Archive for October, 2012


In Cinderella, The Four Seasons are fairy-like characters who are conjured up by the Fairy Godmother as she transforms the sooty young girl into her ballgown.

Back in 2010 when Cinderella was first created, David explained that they were four of the final costumes to be designed. When we spoke to him about the characters in August, he’d not yet seen two of them at all. Such was his confidence in Designer John Macfarlane, however, that he was not concerned.

Now that the ballet has been performed in full, we can to compare John’s original designs with photography of the finished costumes. Here are the sketches and paintings for each, alongside images from the final show:

Cinderella returns to Birmingham Hippodrome, 21 November-9 December 2012. Click here to book your seats now.

Dancing with the Stars

One of the visual inspirations for Cinderella was the night sky. The Guests at the Prince’s ball dress in rich costumes the colour of twilight, and the ceiling of the ballroom itself fades into twinkling stars.

The Stars also feature at the end of Act I, played by a stagefull of ballerinas in glittering tutus who accompany the Fairy Godmother’s transformation of Cinderella into her ballgown.

The costumes were designed by John Macfarlane, who also designed Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

Here you can see some of John’s original designs for the tutus (Click each photo to enlarge)

From John’s designs, the tutus were made by hand, including all of the decoration. Here you can see photographs of the Stars’ costumes being created ahead of the 2010 premiere, as well as a shot of them being worn in the wings during a performance.



When not in use, the tutus are hung upside-down in order to preserve the bounce(!) For example, the tutus in the picture below are worn by Cinderella in the ballroom scene, and at first glance look relatively plain, as the silver patterning seen on stage is hidden underneath.

While Birmingham Royal Ballet are away on tour this week, a skeleton wardrobe staff have remained back at our Thorp Street HQ. They are currently checking over the star tutus and all of the rest of the costumes to ensure that no repairs need to be made ahead of the new performances of Cinderella this winter.

Click here to book for Cinderella now.

New Cinderella trailer!

Birmingham Royal Ballet performs Cinderella at Birmingham Hippodrome, 21 November – 9 December. You can see the gorgeous new trailer for the show below, and Click here to book your tickets now!

Cinderella’s kitchen

Acts I and III of Cinderella show the title character in the sooty basement kitchen where she is kept by her wicked stepmother.

Back in 2010 when the ballet was first being created, we had a number of peeks at the set prior to curtain up.

Back in March 2010, shots of the original modelbox offered the hint of how it would look. Choreographer David Bintley also revealed at the time that the kitchen would at first appear quite small:

‘John [Macfarlane, designer] has been quite brave in that he has deliberately designed Cinderella’s kitchen to be small. I’ve seen versions of Cinderella set in some of the largest kitchens I’ve ever seen in my life, with vast prosceniums and suchlike. But John said no, it must be credible, like a real kitchen.’

In an extended modelbox video, we also saw how the kitchen would melt away during the magical transformation scene.

The level of detail in the final set was extraordinary. At first we didn’t realise that the sink and surrounding wall in this preview photo were actually part of the set when it was sent up from the warehouse where it was being built!

It was only when the production made it onto the stage, however, that we got a chance to see just how impressive this set – one of a number used throughout the ballet – actually was. Here you can see for yourself, in these photographs from stage rehearsals of the full production:

See it for yourself this winter at Birmingham Hippodrome. Click here to book now for Cinderella.

2010 vs 2012

Cinderella opens again at Birmingham Hippodrome on 21 November 2012 – in only 43 days’ time! During this week in 2010, when the production was first created, choreographer David Bintley had only recently begun working with large groups of the corps de ballet, having previously concentrated on the principal characters.

‘It’s a very different dynamic when you’ve got 40 people in a room, compared to just one or two’, he said at the time.

‘I’m looking round the room to see who is picking upon the idea and focusing upon them. If I’m working with eight couples, for example, one couple will be more forthcoming, or do something slightly different, and I’ll tell the rest of the room to follow their lead.’

One of the busiest scenes naturally takes place at the Prince’s ball, where the dancers sweep across the stage in rich costumes the colour of twilight. Here you can see photographs from the finished production, including the scene pictured above in early studio rehearsals!

Click here to book now for Cinderella at Birmingham Hippodrome and see the magic live on stage.

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