The Royal Ballet, under the artistic direction of Kevin O’Hare, will be screening the company’s Bernstein Celebration as a part of the Royal Opera House’s 2017–18 cinema season April 20–May 20. The program celebrates American composer Leonard Bernstein with work from the company’s three associate choreographers, including Liam Scarlett’s The Age of Anxiety and new works from Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor. The screenings will be held in movie theaters around the world, with nearly 50 in the United States and Canada.
Since O’Hare became artistic director in 2012, The Royal Ballet has done six of these popular live cinematic performances each year. “The response from audiences has been lovely,” he told DT. “We’re often the top film in the country on the nights of our performances, which is quite amazing.” According to O’Hare, the company’s box-office stats in England have beaten out big-name films like Spiderman, Star Wars and La La Land. “The Nutcracker topped the UK box office on more than one night this past holiday season. Something like 100,000 people were watching it, which is quite a big deal when you know that our Opera House—which is a big opera house—only holds 2,200 people per night,” he says.
This new model of bringing ballet to the big screen has made the company’s full range of work accessible to as many people as possible. “Because we are a massive company, and we’re not a touring company, this is a great way for us to get ourselves across the world to people who can’t make it to the Opera House to see our performances,” O’Hare says. “It’s fantastic for the dancers, and it’s fantastic for the public.”
Cinema-goers can find screenings near them at roh.org.uk.