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The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker to be relayed live to cinemas on 8 December 2016

A trip to see Peter Wright’s beloved production is the perfect start to the festive season.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

5 December 2016 at 4.12pm | 9 Comments

Peter Wright’s production of the quintessential Christmas ballet The Nutcracker will be relayed live to cinemas around the world at 7.15pm GMT on 8 December 2016.

Download your Nutcracker Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREENUT and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production.

The cinema relay will be presented by former Royal Ballet Principal Darcey Bussell and broadcaster Ore Oduba.

The story

On Christmas Eve, a young girl called Clara creeps downstairs to play with her favourite present – a nutcracker. But a mysterious magician, Drosselmeyer, is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure.

After defeating the Mouse King, the Nutcracker and Clara travel through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to an amazing display of dances.

Back home, Clara thinks she must have been dreaming – until she bumps into a handsome young man that looks just like her Nutcracker soldier...

Read: Our Essentials guide to The Nutcracker

The production

The Nutcracker is based on a fairy tale by E.T.A Hoffmann. The story was first brought to the stage in 1892, when the director of the Russian Imperial Theatre commissioned Tchaikovsky to create the now iconic score. Lev Ivanov provided the original choreography.

Peter Wright's staging of The Nutcracker was first performed by The Royal Ballet more than 30 years ago and includes a magical Christmas tree which appears to grow during the iconic transformation scene.

Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs draw upon 19th-century images of Christmas, which deliver sparkle and charm in abundance for the festive season.

Read: Painting with music – How Tchaikovsky used the orchestra to create unrivalled ballet scores

The choreography

During Clara’s visit to the Kingdom of Sweets she is accompanied by some of the best-known melodies in ballet, including the flurrying sounds of the Waltz of the Snowflakes and the dream-like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Waltz of the Snowflakes is one of the best-loved moments in Lev Ivanov’s original production of The Nutcracker. Peter Wright incorporated the original choreography in his 1984 production. With the help of Professor Roland John Wiley, he reconstructed the floor patterns danced by Ivanov’s female corps de ballet, forming his own version of this glittering snowstorm.

Read: Why The Waltz of The Snowflakes is our highlight from The Nutcracker

The cast

Francesca Hayward dances the role of Clara for the live cinema broadcast, with Alexander Campbell performing as the Nutcracker/Hans-Peter.

Principals of The Royal Ballet Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli will dance the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and The Prince.


Read audience reactions to this Season's opening night and add your own review.

After the relay, we will publish a roundup of audience tweets, so share your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHnutcracker.

The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 8 December 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels and is staged with generous philanthropic support from The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

This article has 9 comments

  1. Zamira Benthall responded on 6 December 2016 at 9:07am Reply

    This magical production will not be seen by enough children.
    A matinee would have been an idea??

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 6 December 2016 at 10:56am

      Hi Zamira,
      We do have several matinee performances in the cinema during our encore screenings. Find your local screening here.

  2. alex responded on 6 December 2016 at 9:05pm Reply

    Will we get to see Miss Yasmine Naghdi again as the Royal Ballet's most glorious Rose Fairy?

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 8 December 2016 at 12:37pm

      Hi Alex,
      Thanks for your message. Yasmine Naghdi will be dancing as The Rose Fairy in this run. However, due to some possible casting changes, I am not able to let you know what performances at present.
      All best wishes,

  3. Paula responded on 7 December 2016 at 12:11pm Reply

    I'm really glad, this will be relayed to the cinema in Chantilly /France. Thank you!

  4. Thonia Nefkens responded on 8 December 2016 at 5:20pm Reply

    Can hardly wait! Looking forward to the performance tonight! We will see the Nutcracker from the city of Nijmegen, The Netherlands!


  5. jenny responded on 13 December 2016 at 4:52am Reply

    I understand that the Nutcracker will be played at movie theaters. Will these theaters be only in England? Or will people in the States also have an opportunity as well?
    And is there a way we can see the cast list? I was wondering if Yuhui is in this cast?
    thank you so much from Houston, TX USA :)

    • Emma Nevell responded on 13 December 2016 at 11:17am

      Hi Jenny,

      No, our screenings are not restricted to the UK - our content is playing in cinemas all over the world, including in the US! I've just had a look, and we are screening The Nutcracker in Sundance Cinemas Houston on 23rd December - please check our website for more information and to see where else our relays will be shown: In addition, please check here: for more information about the casting of The Nutcracker. I hope you manage to make it to a screening!

      With best wishes,

  6. Pauline Fletcher Pettersson responded on 27 January 2018 at 11:18pm Reply

    I only knew through The Times ,UK,as I read the review,7/12/2017,on my return to Gold Coast ,Australia.
    I had been in UK, so knew the live screening of RB,The Nutcracker,
    ,was going to be featured at cinema's around the world.we saw it at Pacific Fair Cinema, GC.
    Stephen Mc Rae & Sarah Lamb,performing together with Alex was daughter Natasha , & I were entralled,congratulations on a spectaculor performance.

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