NEWS: Scottish Ballet and Ballet Black to collaborate on The Crucible at the Edinburgh International Festival

Scottish Ballet has announced that the company will be joined by Senior Guest Artist Cira Robinson for the world premiere of Helen Pickett’s The Crucible. The first major commission of Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary year, the production will open the dance programme at the Edinburgh International Festival, 3–5 August 2019.

Cira Robinson in The Suit

As part of a longstanding collaboration between the two companies, Ballet Black’s Senior Artist Cira Robinson will join Scottish Ballet to dance the role of Tituba. Bringing a breadth of experience, Cira will play a vital role in developing this rich and complex character in Arthur Miller’s drama of power and persecution. A story as relevant today as when it was first written, Miller’s 1953 masterpiece explores the impact of the 17th-century Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts.

Ballet Black is the UK’s professional ballet company for international dancers of black and Asian descent. Their goal is to see a fundamental change in the number of black and Asian dancers in UK ballet companies. By creating a central black female character, rarely seen in the UK outside of Ballet Black repertoire, the two companies aim to openly address the challenges of diverse representation in UK ballet (on and off stage), and particularly the lack of black British female ballet dancers.

Scottish Ballet CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson is a Board Member of Ballet Black and has choreographed two works for the company. Continuing the creative collaboration, Scottish Ballet’s former dancer and Artist in Residence, choreographer, Sophie Laplane was commissioned by Ballet Black to create her latest work CLICK!, which premiered at the Barbican in March 2019.

Christopher Hampson, CEO / Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, said:

‘We are very excited to present the world premiere of The Crucible at the Edinburgh International Festival, as part of Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary. Furthermore, we’re delighted to be working with our friends at Ballet Black and welcoming one of the UK’s leading dancers, Cira Robinson, into Helen Pickett’s production. We’re also thrilled to be giving the U.S. premiere of The Crucible at the prestigious Kennedy Center in 2020.’

Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder & Artistic Director of Ballet Black, said:
‘I’m delighted that Scottish Ballet have invited Cira to guest with them at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer. Cira is one of the most exciting and versatile artists I have worked with, and I am thrilled that she will have the opportunity to share her talent with audiences at the Festival.’

Cira Robinson, Senior Artist at Ballet Black and Senior Guest Artist with Scottish Ballet said:
‘I am thrilled to be guesting with Scottish Ballet in their performances of The Crucible at Edinburgh International Festival, and honoured to be given the opportunity to explore this role.’

Helen Pickett, Choreographer of The Crucible, 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. I am also thrilled about the partnership between Scottish Ballet and Ballet Black, this collaboration highlights the strength of unity and inclusion. We are honoured to present The Crucible at the Edinburgh International Festival among the very best arts companies in the world.’

Fergus Linehan, Artistic Director of Edinburgh International Festival 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 look forward to sharing The Crucible with audiences from all over the world’.

Following the world premiere of The Crucible at Edinburgh International Festival, the production will tour to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness in autumn 2019, before transferring to the USA in spring 2020.

The Crucible will have its U.S. premiere at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in May 2020. The company will also return to perform in New York and other U.S. cities in 2020, with full programme to be announced. This comes after Scottish Ballet’s hugely successful USA tours of A Streetcar Named Desire in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

The Crucible will be the first major commission of Scottish Ballet’s Five in Five, an ambitious new commitment to stage five new full-length ballets over five years; one for every decade of their history. In total, the company seeks to raise £5 million over five years to deliver these new works, and associated access and engagement programmes.

As part of the Five in Five fundraising campaign, Scottish Ballet launches the Millinery Appeal to help make this production of The Crucible possible. Designed by Emma Kingsbury, hats play an essential role in adapting Arthur Miller’s play for dance: they help to define the hierarchy and status of each character. In total, 36 different hats, that each take up to eight hours to make, are being handcrafted by an experienced milliner.

For more information, to book tickets to The Crucible, and to donate to the Millinery Appeal, visit: scottishballet.co.uk/event/crucible