NEWS: Scottish Ballet Announces 50th Anniversary Season

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop and Scottish Ballet’s CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson have revealed the spirited and ambitious programme for the company’s 2019/2020 season, including three world premieres. Founded in 1969, Scotland’s national dance company celebrates 50 years of inspiring audiences on stage and beyond in 2019, with a creative vision crafted by Scotland.

A first for 2019, the company will launch their 50th season in the Highlands. There will be a celebratory opening of the double bill Spring! at Inverness’ Eden Court on Thursday 28 March, followed by a party everyone in the audience is invited to!

Dextera is a world premiere of a new work by Scottish Ballet Resident Choreographer Sophie Laplane, with music by Mozart performed by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s 35-minute long antidote to blues, Elite Syncopations, forms the second part of the bill with its virtuoso heights of sexy, witty psychedelia and frothy ragtime nonchalance. MacMillan’s choreography spans the decades, melding 1920s social dances with classical ballet and uses music from ragtime composers, including Scott Joplin, as a perfect accompaniment.
Following three dates in Inverness, Spring! will tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh in April and May 2019.


After an award-winning inaugural presentation in 2017, the Digital Season returns for a month-long programme of work featuring short films, live streams, virtual reality experiences and digitally driven projects to enhance, alter and inform the way we experience dance. Existing in a society where the real and unreal are one in the same, and Artificial Intelligence has developed its own human nature, the Digital Season explores our grasp of reality, identity, and transformation.

As the company’s first Digital Artist in Residence, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom will work from within Scottish Ballet to create bespoke artworks for the Digital Season and beyond. A Glasgow-based sculptor, Zachary uses digital technologies such as 3D scanning, digital 3D modelling and 3D printing to transform traditional sculptural materials such as bronze, marble and ceramic.


Arthur Miller’s masterpiece of power and persecution, The Crucible is transformed into a gripping new ballet with choreography by Helen Pickett and a haunting new musical score from Peter Salem, performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. The ballet will receive its world premiere at Edinburgh International Festival, opening the dance programme in 2019. The ballet will then tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness in September and October 2019.

Image: Nicola Selby


Fans of Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved tale – which also inspired Frozen – will be delighted at the announcement of The Snow Queen as Scottish Ballet’s glittering winter show. With a specially adapted score from works by Rimsky Korsakov this spectacular world premiere is an inspiring story of love and friendship, driven by three central female characters. Choreographed by the company’s CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson and designed by award-winning Lez Brotherston, The Snow Queen will join Scottish Ballet’s highly popular family repertoire and tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle following an opening at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on Saturday 7 December 2019. The performances will be accompanied by an extensive community engagement programme in schools and care homes across Scotland.

Image: Nicola Selby


For 50 years Scottish Ballet has been crafted by Scotland – by the people, the tradition, the sense of humour, the generosity and the spirit. As a way of saying thank you to the whole country, Scottish Ballet is inviting the people of Scotland to Make a Wish! It can be anything from the dancers performing at a birthday party or on the banks of Loch Ness, or even the chance to get on stage and be part of a Scottish Ballet show. The public are encouraged to submit their wishes at and, following a public vote and the consideration of the judging panel including Susan Calman, Fred MacAulay, Dame Darcey Bussell, Christopher Hampson, Janice Forsyth and Principal Dancer Christopher Harrison, Scottish Ballet will make five wishes come true throughout 2019.


A dance company lives by its ability to produce adventurous, relevant and entertaining work and Scottish Ballet recognises that investing in new repertoire is crucial in being able to sustain excellence. Therefore, in an ambitious new commissioning programme called Five in Five, Scottish Ballet will commission and stage five new full-length ballets over five years; one for every decade of the company’s history. Presenting new work will encourage the Company’s existing audiences to keep returning and new audiences to try something different. This will also reinforce Scottish Ballet as one of the most daring and pioneering dance companies. The world premieres of The Crucible and The Snow Queen will be the first two of the five new commissions. In total, the company seeks to raise £5 million over five years to deliver these five new productions and associated access and engagement programmes.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:
‘As Scotland’s national dance company, Scottish Ballet makes an extraordinary contribution to our cultural landscape, on stage and beyond. Scottish Ballet showcases our nation’s creative spirit at its highest level to local and international audiences, while also delivering some excellent work with health and education partners to communities across Scotland. I am pleased to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary and look forward to seeing this exciting programme of activity in 2019.’
CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson said:
‘Scottish Ballet forged new ground in 1969, and we continue to promote Scotland’s pioneering spirit in everything that we do. We embrace our 50th anniversary with an unprecedented programme of new work, affirming our commitment to be one of the most daring dance companies in the world.’

Dame Darcey Bussell said:
I am excited to be on the judging panel for Scottish Ballet’s Make A Wish campaign to help share the magic of ballet with people across Scotland in the company’s 50th year. I look forward to seeing lots of wonderful wish ideas and am sure there will be some really personal and imaginative ones for us to choose from.’

James MacKenzie-Blackman, Chief Executive of Eden Court, Inverness, said:
‘Audiences from across the Highlands and Islands travel from far and wide to see Scottish Ballet in Inverness, and we are thrilled and honoured that the company has chosen to open their milestone 50th anniversary season at Eden Court. Together, we will be hosting an opening night party for artists and audiences to mark our special partnership and recognise the critical contribution our organisations make to creativity across the Highlands and Islands.’

Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan said:
‘Scottish Ballet has been inspiring audiences at the International Festival with unforgettable performances since the 1970s and we’re thrilled to welcome back the company as it celebrates 50 years. It’s especially exciting to open our 2019 dance programme together with a premiere of this scale and scope and we look forward to sharing The Crucible with audiences from all over the world’.

Choreographer of The Crucible, Helen Pickett said:
It has been an incredible collaborative process working with Scottish Ballet to bring my vison of Arthur Miller’s play to the stage. I am working with an exceptional creative team, Peter Salem, James Bonas, Emma Kingsbury and David Finn, and together we have translated this iconic drama into the powerful medium of dance. We are honoured to present The Crucible at the Edinburgh International Festival among the very best arts companies in the world.’

Resident Choreographer, and Creator of Dextera, Sophie Laplane said:
‘Having immersed myself within Scottish Ballet as a dancer and resident choreographer, I wanted to embody the company’s creativity and hard work by kickstarting their anniversary season with an energetic new piece that celebrates the company’s craft. I’m excited to work with Scottish Ballet Orchestra to score Dextera to Mozart, to form a vibrant body of work as part of the Spring! double bill.’

Digital Artist in Residence, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom said:
‘This digital residency allows me to delve deeply into a world of new ideas and approaches that I have been itching to develop. Using digital technologies such as 3D scanning and Motion Capture, I will explore bodily movement and the space between dancers through a range of media. Scottish Ballet is a very rich and exciting environment to work in and I think the Digital Season will reflect that.’

Priority booking for all productions for Friends of Scottish Ballet are available from Wednesday 10 October.
Public on-sale from Monday 22 October, with tickets for The Crucible dates at Edinburgh International Festival available after the Festival’s programme launch in March 2019.


To kickstart their 50th anniversary year, Scottish Ballet presents a fresh double bill fizzing with energy and guaranteed to send you home smiling. Resident choreographer Sophie Laplane will premiere her latest work, Dextera. Her trademark edgy style promises a tour de force of creative ideas, set to the music of Mozart. Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations is an irresistible carnival of colourful characters. This much-loved whirl of 1920s dance hall glitz is set to a series of Scott Joplin’s tunes, performed live by an onstage ragtime band.

Eden Court, Inverness: 28-30 March

Theatre Royal, Glasgow: 4-6 April

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: 11-13 April

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh: 2-4 May

The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s drama of power and persecution.

The village of Salem stands on the brink. A teenage girl imagines her future. A marriage is tested. Church bells ring, uniting the community in prayer. These are good people; this could be anywhere. They fear the shadows in the forest, but the real monsters are much closer to home. You’ll be on the edge of your seat watching this tight-knit society unravel into chaos. Ask yourself: when everything is in the balance, what are you prepared to pay for the truth? Helen Pickett’s choreography unleashes the emotional force of Miller’s masterpiece, vividly accompanied by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra performing Peter Salem’s haunting new score.

Edinburgh International Festival in August 2019. (On sale dates announced in March 2019)

Theatre Royal, Glasgow: 26-28 September

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: 3-5 October

Eden Court, Inverness: 9-10 October

The Snow Queen

Scottish Ballet’s 50th year will come to a spectacular close with the world premiere of The Snow Queen. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved tale – which was also the basis for Frozen – this glittering new production will be set to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. Choreographed by Christopher Hampson and designed by the award-winning Lez Brotherston, this story of love and friendship is sure to delight the whole family.

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh: 7-29 December

Theatre Royal, Glasgow: 3-19 January 2020

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: 22-26 January 2020

Eden Court, Inverness: 29 January – 2 February 2020
Theatre Royal, Newcastle (On sale dates announced in 2019)