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Watch: Members of the cast and creative teams on The Nutcracker

Backstage films from the live relay of the Christmas classic including Darcey Bussell's visit to The Royal Ballet School and Drosselmeyer's special effect secrets.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

16 December 2015 at 8.36pm | 4 Comments

The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker was screened live in cinemas around the world on 16 December 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 productions, here's another chance to see the films:

Darcey Bussell visits The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge

Before the production returned to Covent Garden, Former Principal of The Royal Ballet, Darcey Bussell visited The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge. Based in the quiet surroundings of Richmond Park in West London, the school is the Company's training ground for young dancers, offering full-time classical dance training alongside academic studies.

In the film, Darcey meets the young dancers who are due to perform roles including little soldiers and gingerbreads in the ballet. For many of the children, it’s their first chance on the Royal Opera House's main stage.

‘It’s all the lights and the atmosphere and knowing your entrances and exits', she advised the pupils. 'But don’t worry you’ll have plenty of time to rehearse’.

Darcey herself trained at The Royal Ballet School:

‘My first role in the Company was as a snowflake, but I never had the opportunity to perform in a major production when I was at school, so [for the pupils performing in the production it] must be really exciting’.

Preparations for The Nutcracker

Principal Character Artist Gary Avis has a crucial role in The Nutcracker – that of the magician Drosselmeyer who whisks Clara off to the Land of Sweets. Gary has danced the role many times and in this film but reveals all the secrets of this magical production.

‘The set is over thirty years old now and it can be quite fragile. We have to care for it – as it may be with us for another thirty years’, explains Scenic Artist Malcolm Kee.

The film also captures the crew decorating The Nutcracker's famous growing tree, costumes being reconditioned, and the final moments before the curtain rises.

The Nutcracker runs from 23 November 2016 –12 January 2017. Tickets are still available.

The production is supported is given with generous philanthropic support from Hans and Julia Rausing, Peter Lloyd and the Friends of Covent Garden.


By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

16 December 2015 at 8.36pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged by Peter Wright, Cinema relay, Darcey Bussell, films, Gary Avis, Live cinema relay, The Nutcracker

This article has 4 comments

  1. Barbara Frank responded on 17 December 2015 at 7:12pm Reply

    What is happening with your screenings in the US. I live in Philly and the next one is listed for Lansdale in the evening and it is so far away. I miss them at King of Prussia or the Ritz or the Bryn Mawr Film Institute

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 18 December 2015 at 10:46am

      Dear Barbara,

      Our American distributors changed this season, hence the reason we're not screening in the cinemas you mention. However, I strongly encourage you to approach your local cinema about this as there have been some instances of cinemas coming back on board when they realise there's a strong local audience for our screenings.

      Kind regards,


  2. Hilary McGowan responded on 19 December 2015 at 2:59pm Reply

    Is there any chance of you having Darcey's interview with Kevin O'Hare on here please? We were at Manchester's Odeon Printworks who made us miss most of the introduction. We got half of the Gary Avis preparation film which was great but only got Darcey's interview without the sound. We really enjoyed the ballet itself though, esp Gary Avis and Lauren Cuthbertson. Thank you!

  3. Isabel responded on 20 December 2015 at 10:12pm Reply

    Wow fantastic performance! Loved every part of it but if I had a favorite it would be the old couples dance in act 1!!!

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