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The Age of Anxiety

7–17 November 2014
Main Stage

Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett creates a new narrative ballet for the Company.

When to see it


Liam Scarlett sets Leonard Bernstein's Symphony no.2, 'The Age of Anxiety', inspired by W.H. Auden's epic poem. In a New York bar in wartime four lonely strangers attempt to find spiritual meaning in an industrialized world.


British choreographer Liam Scarlett was appointed The Royal Ballet's first Artist in Residence in 2012. His dark, probing narrative works for the Company – Sweet Violets on the main stage and Hansel and Gretel in the Linbury Studio Theatre – have won acclaim, and so too the unique language of movement exemplified in his abstract works such as Asphodel Meadows and Viscera.

In his new work for the Company Scarlett sets Leonard Bernstein's Symphony no.2, 'The Age of Anxiety'. Bernstein had an intense emotional response to Auden's poem, later writing 'When I first read the book I was breathless'. This deep personal resonance is married with Bernstein's instinctive sense of rhythm, which has made his music so attractive to choreographers. John Macfarlane, who collaborated with Scarlett on all his previous main-stage works for The Royal Ballet, creates the designs.

News and features

  1. Autumn Season 2014/15

    31 March 2014

    The Royal Ballet opens the Autumn Season with Kenneth MacMillan’s masterful Manon. Highlights for The Royal Opera include Plácido Domingo in Verdi’s dark political tragedy I due Foscari and - in a new collaboration with the Roundhouse - Monteverdi’s Orfeo.