Theatres may be empty, but the show will go on...

That’s the commitment Scottish Ballet has made as it announces the launch of its winter programme - introducing the company’s first full-length feature film as well as online classes, resources, talks and workshops to keep people moving and motivated this winter.

And using the screen as its stage, Scottish Ballet will bring the magic of the season right into your home this Christmas with the world premiere of 'The Secret Theatre' - all about a young boy stumbling into an empty theatre where rows of velvet chairs, draping curtains and chandeliers seem to lie in lonely wait for audiences to return.

Starring characters from our most popular festive ballets, the worlds of the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy collide in a spectacular, feature-length film that will treat the viewer to an extraordinary show filled with acrobats, snowflakes, clowns, princes and – of course – ballerinas. 

Set against a score of Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, with music recorded live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, the new film promises to be an unforgettable adventure for all the family.

HeraldScotland: Scottish Ballet's 'The Secret Theatre' - Credit Mihaela BodlovicScottish Ballet's 'The Secret Theatre' - Credit Mihaela Bodlovic

CEO and Artistic Director and Choreographer Christopher Hampson said: "I am thrilled that we are able to bring a taste of Christmas to our audiences this winter with the world premiere of The Secret Theatre.

"A new venture for the company, I am excited to have developed on our digital work by creating and presenting Scottish Ballet’s first feature-film; combining the colourful characters, costumes, music and sets of our festive favourites, and producing a new story that can be viewed in people’s homes.

"My hope for The Secret Theatre is to entertain and inspire audiences, both celebrating the magic of theatre and the importance of cultural access to our communities. Having had the opportunity to collaborate with people from across art forms on this film, we shine a light on the creative industries with a message that the show, must go on." 

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Co-Creative Director and Designer, Lez Brotherston said: "Christopher and I have collaborated on creating our own versions of stories for some time now.

"We’ve been given this great opportunity to collaborate once more and make a feature film this Christmas; bringing the costumes, sets and props from our recent work on The Snow Queen and The Nutcracker together to create a new story.

"For me, The Secret Theatre is a backstage adventure, and a story that shares our wonder and love of making theatre. It’s my hope that audiences will enjoy this journey through our imagination this winter."

The film, which will premiere online on Monday 21 December at 6pm, will be accompanied by a series of talks and workshops tailored to the communities Scottish Ballet tours to, delivered in partnership with venues.

This will follow the world premiere of short film The Swan, which will premiere online on Thursday, 19 November, drawing on Scottish Ballet’s sleek and stylish stage production of Swan Lake, and captured through the lens of Director and Editor, Eve McConnachie.

HeraldScotland: Scottish Ballet's 'The Swan' - Credit Drew ForsythScottish Ballet's 'The Swan' - Credit Drew Forsyth

Featuring David Dawson’s choreography from the first six minutes of Act IV, the film centres the strong, graceful Odette in a lake of light, surrounded by the arching backs, spiralling arms and mesmerising formations of the all-female cast.

Scottish Ballet has also announced a brand new programme of adult and children’s classes will also bring ballet directly into people’s homes; allowing Scottish Ballet members to practice and perfect their technique via Zoom and due to go on sale on Friday, October 23.

The Scottish Ballet Health team is also set to launch a new 6-week block of online classes of Elevate© and Time to Dance via Zoom from Monday 9 November, for people living with MS and dementia in addition to the popular Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland classes, run in partnership with Dance Base.

Meanwhile, the Health at Hand series of breath and movement resources, which were produced for NHS staff and key workers to help alleviate some of the physical and mental impacts of working over long periods, are now available for everyone to benefit from online.

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Mr Hampson added: "At Scottish Ballet, dance is our primary connector to each other and our communities, and we are committed to creating and developing work that continues to engage and inspire our audiences.

"Whilst theatres remain closed, we have continued to pivot our creative energies towards digital out-put, allowing us to connect locally and engage globally.

"Our expertise and innovation within the dig-ital field means we are excited to present new work that pushes the boundaries of production during these challenging times.

"Dance is a medium that brings people together and now, more than ever, we need to connect with each other.

"By bringing new artistic and engagement work into people’s homes this winter, we cele-brate the benefits and importance of creativity in all its forms."

And Catherine Cassidy, Director of Engagement at Scottish Ballet, said: "Connecting with communities is at the heart of all that we do, and we are committed to creating pro-grammes that engage with people from all walks of life.

"We feel it is vital to help support and improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing and so we are delighted to be offering a range of classes, resources, talks and workshops for people to access digi-tally this winter."

Bookings and more information can be found at: https://www.scottishballet.co.uk/