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Abigail Prudames and Joseph Taylor in The Little Mermaid

BALLET UNDER THE SEA Northern Ballet’s new adaptation of The Little Mermaid is heading to Norwich this autumn.


elling the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything she knows in search of love and the desire to gain a human soul, The Little Mermaid ballet is coming to Norwich Theatre Royal as part of its world tour. Northern Ballet’s artistic director, David Nixon OBE, who choreographed and directed the production, said, “The Little Mermaid is an enchanting story and the fantastical underwater world of the mermaids evokes such beautiful imagery. So many people have grown up with an awareness of this classic tale, and so I am looking forward to introducing audiences to the world beyond the waves.” Sally Beamish, who recently wrote the music for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Tempest, was commissioned to write the score, while the sets have been given a modern, contemporary look by Japanese designer Kimie Nakano, with lighting by Tim Mitchell.

David explained, “It will look different to how our productions normally look. It’s made up of plastic and mirror, so I’m hoping it will have a phenomenal water look to it.”

seems to be an attachment to mermaids and the Disney version is quite famous – and I knew that it would work in dance because it is about movement.”

But there is one element of the look of the ballet over which David has firmly kept control and that is costume design. He said, “I’ve always done the costumes for most of my ballets because, for me, that’s my inspiration. When I see what they wear, how that moves, that gives me the character, that gives me a way in. When others do the designs, I don’t understand it as well. Of course, I can ask them those questions, but it’s not quite the same as coming up with it yourself, and I have just always enjoyed that element.”

Northern Ballet has a tradition of nurturing talent and in promoting younger choreographers. David had started to move away from that role himself, but The Little Mermaid tempted him back. He added, “I am sort of in there by default, as I wasn’t going to be choreographing anymore, so the Little Mermaid is a blip on my radar. I always say I didn’t intend to be a choreographer, and I don’t think of myself as one. I think of myself first as an artistic director who choreographs, and it’s always been about creating dancers.”

In choosing this particular story, David said he was looking for something accessible. “I think you want to make your audience comfortable so that they can come at any age. A lot of people know The Little Mermaid – there

Seeing some of those former dancers now spreading their wings creatively is immensely rewarding for David. In supporting young talent in their journey into narrative work, he is enjoying passing on his experience.

The Little Mermaid is at Norwich Theatre Royal from Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th September. For further information, call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit To advertise call 01953 456789


Norfolk on My Mind - Autumn 2017  

The Autumn 2017 edition of Norfolk on My Mind Magazine. Cover all of North Norfolk, including Holt, Burnham Market, Sherringham, Cromer, Fak...