Monday, 23 December 2013

School Dances Into The Dukes

A scene from Alice Through The Looking Glass which will be performed at The Dukes on 11th January 2014.
The only state school in the country thought to have tackled a full-length ballet will make its professional debut at The Dukes in January.

A talented team from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale will present a unique version of Alice Through The Looking Glass at the Lancaster theatre on January 11.

The two-hour performance which features 35 dancers, including 18-year-old Kate Threlfall as Alice, and a 12-piece orchestra has been directed by Jasper Marriott, a former member of the Lancaster-based Ludus Dance touring company.

“I directed our first full length contemporary ballet in 2011 which was a version of Nutcracker. I loved the process so I knew I wanted to keep making large scale ballets,” said Jasper.

But producing a full length ballet at a secondary school isn’t without its challenges.

The project is created from scratch with completely original content including the score which was composed by Jen Hartley, the school’s head of music, over the summer.

The ballet has taken eight months to be produced while ensuring a minimal impact on teaching and learning at the school.

“For Alice, I wanted the whole project to be original in terms of story, choreography and music,” said Jasper who has taught at QES for nine years.

“We staged the ballet at QES for six performances in December, which is typical of a major school production, but due to the uniqueness of the project and the amazing response to our previous full length dance show, I wanted to bring this production to a larger audience, not just the those with links to the school.

“I feel the work is strong enough for a regular mainstream audience. The Dukes seemed the ideal venue to stage this production and offers a hugely exciting opportunity for our dancers,” said Jasper. 

• On 11th January 2014, there will be two performances of the ballet, at 2pm and 7.30pm. The show is recommended for anyone aged 4 plus.

• To book tickets priced £8/£6 concessions, ring The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit

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