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My First Ballet: Coppélia - Peacock Theatre

My First Ballet: Coppélia

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ENGLISH National Ballet and English National Ballet School are presenting Coppélia, the third in their My First Ballet series, at the Peacock Theatre (April 8 to April 19, 2014) and on tour.

Coppélia is the comic tale of an eccentric toymaker and his mechanical doll, based on Ronald Hynd’s original production.

Last year’s creative team of Gavin Sutherland and ENB’s Associate Artist George Williamson, will be collaborating again to bring young audiences their first taste of ballet, with captivating music and beautiful choreography performed by students of the English National Ballet School.

Léo Delibes’s irresistibly melodic score is accompanied with narration from Michael Coleman to ensure that everyone enjoys this classic story.

Children aged 3 and above can get their first taste of classical ballet. Created with youngsters in mind, the simplified version builds on the great success of My First Sleeping Beauty and My First Cinderella, both of which appeared at the Peacock Theatre and on tour.

The aim of such productions is to inspire long term relationships with the art form, reach out to newcomers today and develop the audience of tomorrow.

The dancers will wear the sumptuous costumes from the company’s full production giving audiences the look, feel and quality of a classic ballet. However, the adapted story and choreography will make it more approachable and fun for younger audiences.

English National Ballet School is a touring company featuring second year students of outstanding potential in performances produced by English National Ballet, continuing the initiative to bring ballet to young audiences. George Williamson is a graduate of English National Ballet School.

English National Ballet was awarded a £114,520 grant from the Leverhulme Trust in 2013. The grant was awarded to support two years of the series and English National Ballet are delighted to announce that the funding will also support My First Ballet: Coppélia, helping to develop the dancers of the future and enable students to gain vital skills by working with a professional company.

George Williamson, Associate Artist, said: “I am so pleased to be working on the My First Ballet series for a second year. Last year’s production reached over 45,000 children and it’s fantastic to be a part of their first steps to becoming supporters of the ballet.

“I am tasked with transforming this joyful ballet so that it is engaging to the eyes of children as young as three, introducing them to classical music, balletic mime and the magic of the theatre while still giving them all the elements of a grown up ballet. I have a fantastic team of artists working with me on this project and we cannot wait to share this charming story with children across the country.”

Tickets: £25, £20, £15, £10 – available on 0844 412 4300 or online at www.sadlerswells.com/.

Times: Vary. Please see website for details.

Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes.

The tour will visit Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury; Palace Theatre, Manchester; Assembly Hall Theatre, Royal Tunbridge Wells; New Victoria Theatre, Woking; Waterside Theatre Aylesbury; and Churchill Theatre, Bromley.