Royal New Zealand Ballet goes online as lockdown closes shows

August 27, 2021

Royal New Zealand Ballet goes online as lockdown closes shows

A filmed Royal New Zealand Ballet performance of Stravinsky's The Firebird will be shown online tonight. Photo: supplied

Kiwi families in lockdown can enjoy a day of online activities with the Royal New Zealand Ballet today, including a pre-recorded performance of Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird this evening.

The company had just completed its Auckland season of Stravinsky’s famous work when the Covid-19 lockdown forced it to put its tour on hold.

“We’re hoping to pick the tour up again after lockdown, but nothing is certain," said choreographer Loughlan Prior.

"My personal hope is we can bring the shows to our remaining venues.”

The company always knew Covid-19 was going to be a risk, so before its tour it filmed a specially staged version of the ballet for the screen.

“Ever since lockdown occurred in 2020, the company had to look at different ways we could provide for our audience,” said Mr Prior.

“We realised that by going online we could reach so many more people, and that our audiences that come and watch our live shows will be able to experience the show in a different way.

“While we are devastated to have had to cancel some performances, it is exciting to have this opportunity to share such a new creation with audiences around Aotearoa,” said Mr Prior.

To celebrate the launch, the company has set up a day of online activities including a question-and-answer session with the choreographer, an online ballet class, as well as themed make-up and cocktail-making tutorials.

“We’re really trying to recreate that sense of magic and excitement you have on opening night, so everyone is thinking about dressing up, having a cocktail and watching the show all from the comfort of their own home.

“Just because we’re in lockdown, that’s not going to stop us.”

Artistic director Patricia Barker describes The Firebird as a story “in which the natural world is threatened, and humanity is staring into the abyss of extinction"

"Captured, the Firebird - a fertility goddess with magical powers - offers the possibility of redemption, if only humankind is brave enough to follow her.

“How we treat one another and how we care about the world for the next generations is at the forefront of [this] production,” said Ms Barker.

Online activities start at 10.30am this morning (Friday, August 27), and the online broadcast of The Firebird will be available from 5pm, with those who sign up for the screening able to view it at any time over a 10-day period.

The full schedule and details can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website.

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