March 29

Birmingham Royal Ballet

This year, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrate their twenty fifth anniversary in the city.

The prestigious company is now a world-renowned Birmingham brand that tours extensively throughout the UK and across the globe. However, the roots and foundations of this Birmingham institution stretch way back over eighty years to 1931. The timeline below gives an insight in to the makings of the jewel in Birmingham’s cultural crown…

1931
Ninette de Valois founds a company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. It is known as the Vic-Wells Ballet as it performs both at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Old Vic Theatre in London.

1940
Sadler’s Wells Theatre is bombed during the war and consequently the company begins to tour widely throughout the country. At this point the name of the company is changed to the Sadler’s Wells Ballet.

1946
The Company is invited to become the resident company of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. De Valois therefore decides to found a second company called Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

1956
A Royal Charter is bestowed on both Companies and their joint school. The Sadler’s Wells Ballet becomes The Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet becomes the Touring Company of The Royal Ballet.

1977
The Touring Company changes its name to Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, with Peter Wright as Director.

1987
Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham City Council invites Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet to re-locate to Birmingham.

1989
The move from London to Birmingham for the company is officially announced: Click here to find out more

1990
Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet moves to a new home in Birmingham and changes its name to Birmingham Royal Ballet. Click here to find out more

Dame Ninette de Valois, Sir Peter Wright and the company made the journey from London to Birmingham on a specially chartered train, renamed The Birmingham Royal Ballet – this archive news footage tells the tale.

In the Christmas season of 1990 Sir Peter Wright gave the city of Birmingham a gift that remains one of the company’s most treasured productions, The Nutcracker, which still plays too sold out audiences twenty five years on. Click here to find out more.

In 1995 Sir Peter Wright retired from the post of Director, handing over the reins to David Bintley, who celebrates his twenty years in the position in 2015.

During his twenty years in post, David has overseen forty two brand-new ballets, twenty one of his own and twenty one from guest choreographers, a rarity with ballet companies in the current economic climate.

In June this year David Bintley will premiere his new work The King Dances, a new look at the origins of ballet. The King Dances explores the role of Louis XIV in the creation of the form of ballet as we know it today; the piece is an all-male production with men playing both male and female parts.

The King Dances plays in a double bill with David’s first piece created for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Carmina Burana, arguably one of his most famous works. For more information or tickets visit brb.org.uk or birminghamhippodrome.com