Follow the breadcrumbs to find out about Scottish Ballet’s latest production.
Step into a fairytale world, with a set design that will enchant even the most seasoned of theatregoers.
Beautiful costumes and imaginative choreography add to the magic of Scottish Ballet’s latest production which brings the well-known tale of Hansel and Gretel to the stage.
The company is pirouetting on stages across Scotland with its revival of the Brothers Grimm tale.
Popular with the public, it was the first production choreographed by Christopher Hampson when he became chief executive and artistic director of Scottish Ballet in 2012. He is no stranger to creating magical worlds on stage and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2005 for his take on Romeo and Juliet, among other accolades.
The familiar tale tells of a town where the children have mysteriously disappeared, apart from Hansel and Gretel.
The adventurous duo embark on an adventure filled with magic, set to the enchanting score by Englebert Humperdinck and played by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.
It can take around two years to put together such a large production, including creating the storyboard and exploring the various design options. Hansel and Gretel was first produced with the company three years ago, so it took less time to put this revival together.
Christopher said: “I am quite fond of the first ballet I created for Scottish Ballet. I started out by looking at the different versions of Hansel and Gretel. We did outreach programmes with young and old people in Scotland to see what their versions of the story were.
“Young people focused more on Hansel and Gretel while older people saw the focus as the mother and father.”
While looking at the set design, the production team also had to work with the dancers, some of whom were new to this production.
In the cast, there are several dancers who alternate between the parts of Hansel, Gretel and the witches. When they aren’t in the main cast, they are dancing in the rest of the ensemble.
The dancers rehearsed for about two months before Hansel and Gretel began, to make sure every step is perfect and that they can interact with the set and the props.
Christopher said: “When I create, I often create with the dancers in the studio. It is quite important to me that we make them believable as children and they look and move like children.”
The cast will perform 60 productions by the end of the tour, which includes Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Newcastle and Belfast.
When coming to Aberdeen, the crew arrive the day before to do the set-up, which they have down to a fine art. Sometimes there may have to be small modifications to the set or the dances, depending on the theatre. At HMT in Aberdeen, there is a slight rake to the stage, creating a small slope, but the dancers quickly get used to it.
Performing so many shows is normal for the team at Scottish Ballet. Their remit is to make sure they are seen by as many people as possible in Scotland.
As the national dance company for Scotland, their aim is to provide high-quality dance to audiences across Scotland, the UK and beyond. They also participate in educational activities and are hosting pre-show talks and family insight sessions when they travel to Aberdeen and Inverness.
“I wanted it to be magical for all ages, that was important,” said Christopher.
Hansel and Gretel is at HMT in Aberdeen from Wednesday, January 18, to Saturday, January 21. See www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/ events/scottish-ballet-hansel-gretel-396274 or call 01224 641122. The show will be at Eden Court in Inverness from Wednesday, January 25 to Saturday, January 28. See www.eden-court.co.uk/whats-on/shows/hansel-gretel or call 01463 234234