Hello, my name is Cindy Sughrue and I’m the CEO for Scottish Ballet. Welcome to my weekly blog, where I’ll be talking about what’s happening behind-the-scenes here at Scotland’s national dance company.
It’s just four days until the world premiere of Hansel & Gretel, the time when, after months of preparation, everything finally comes together and we see the magic on stage for the first time.
For our Artistic Director, Christopher Hampson, this is a particularly exciting time because Hansel & Gretel is the first piece he has made for Scottish Ballet since he joined the company in summer 2012. Chris has created a truly charming ballet, full of great storytelling and wonderful characters. Gary Harris’s designs are fantastic and we’ve all enjoyed having Gary and his canine companion, Doris, here working with us!
The nature of my role at Scottish Ballet means that I spend a lot of my time thinking about the future; indeed, this week my head has been mainly in 2015 and beyond. But the moment I walk through the stage door during a production week, I am back in the present, amidst the activity and buzz that leads up to a world premiere.
While the production team has been in the theatre getting the set, props, costumes and lighting ready, the Scottish Ballet Orchestra has actually been rehearsing in our production workshop at Tramway before they join the rest of the company in the theatre tomorrow for the first time. The score for our Hansel & Gretel is taken from the opera of the same name by Engelbert Humperdinck, and it’s fascinating to hear it without voices – it’s incredibly rich and very danceable!
(Photo taken by our dancer Constance Devernay)
This afternoon will be the first rehearsal on stage for the kids who will be involved in the Glasgow performances. This is the final element of Hansel & Gretel, and Me – an 18-month long community engagement project that invited people of all ages from across the country to help shape our new production. The project has reached nearly 10,000 people and involved creative writing, art, storytelling, music and, of course, dance. Chris and our Education team have also worked with 100 talented young people preparing them to perform alongside Scottish Ballet’s dancers when Hansel & Gretel comes to their local theatre.
So, four days and counting – and then it will be 53 performances over an 8-week UK tour!