offering a strong connection to audiences. Since 2010, Claire has directed the popular Blackbird Ensemble, a theatrical orchestra dedicated to performing rarely heard music of all genres. Hansel and Gretel will be the first full length ballet score ever commissioned from a female composer in RNZB’s history, performed live by Orchestra Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; a specially-made recording will accompany performances in other centres.


Hansel & Gretel may be a fairy-tale, but for some New Zealanders, poverty and hunger are all too real. Please help us make a difference in your community this Christmas by supporting your local foodbank. Find out more here.


Hansel & Gretel is suitable for children 5 years and above.

View our Babes in Arms and Children at the Ballet Policy here.

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Loughlan Prior


Claire Cowan


Orchestra Wellington, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra


Hamish McKeich, David Kay

Set and Costume Design

Kate Hawley

Lighting Design

Jon Buswell



Palmerston North






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