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Timeline of a production

A great deal goes into the creation of a new production beyond the choreography. Sets and costumes have to be designed & made, music commissioned & arranged, props have to be created or bought, the scenario has to be written, posters and publicity material made.

We've put together this rough timeline of what happens and when. Sometimes things take longer and occasionally some things happen quicker than expected. Whatever happens everything has to be completed by a set date - the world première.

Month 0
  • Title agreed and the scenario begins to be written
Month 1
  • Scenario on going
  • Initial budget agreed
Month 2
  • Scenario agreed and the set designer, costume designer, composer, lighting designer are all contracted
  • Costumes are made for the photocall
  • Photocall for the posters
Month 3
  • First meeting of the creative team to discuss the project either in person (or via Skype)
Month 4
  • Set designer delivers first version of the set in a 1:25 scale model
  • Technical team begin costing process of the production
  • Composer begins work
Music Director John Pryce-Jones on choosing a composer for Cinderella.
Month 5
  • Costings in and the Creative Team look to cut costs to fit within budget constraints
Month 6
  • Final set model
  • Costume designs and production budget agreed
Designer Duncan Hayler on designing the sets for Beauty & the Beast.
Month 7
  • Work commences on the set build
  • First production meeting with all production staff
Month 8
  • Set model and concepts revealed to the Company
  • Props being made and bought
  • Set continues to be built
  • Composer delivers first draft of composition
  • Costumes being made
  • Second production meeting
Month 9
  • First rehearsal for dancers on top of main tour
  • Props continue to be made and sourced as choreography develops
  • Painting of set and backcloths
  • Set continues to be made
  • Costumes being made
  • Third production meeting
Dancers improvising dialogue for their characters during early rehearsals for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Month 10
  • Costumes being made in house
  • Set building finalised and changes to the set made as needed during rehearsals
  • Fourth production meeting
Month 11
  • Final rehearsals on the road before two weeks in the studios at our home
  • Set pieces that are required in the rehearsals delivered to our home
  • Lighting designer watches rehearsals
  • Fifth production meeting
Month 12
  • All sets, props, paintings and costumes finished
  • Orchestra rehearsals
Month 12:
Production week
  • Everything delivered to the theatre for Monday morning
  • Five days of building the set, lighting the production, technical rehearsals, orchestra and dancer rehearsals
The Cleopatra set being installed at Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
  Opening night  

Key to Company activity, based on averages

  Company at base in rehearsals   Company performing/on tour   Dancers' holiday

What happens next?

After the première comes our tour; but how are productions chosen to come back into the repertoire and which venues they go to? Northern Ballet Chief Executive, Mark Skipper DL, explains how a tour is planned...