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Watch: Liam Scarlett on Frankenstein: ‘It’s essentially about love’

The choreographer explains why there's more to his new full-length ballet than horror.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

25 February 2016 at 11.19am | 4 Comments

For choreographer Liam Scarlett, the story of Frankenstein is about more than the monster that has become so iconic in pop culture:

‘People have a very stereotypical view of what they want they presume Frankenstein to be and actually I don’t think many people really know the heart and soul of the story’, says the choreographer, who has created a new full-length ballet adaptation, opening in May 2016. ‘It’s essentially about love.’

Liam's adaptation of Mary Shelley’s iconic Gothic novel is his first full-length piece for the Royal Opera House main stage, and the choreographer sees the title character very much as a child, looking to a parent for guidance:

'He's like an infant — he can't speak and can't figure out how to walk. He's desperately seeking a parent or loved one to take him through the world and teach him all these things. He's an incredibly vulnerable creature who is shunned by his creator.'

The Royal Ballet's new production is set at the end of the 18th Century, at the time in which Shelley wrote the novel. As Liam explains, it was a time in history full of scientific advances, which re-shaped our understanding of the world:

‘The Romantic ideals were being thrown out and it was the dawn of science, a crossover period where confusions and tensions run high.’

The ballet has been created with music by American composer, Lowell Liebermann, who also wrote the score for Liam's earlier work Viscera, which was first performed at Covent Garden in 2012.

‘There’s always been an easy dance quality about his music’, says the choreographer. ‘I listen to it and steps really pop into my mind.'

Liam is confident that audiences will respond to his reading of the tale:

‘I think the best pieces of art are ones that say something enough but also give room for interpretation', he gleams. 'I want people to feel something when they watch the work.’

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

Frankenstein runs 4–27 May 2016. Tickets are still available.

The production is a co-production with San Francisco Ballet and is generously supported by The Monument TrustThe Taylor Family Foundation, Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman, Simon and Virginia Robertson, Will and Beth Gardiner, Karl and Holly Peterson, The Shauna Gosling Trust, The Constance Travis Charitable Trust, The American Friends of Covent Garden, the Frankenstein Production Syndicate, Bently Foundation, The Hellman Family and E. L. Wiegand Foundation.

Frankenstein will be live in cinemas around the world on 18 May 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production will be relayed live to BP Big Screens in the UK and streamed live around the world via YouTube on 18 May 2016. Find your nearest BP Big Screen and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

25 February 2016 at 11.19am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Ballet, by Liam Scarlett, Film, Frankenstein!!, interview, Lowell Liebermann, Mary Shelley, Production, Rehearsal, San Francisco Ballet

This article has 4 comments

  1. Stevie responded on 25 March 2016 at 1:09pm Reply

    Great anticipation for this production, after the stirring performance of Viscera.
    I have spoken to many people who have the misconception that this is a 'Hammer House of Horror' replica and tried to alter their pre conceived perception and prejudices, taken from the title. If they give it the chance it deserves, I don't believe they will be asking for refunds.

  2. I love the passion with which Liam Scarlett talks about his new ballet and describes the real story. It sounds wonderful and I am looking forward to seeing it on Screen in Canada. Thank you. Ilania

  3. Isabella NAYLOR - LEYLAND responded on 18 May 2016 at 8:12am Reply

    Wonderful article and truly wonderful ballet. A true understanding of the tragedy of life all beautifully danced and created on stage.

  4. Pat Seagull responded on 18 May 2016 at 6:48pm Reply

    Waiting for Frankenstein live stream at Odeon, Llanelli. Exciting!

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