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Cinderella Adaptations

Published on Monday 31 March, 2014

Hey I'm Zoe, a Communications Intern here at Northen Ballet. In lieu with the company's current production of Cinerella, I have researched past adaptations of the traditional fairty-tale to see how the arts have adapted the story for stage and screen throughout the years.    

For centuries, the European folk tale of Cinderella has been cherished by many in its varying forms. Whether it’s Charles Perrault’s French fable or the Brothers Grimm’s dark 19th Century retelling, around the globe the story of the impoverished peasant girl turned princess has inspired a vast array of adaptations in literature, film and theatre.

As our own interpretation of the classic fairy-tale takes to the stage, we’ve looked back at the most notable adaptations of Cinderella throughout the years.

Northern Ballet - Cinderella


French director Georges Méliès projected the first film adaptation of Cinderella based on Perrault’s traditional 17th Century version of the fairy-tale. The film enjoyed a roaring success in Paris, Greater Europe and America.


Unbeknownst to many, Walt Disney released two versions of Cinderella; the first being a short Laugh-O-Gram produced at the start of his career. The cartoon adaptation lasts only seven minutes and displays an early phase of Disney animation.


The Van Beuren studios’ animated adaptation of the fairy-tale, Cinderella Blues, takes its inspiration from Aesop’s Fable. The production is a modernised version of the traditional tale and reflects the popular jazz and blues music scene of the decade.


British dancer and choreography, Sir Frederick Ashton (OM, CH, CBE) of the Royal Ballet followed in the footsteps of many before him by reinventing Cinderella into a dance performance. Ashton conducted more than eighty ballets during his illustrious career.


Walt Disney’s feature length animated musical is surely the most notable screen adaptation of Cinderella and is still widely viewed and enjoyed today. The film is one of Walt Disney Studios’ defining productions, clearly seen as Cinderella’s castle lies at the heart of Disneyland resort parks and is visible in the starting credits of their films.


Hey, Cinderella! is a television adaptation of the traditional tale acted out by The Muppets. The television special was first aired by CBC Television.


The Slipper and the Rose is a British musical adaptation of the classic fairy-tale by the Sherman Brothers and was recognised for its musical success through nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTAs.


The cult classic romantic comedy, Pretty Woman, sees penniless L.A. escort, Vivien Ward (Julia Roberts) fall in love with wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) in this well-loved and modern interpretation of the classic story.


In 1993 Christopher Gable created Cinderella as his first full-length production for Northern Ballet (then Northern Ballet Theatre) with an original score from Philip Feeney and additional choreography by Rachel Lopez da la Nieta.

This wasn't the first Cinderella created for Northern Ballet - in 1973 the Company's founder, Laverne Meyer, created a version, and another in 1979 by the then artistic director, Robert de Warren.


Another adaptation by Walt Disney Studios is a feature length musical telefilm which sees the story of Cinderella acted out by a cast of household names such as Whoopi Goldberg, Whitney Houston, Victor Garber and Bernadette Peters.


Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore avoids the traditional pantomime or mythical themes seen in many other adaptations and instead sets their interpretation in renaissance-era France as a work of historical fiction.


On 24 November 2010 David Bintley created a new version of Cinderella for his company, Birmingham Royal Ballet using Prokofiev's famous score. The BBC televised  the ballet over Christmas 2010 to great acclaim.


Disney is set to release another adaption of their favoured fairy-tale next year with an all star cast including Cate Blanchett and Helen Bonham Carter. This new interpretation will be directed by well-known actor, Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Frankenstein) and the screen-play written by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass).

Leave a comment below telling us about your favourite adaptation of Cinderella. Is it one of the productions listed above, or another which hasn't been covered?  

Communications Intern

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.


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