Accessibility links


Sign In

Due to the ongoing effects of closure at the Royal Opera House, information about artists is only updated periodically during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Gillian Freeman



British writer Gillian Freeman made her Royal Ballet debut in 1978 creating the scenario for Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling. She returned in 1981 to create the scenario for MacMillan’s Isadora.

Freeman was born in London. She is the author of novels, biographies, radio plays and film and television screenplays. Novels include The Liberty Man, The Leather Boys, The Leader, The Alabaster Egg and But Nobody Lives in Bloomsbury. Screenplays include That Cold Day in the Park, directed by Robert Altman. Television credits include The Campaign (adapted from her novel), The Day After the Fair (adapted from a Thomas Hardy short story) and the film Whose Turn to Live?, all for the BBC.

Freeman’s other stage credits include creating the scenario for Lynn Seymour’s Intimate Letters for Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and the play Pursuit (National Theatre). Her non-fiction books include Ballet Genius, in collaboration with Edward Thorpe.

News and features

Ballet Essentials: Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling

13 April 2017
Ballet Essentials: Kenneth MacMillan’s <em>Mayerling</em>

Our quick introduction to this shattering work from the master of dark narrative ballet.

The tragic true story behind Mayerling

7 May 2013
The tragic true story behind <em>Mayerling</em>

A royal scandal of extreme passion and desperate acts inspired MacMillan's psychological ballet.