The queen of all ballets: Cleopatra

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Press release date 
Fri 19 Aug 2011

Northern Ballet media release
For immediate release

Northern Ballet’s Cleopatra – billed the must-see ballet of 2011 – is back on tour following a critically acclaimed eight venue debut in spring this year.  The remarkable story of one of the world’s best-known icons will be visiting the Nottingham Theatre Royal on 27 September – 1 October, Woking New Victoria Theatre 4 –  8 October and Norwich Theatre Royal 11 – 15 October.

This new production from Northern Ballet is choreographed by Artistic Director David Nixon OBE to a score composed by celebrated composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, best known across the world for Les Misérables and Miss Saigon. Cleopatra explores the life of arguably the most powerful woman in the world at the time and her passionate love affairs with Marc Antony and Julius Caesar.

Claude-Michel Schönberg says:

'From the moment David Nixon suggested the ballet of Cleopatra, it took me five years to find an elusive spark of inspiration. I had to understand how sensuous the way of life was in Egypt, the opposite to the culture of Rome. I realised that the chaos of being in love with such a woman as Cleopatra put the Roman Emperor and his Empire in danger. That’s what the score is trying to reflect without falling into clichés associated with that era. The relationship between Rome and Egypt is another aspect of the Yin and the Yang: the perfect incompatibility responsible for the drama of destinies.'

An enduring icon of the ancient world and the ultimate modern woman, Cleopatra’s legend has captivated generations. A universal style and beauty icon, Cleopatra is still inspiring artists, designers and stylists today. Although not widely known as a ballet, Cleopatra gained mass popular appeal through the 1963 Hollywood film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Nixon explains:

'I have been fascinated by the story of Cleopatra for a long time. I think it’s the name, it’s just so iconic. It has echoed through the centuries, and it doesn’t lose its resonance. Two-thousand years later she is as popular as she ever was, in fact more so. I think the legend and the mystery of the woman grows rather than lessens.

'There is little factual information about her yet she managed to hold in her grasp two of the most powerful men in history. She was in some ways beautiful and unbelievably sensual for the almost barbaric Romans but she was also a woman, mother and above all a queen.'

Nixon has brought together a group of established Northern Ballet collaborators to work with him on Cleopatra including: Patricia Doyle (Co-director), Christopher Giles (Co-designer) and Tim Mitchell (Lighting Designer).

 - ENDS -


  • Venue Nottingham Theatre Royal, Royal Centre, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND
    Dates Tue 27 Sept – Sat 1 Oct
    Performances Evenings – 7.30pm, Matinees: Thurs 2pm and Sat 2.30pm
    Tickets £11 - £35 (Discounts, concessions and group rates available)
    Box Office 0115 989 555 or
  • Venue Woking New Victoria Theatre, The Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GQ
    Dates £16 - £31 Tue 4– Sat 8 Oct
    Performances Evenings – 7.30pm, Matinees: Thurs 2:30pm and Sat 2.30pm
    Tickets (Discounts, concessions and group rates available)
    Box Office 0844 8717645 or
  • Venue Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL
    Dates Tue 11 Oct – Sat 15 Oct
    Performances Evenings – 7.30pm, Matinees: Thurs and Sat 2.30pm
    Tickets £6.50 - £34 (Discounts, concessions and group rates available)
    Box Office 01603 630000 or

Cleopatra Production credits

  • Music Claude-Michel Schönberg
  • Choreography David Nixon
  • Scenario Claude-Michel Schönberg, David Nixon and Patricia Doyle
  • Orchestrations John Longstaff and Claude-Michel Schönberg
  • Co-Directed David Nixon and Patricia Doyle
  • Designed David Nixon and Christopher Giles
  • Lighting Design Tim Mitchell
  • Projections Nina Dunn
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