Preserving the Passion: Northern Ballet's 'Romeo & Juliet'

9 January - 23 March 2024
Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm
Free to all

Northern Ballet’s hit production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ has survived fire, flood and the changing fashions of more than three decades.

Ahead of the ballet’s much-anticipated revival in March 2024, this exhibition brings together drawings, props, costumes and photographs from the company’s archive to tell the eventful story of the making of a classic.

Set to Prokofiev’s electrifying score, director Christopher Gable CBE and choreographer Massimo Moricone’s 1991 take on Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy became Northern Ballet’s greatest success. The Sunday Times hailed it as ‘Triumphant… swift-paced, full-blooded’, even ‘sexy’ – and rightly predicted it would be ‘a box office cert for years to come’. A slew of awards, an Olivier nomination and a Christmas Day screening on the BBC followed, and over the next 20 years it notched up more than 500 performances across the world.

But, as Shakespeare said elsewhere, the course of true love never did run smooth. In 2001 arsonists destroyed Northern Ballet’s headquarters and much of its archive, including costumes from ‘Romeo & Juliet’, just three weeks before opening night. Then the catastrophic floods that struck Leeds on Boxing Day 2015 wrecked sets and costumes at the company’s stores. A recent public appeal has supported the recreation, repair and updating of Lez Brotherston OBE’s intricate period costumes and spectacular wooden set, ready for the long-awaited revival of the piece.

Image: William Walker and Jayne Regan as Romeo and Juliet © Anthony Crickmay / Northern Ballet

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How to get there

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT
01133 432778

Free to all

Opening times

Tue-Sat 10am-5pm

Exclusions and safety measures

Closed bank holidays and days when the University buildings are closed.

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