Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of The Judas Tree. It was last on stage 24 October—1 November 2017.
On a building site in London’s East End, the Foreman’s jealousy and betrayal bring about events of appalling violence.
Kenneth MacMillan’s The Judas Tree is his final ballet, and still his most controversial. MacMillan commissioned a score from Brian Elias for the ballet, which had its premiere in 1992. Both MacMillan and Elias were inspired not only by Biblical stories of betrayal but also by contemporary events – the violence in Tiananmen Square; the creation of the financial district in Canary Wharf. As MacMillan admitted of the finished work, ‘There are things in me that are untapped and that have come out in this ballet that I find frightening’.
For the premiere, the only context to the ballet MacMillan offered was a quotation from Kahlil Gibran’s book of poems The Prophet: ‘As a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, so the wrongdoer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.’ In The Judas Tree MacMillan returns to themes that had occupied him throughout his career – complicity and the cruelty of the mob; self-delusion and the rule of fear; sexual violence – in an uncompromising and discomforting final work.
News and features
19 October 2017
Audience responses and press reviews of the festival bringing six British dance companies together on the Royal Opera House stages.
27 May 2016
The British choreographer transformed classical dance by looking to the influences of the theatre.
20 November 2014
How and where choreographers find stories has changed throughout the art form's history.
22 March 2010
Find out more about Kenneth MacMillan and his choreography.