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Press Release: Scottish Ballet Autumn Season 2014 - World premiere of The Crucible and British Premiere of Ten Poems

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Scottish Ballet presents

25 - 27 September Theatre Royal GLASGOW | 30 September - 1 October Eden Court INVERNESS | 3 - 4 October Festival Theatre, EDINBURGH | 7 - 8 October His Majesty's Theatre ABERDEEN

THE CRUCIBLE (World Premiere)
Choreography: Helen Pickett
Music: Bernard Herrmann; Paul Hindemith, Jon Hopkins; James Horner and Krzysztof Penderecki

TEN POEMS (UK Premiere)
Choreography: Christopher Bruce
Soundtrack: Richard Burton reads the poems of Dylan Thomas

Scottish Ballet brings an evening of great text to life this autumn as the stylistic language of American playwright Arthur Miller and Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas come together in a powerful study of words in motion, in this double bill featuring the world premiere of Helen Pickett's The Crucible, and UK premiere of Christopher Bruce's Ten Poems, touring Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen throughout September and October 2014.


“Dance has an ability to communicate a story without words in a way that has inspired choreographers over generations.  Placing the works of Dylan Thomas and Arthur Miller in the hands of two choreographers that are both passionate storytellers will ensure that this is a bill as thought provoking as it is entertaining,” said Scottish Ballet Artistic Director Christopher Hampson.


THE CRUCIBLE / Choreography Helen Pickett

Secrets and lies take hold in the small town of Salem when a group of teenage girls claim to have been possessed by witchcraft. But who - or what - is to blame.


"A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth!

 For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud - God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!" 

          John Proctor, Act III, in court, Pg. 105 (The Crucible, Arthur Miller)


From Californian choreographer Helen Pickett comes the world premiere of The Crucible.  Based on American playwright Arthur Miller's 1953 Tony award-winning play, Pickett translates this incredible dramatisation of the Salem witch trials with her inimitable style of dance language. 


A dancer and choreographer under William Forsythe, and currently Resident Choreographer at Atlanta Ballet, Pickett layers rich, evocative characterisations and lyrical story telling in her version of Miller's chilling tale of sexual sin and innocent men and women destroyed by malicious rumour.


“It’s a fulfilling dramatic story. The play has inspired so much art, and it inspired me to choreograph the story," says Pickett.  “So much in the play lends itself to being an interesting jump-off point for dance."


“I wanted to make much more of the dance scene in the forest because it’s the catalyst for the story and I’ve set it to this great, big rave-sounding soundtrack from UK producer and electronica artist Jon Hopkins.”


In fact Pickett has chosen a roster of atmospheric music to choreograph to - with climatic pieces from the motion picture soundtracks of The Twilight Zone, Vertigo, Psycho, Enemy at the Gates and Shutter Island.


I like doing collages,” she says. “I bank tons of music: whenever I hear something I like, I’ll buy it so I can listen to it and start thinking about what kind of movement I see in it.


“My choices may seem eclectic, but the music needs to make one feel disjointed, because I sense that discomfort in the play,” she says. “The accusers are disrupting harmonious lives. Being persecuted makes you feel like you’re being ripped up from the roots. So that was part of my zig-zagging into this story.”


Designer Charles Heightchew Jr reinterprets the seventeenth century period costumes with a modern twist - there's swooshing robes, and boys in britches - but the palette is dusky, with flashes of chiffon to elongate Pickett's pointe work. 

The Crucible is Pickett's second creation for Scottish Ballet (following The Room, inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, and premiered as part of Dance Odysseys at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2013).


TEN POEMS / Choreography Christopher Bruce


A British premiere, Christopher Bruce's Ten Poems was created for Ballet Keil (Germany) in 2009.  Set to a recording of ten Dylan Thomas poems, emotively read by Welsh actor Richard Burton, the piece builds on the melodic rhythm of the famous prose as Bruce, one of Britain's most prolific and important choreographers, brings each one to life with exquisite little vignettes of story and character.


“I found the face of Richard Burton staring at me from the counter of my local music shop and couldn’t resist this recording of Burton reading the poetry of Dylan Thomas. I realised at the time there was a certain degree of nostalgia involved in my purchase but, as I began to listen to the rich cadences of Burton’s voice, I instantly felt the suggestion of a dance,” explains Bruce.


“After weeks of listening to the CD, I chose the poems I felt would support the choreography. From the beginning I loved the musicality and rhythm of the poetry and had imagined that my work would lean towards the abstract rather than the dramatic. However, when I started work in the studio, the content of Thomas’ lines made itself felt and the dance began to tell stories.


“It’s not exactly a narrative ballet, but I think it says something about the poet, and his history.”

Ten Poems explores the themes of lost innocence, childhood nostalgia and death in Thomas' poems, including Fern Hill and the famous Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, in this the centenary year of the poet's birth - as dancers are transported to turn of the century Wales in valley hues of gold, green and blues, designed by Marion Bruce.


Ten Poems follows 2013 successful collaboration with the choreographer, when Scottish Ballet performed his 1940s factory worker’s styled piece Shift as part of the company’s award-winning Dance Odysseys programme at the Edinburgh International Festival, and Bruce is looking forward to furthering this relationship.  “It is important to develop a relationship with a company and, having produced Shift with Scottish Ballet last year, many of the dancers already have an excellent understanding of my particular choreographic language,” he says.  “I’m looking forward to developing this piece with the company in the rehearsal room.”



THE CRUCIBLE features music from James Horner, Jon Hopkins, Bernard Herrmann (from The Twilight Zone, Vertigo, Psycho and The Devil and Daniel Webster), Paul Hindemith and Krzysztof Penderecki

1) Koulikov (Instrumental) - James Horner, from Enemy at the Gates (Original Movie soundtrack)

2) Insides - Jon Hopkins, from Insides Album

3) Main Title - Bernard Herrmann, from The Twilight Zone (The complete Scores of Bernard Herrmann), conducted by Joel McNeely

4) Prelude and Rooftop - Bernard Herrmann, from Vertigo (Original Motion Picture Score) conducted by Joel McNeely, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

5) Danilov's Confession James Horner, from Enemy at the Gates (Original Movie soundtrack)

6) The Porch - Bernard Herrmann, from Psycho (Original Motion Picture Score) 

7) The Devil and Daniel Webster, Suite for Orchestra: Mr. Scratch, Allegro moderato e agitato - Bernard Herrmann, from The Devil and Daniel Webster, conducted by James Sedares, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

8) Trauermusik Pour Alto Et Orchestre A Cordes – Choral, Hindemith – Gerard Causse Performing, Hindemith Works for Viola

9) Symphony No. 3: Passacaglia – Allegro Moderato, Krzysztof Penderecki, Antoni Wit & National Polish Radio Symphony, Shutter Island, music from Motion Picture.


TEN POEMS features the Dylan Thomas poems: And Death Shall Have No Dominion; Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night; Fern Hill; I See the Boys of Summer; In My Craft or Sullen Art; Lament; Lie Still; Sleep Becalmed; The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower; The Hand That Signed the Paper and The Hunchback in the Park.



Theatre Royal, GLASGOW

Thursday 25 - Saturday 27 September 2014

Tickets £21, concessions available

Box Office: 0844 871 7647 atgtickets.com/glasgow



Tuesday 30 September - Wednesday 1 October 2014

Tickets from £21, concessions available

Box Office 01463 234 234 eden-court.co.uk


Festival Theatre, EDINBURGH

Friday 3 - Saturday 4 October 2014

Tickets from £20.50, concessions available

Box Office 0131 529 6000 edtheatres.com


His Majesty's Theatre, ABERDEEN

Tuesday 7 - Wednesday 8 October 2014

Tickets £21, concessions available

Box Office 01224 641122 / aberdeenperformingarts.com



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