The Ryman Healthcare Season of

The Nutcracker

31 Oct - 15 Dec 2018

Christmas comes but once a year, and for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Christmas 2018 will be extra special, as we stage a national tour of The Nutcracker for the first time since 2010. Offering festive enchantment for all ages, this is a Christmas gift for all the family.

Our story begins on Christmas Eve, as Tchaikovsky’s fairy-tale music fills the air and Marie is given a nutcracker doll by her mysterious Uncle Drosselmeier. Falling asleep on the sofa, she dreams a Christmas dream of magic and romance…

As the clock strikes midnight, the drawing room is transformed into a battleground. Skirmishes break out between toy soldiers, led by the brave Nutcracker, and the motley crew of mice who emerge from the shadows of the skirting boards. All seems lost, but clever Marie saves the day, and the handsome Nutcracker Prince sweeps her away on a snowy journey to the enchanted Marzipan Castle.

Welcomed to the magical kingdom by the Sugar Plum Fairy, Marie and her Prince are captivated by dances representing tea, coffee, chocolate, marzipan and flowers. The dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy brings the entertainment to a climax in one of ballet’s most beloved showpieces.

As the night ends, Marie awakes on Christmas morning, knowing that the sweetest memories are made with those whom we love.

Tchaikovsky’s magical and much-loved score will be performed live in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland and Dunedin; a specially-made recording will accompany performances in other centres.

Choreography by Val Caniparoli.


Running time is approximately two hours, including a 20 minute interval.

What are they saying

Spellbinding visuals, technical excellence on the part of the dancers, and a flawless live performance by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra combined to offer a treat for all ages.

Sadie Beckman

NZ Herald

For children in the audience, Act One would be absolutely enchanting and it’s lovely to appreciate the transformative power of the theatre by imagining it through their eyes.

Brigitte Knight


There arguably hasn’t been this much snow falling in any RNZB production we’ve attended over the years,

Jack Yan




New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra


Hamish McKeich


Val Caniparoli


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Set design

Michael Auer

Costume design

Assisted by Patricia Barker

Lighting Design

Jon Buswell







Palmerston North




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