The tale of a special gift that comes to life, Scottish Ballet's The Nutcracker is back.
Here, the cast are captuerd in character and reveal what – if anything – they have in common.
Falls in love with the Nutcracker. Played by Sophie Martin, principal dancer
"I remember getting a My Little Pony house when I was little. There's a picture of me with it – I must be three or four years old. I remember playing with it a lot. I had the small pink pony and my sister, who is three years older, had a bigger pony in purple, but we played with the horse together a lot. At the time it was on TV and having something that's on TV and is real to you – that was very exciting. I played with it for about two or three years, then Barbie came along. My mum must still have that pony as she's bad at throwing things away."
Brought to life by Marie's love. Played by Luke Ahmey, soloist
"A few years ago I was a student at the Royal Ballet School in London. My partner and I didn't have much money. I came home one day around Christmas and there was a picnic laid out in the living room in a little den which was done with candles and lights. It was a lovely gesture. I was about 17 years old and it was such a sweet gift – I always think of it even now. The picnic was full of things like chocolate strawberries – it wasn't too fancy but it was more about the effort that had gone into it. The den had been made of old sheets and things like that – I don't know how he found it all. I was stunned by it."
THE GOOD SNOWFLAKE
Helps protect Marie from harm. Played by Bethany Kingsley-Garner, artist
"I love the snow but we always have a mad rush to get home to our families on December 24. I'm from Devon originally and if it's really snowy flights get delayed, which isn't good. I always go to Queen's Park in Glasgow and try some sledging. I love going to George Square and drinking mulled wine, watching the ice skaters and visiting the Christmas market. The way Glasgow sets up – the lighting on Buchanan Street and George Square is magical – is a picture-postcard idea of Christmas. Everyone is always so jolly and there are always so many things for kids to do. The ice skating is brilliant although, being a dancer, I can't do that in case of injury, so I just stand on the side and watch."
Turns the Prince into the Nutcracker. Played by Diana Loosmore, soloist
"Growing up, my sister Peta and I were inseparable – she never got into trouble but I was an inquisitive little thing. We spent one Christmas with my aunt, her children, my other aunt and my grandparents. My grandma adored creating little pieces of "magic" for us and we were warned to stay away from the tree until Christmas morning. With Peta egging me on, I decided to find this magical promise before any of the other children. I waited until everyone was asleep, crept down the hall to the lounge and opened the door. There, on the tree, were two of the most beautiful little tutus I'd ever seen – one for Peta, one for me. The following year I took my first ballet lesson, and I still hang the tutus on the tree today."
Gives Marie the Nutcracker. Played by Tama Barry, principal dancer
"For me Christmas isn't about buying gifts. I'm the complete opposite to my character in that respect – he gives an incredible doll he has crafted that turns into a man. Maybe if I could make gifts like that I would give more presents. I can't even remember what I bought last year, so it's hard to pick out the best Christmas present I've ever bought. I come from a very big family – I have seven siblings – and they all live in different cities, so Christmas is the time of year when we all travel back to Mum's and Dad's and spend two or three weeks together. That to me is what Christmas is about. It's about sitting around eating and laughing and playing board games."
The Nutcracker is touring Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness in December and January. Visit www.scottishballet.co.uk.