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Watch: Members of the cast and creative teams on Romeo and Juliet

Backstage films from the live relay of Romeo and Juliet including rehearsal footage and exclusive interviews.

By Ottilie Thornhill (Winner of the Kings Cultural Challenge)

23 September 2015 at 1.30pm | 7 Comments

Kenneth MacMillan’s Royal Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet, starring Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, was screened live in cinemas across the world on 22 September 2015.

The relay featured a series of backstage films, including rehearsal footage and interviews with members of the cast and creative team.

If you missed the screening on the night, or just want to find out more about the production, here's another chance to see the films:

An introduction to Romeo and Juliet

For Kevin O’Hare, the artistic union of Shakespeare, Prokofiev and MacMillan is ‘the perfect blend’. In this film, both Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb discuss the journey their characters undertake during the ballet, from the initial ‘naivety’ Steven sees in Romeo to Juliet’s rejection of convention. ‘Shakespeare perhaps created one of the first feminists in Juliet’, says Sarah.

The emotional and physical are inextricably linked in Romeo and Juliet, with the fight sequences containing as much feeling as the star-crossed lovers’ pas de deux. Gary Avis, who dances Tybalt, says of the character's fight with Romeo: ‘You’re driven by the pure adrenaline of it all. It’s so brilliantly crafted and constructed as a sword fight.'

Darcey Bussell and Donald MacLeary on the creation of Romeo and Juliet

Fifty years after the production had its premiere, Donald MacLeary, one of the original three Romeos, discusses one of his favorite roles. The production has always inspired passion, both from choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and audiences. MacLeary highlights the production’s ‘huge’ success, with the company, then led by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, receiving a twenty-minute standing ovation on the original first night.

MacLeary spoke to presenter Darcey Bussell, who he coached as Juliet during her time as a Principal with The Royal Ballet, recollecting stories from his own time as Romeo: ‘One time I was doing the Tybalt fight, and I’m supposed to win…  my sword broke… luckily one of the corps de ballet threw me a sword!’.

Behind the scenes during preparations for Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet combines ballet with action sequences and involves a large Company. On a tour of the theatre, David Pickering and Dominic Peckham caught a glimpse of Steven McRae rehearsing with répétiteur Lesley Collier, who has herself danced the role of Juliet. This is typical of The Royal Ballet’s répétiteurs, coaches, ballet masters and mistresses, as Pickering explains: ‘They’re great teachers but they’ve had first-hand experience of dancing within the productions’.

Exploring MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet choreography

‘The pas de deux were like a jewel in a ring’, says the choreographer's widow, Deborah MacMillan. This core component of an otherwise vast production portrays the evolution of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship, from their initial shyness to their final moments together. Steven highlights just how key the continuity is by Romeo and Juliet’s second appearance together: ‘You see them gradually loosen up with each other and obviously that’s when they genuinely fall in love.'

To see more films like these, subscribe to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

The next production in the Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season will be The Royal Opera's Le nozze di Figaro on 5 October 2015. View all upcoming screenings and sign up to our mailing list

By Ottilie Thornhill (Winner of the Kings Cultural Challenge)

23 September 2015 at 1.30pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged by Kenneth Macmillan, cinema, Darcey Bussell, Film, Production, Romeo and Juliet, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, video

This article has 7 comments

  1. roberto sparano responded on 23 September 2015 at 2:56pm Reply

    Sarah e Steven sono bravissimi -
    tecnica e interpretazione stupende!!!!!
    Vorrei acquistare il DVD. Dove?
    cordiali saluti

  2. Monika responded on 23 September 2015 at 10:05pm Reply

    Such an exquisite performance with two breathtaking and achingly young and beautiful lovers.

    Like Roberto, I would love to buy the DVD of this particular performance to keep the memories alive.

    Thank you to everyone who made this possible.


  3. Joan Hopton responded on 23 September 2015 at 10:37pm Reply

    Like Roberto, any chance of a dvd of this great performance?


  4. Elspeth Villet responded on 24 September 2015 at 9:20am Reply

    I saw the screening at a cinema outside Reading. Thought it was wonderful. The only little ting that jarred was that Friar Lawrence was wearing a large ruby ring. Surely, as he was dressed as a Franciscan he would have taken a vow of poverty and would have not have worn a ring of that calibre!

  5. Louise responded on 26 September 2015 at 11:09am Reply

    Yes please, a DVD would be the bees knees

  6. Annabella responded on 27 September 2015 at 1:53am Reply

    I've already seen Samantha Raine rehearsing the six girls. I loved it. I consider each member of the Royal Ballet to be a 'small star' since they have so high standards for the members of the company. So that's why I enjoy watching the corps as much as the principals. Please, show us MORE clips of the corps, they're beautiful, too.
    Personally I can't get my eyes off Mayara Magri. Besides her technique and beautiful body, she's got an exceptional personality. Congratulations Mayara Magri, you are growing beautifully as a dancer and as an artist. I really hope to continue seeing you in the near future.

  7. Rosa María Quilis responded on 17 February 2019 at 10:15pm Reply

    Magnifico.... de absoluta perfección, me emociona verles bailar, la armonía y la genialidad....

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