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Tour-watch Autumn 2015: What's on outside the M25

A look at UK dance and opera companies on tour this autumn.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

11 August 2015 at 5.54pm | 2 Comments

The opera and dance scenes across the UK are thriving, with opportunities to see live performances wherever you are in the UK. To give a taster of the breadth of work being performed, we've picked out a few companies who will be touring the UK this autumn:


Welsh National Opera are on tour with three operas: Annilese Miskimmon’s new production of Bellini’s I Puritani, Harry Fehr’s new production of Handel’s Orlando, and James Brining’s production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Each production will be performed in Cardiff, Southampton, Bristol, Llandudno, Oxford and Birmingham, with Sweeney Todd also performed in Liverpool. This summer, they will stage In Parenthesis on the Covent Garden main stage, a new work that celebrates the company's 70th anniversary.

English Touring Opera also take three productions on tour, and have selected three dramatic French operas: Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman and Massenet’s Werther, all performed at venues across the country. View tour dates here.

Opera North, whose co-production with the ROH Lulu: A Murder Ballad opens in the Linbury Studio Theatre in November, are touring two productions this autumn: Giles Havergal’s period production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Tom Cairns’ production of Leoš Janáček’s Jenůfa. Both will be performed in Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Salford Quays.

In addition, two productions performed in the Linbury Studio Theatre this autumn can be seen elsewhere in the UK:

Little Bulb Theatre'Orpheus, a bonkers reimagining of the ancient myth of Orpheus, was highly acclaimed during two sold-out runs at Battersea Arts Centre. After performances in London, the show will travel on for performances in Bristol, Southampton, Liverpool and Birmingham. View tour dates.

Enda Walsh and Donnacha Dennehey’s The Last Hotel, currently being performed at the Edinburgh Festival, will also be performed in Dublin (27 September–3 October), before coming to the Linbury Studio Theatre in October. The work will also be performed in New York. View tour dates.


In the Linbury Studio Theatre, Phoenix Dance Theatre performs a mixed programme, Until.With/Out.Enough / Tearfall / Bloom. The programme, which features work by Sharon Watson, Caroline Finn and Itzik Galili, can be seen at venues across the country, including Leeds, Canterbury and Lancaster. View the full list of venues and dates.

Northern Ballet, who this year celebrate their 45th anniversary, are taking a wide range of productions on tour, including 1984 – former Royal Ballet dancer Jonathan Watkins’ new adaptation of George Orwell’s iconic novel. It is Watkins' first full-length work for the company. They will also tour with Daniel de Andrade’s Elves and the Shoemaker, Dreda Blow’s The Hair and the Tortoise, Madame Butterfly with Perpetuum Mobile (performed in one venue only), and David Nixon’s Wuthering Heights and The Nutcracker.

Ballet Black will be performing a triple bill at venues across the UK in October and November. The programme includes a gothic fairytale by Mark Bruce and works by Kit Holder and Will Tuckett. View performance dates. The company is also performing Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, the company's first family ballet choreographed by Christopher Marney, at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre and the Watford Palace Theatre.

From September, contemporary dance company Rambert will be performing a diverse range of work on tour, including Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, a celebration of the Sixties with a Rolling Stones soundtrack, pieces by Alexander Whitley and Shobana Jeyasingh, and a selection of new work created by Rambert dancers. View tour dates.

In Scotland, Scottish Ballet will be touring to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness with a mixed programme - Elsa Canasta & Motion of Displacement - that features work by Javier de Frutos, Bryan Arias and Sophie Laplane; and Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella (from December). View tour dates.

ROH Links

ROH Links organizations — small and medium-sized opera, dance and theatre companies based around the UK — are also staging work around the UK. Visit their websites for further details:

Are there other touring companies whose programmes you'd recommend?

This article has 2 comments

  1. Charles responded on 11 August 2015 at 9:04pm Reply

    Didn't the Royal Opera and Ballet used to tour? I remember seeing the RB back in Manchester in the late 80s when I was a student.

    Is it really necessary to keep all the revenue and performances in London or for those who can afford it abroad? I'm not sure how that is justified.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 17 August 2015 at 3:00pm

      Hi Charles,

      The Arts Council fund English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet and our sister company Birmingham Royal Ballet to tour around the UK. Formerly known as The Royal Ballet Touring Company and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (among other changes of name) this sister Company became independent of The Royal Ballet in the 1990s when it relocated to Birmingham and became Birmingham Royal Ballet. It continues the function of touring to the areas previously covered by The Royal Ballet.

      You may be interested in seeing a ROH Live Cinema Season relay of a Royal Ballet performance - they're broadcast to thousands of cinemas internationally, including hundreds of venues in the UK.


      ROH Content Producer

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