COMING UP: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Liverpool Empire, 30 April – 4 May

It’s not long now until the World Premiere tour of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty arrives at the Liverpool Empire from 30 April 2013 – 4 May 2013. The show sees the choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

Matthew Bourne’s new scenario introduces several characters not seen in Petipa’s famous Ballet or Grimm’s fairy tale. The Royal Family is headed by King Benedict and Queen Eleanor. Princess Aurora’s romantic interest is not a Prince, but the royal gamekeeper, Leo. Representing the central forces of good and evil are Count Lilac (“the King of the Fairies”) and the Dark Fairy Carabosse. In another innovation, Bourne has created the character of Caradoc, the sinister but charming son of Carabosse. Princess Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are named Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum.

Creating the central role of ‘Aurora’ in this new production are Hannah Vassallo and Ashley Shaw. The leading role of ‘Leo’ will be created by Dominic North and Christopher Trenfield. ‘Count Lilac’ will be portrayed by performers Christopher Marney, and in his debut in a leading role Liam Mower. The twin roles of ‘Carabosse’ and ‘Caradoc’ will be shared between three versatile performers; Ben Bunce, Tom Jackson Greaves and Adam Maskell. ‘King Benedict’ will be played by Edwin Ray and ‘Queen Eleanor’ by Kerry Biggin and Daisy May Kemp.

Completing the Sleeping Beauty Company are Daniel Collins, Pia Driver, Phil Jack Gardner, Sophia Hurdley, Nicole Kabera, Mari Kamata, Katy Lowenhoff, Kate Lyons, Leon Moran, Luke Murphy, Danny Reubens and Joe Walkling.

Perrault’s timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years, was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer, Marius Petipa, in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance; the height of the Fin-de-Siecle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman, we move forwards in time to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era; a mythical golden age of long Summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any Fairy story!

Matthew Bourne’s haunting new scenario is a gothic tale for all ages; the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.


Tues 30 April – Sat 4 May 2013
Liverpool Empire
Box Office 0844 871 3017 
Eves: 7.30pm | Thu & Sat Mat: 2.30pm
Tickets from £10


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