Beatrix Potter’s much-loved characters will grace the Theatre Royal stage this week. Photo: Aleisha Johnson.

Ballet brings tales of Beatrix Potter to life

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The timeless stories of Beatrix Potter will come to life on the Theatre Royal stage this week.

Nelson Academy of Dance is performing Tales of Peter Rabbit and The Jewels for four shows only, starting on Thursday, August 22.

It’s not the first time they have staged the production – director Gillian Francis opened the academy in 1977 and says the stories of Beatrix Potter are still as popular as ever.

“Everyone knows the stories. It’s just a lovely collection that we have put our own dance to.”

A total of 80 dancers, ranging in age from three-years-old to 50-years-old, will be portraying much-loved characters such as Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Jeremy Fisher, Squirrel Nutkin, Two Bad Mice, Pigling Bland, Country Mice and Tabitha Twitchett.

“The dancers stay realistic to what the animals do, with stunning costumes and they are all wearing masks – which is a challenge in itself,” says Gillian.

“We have been rehearsing flat out, seven days a week for the last four weeks, so we’re ready for some great shows.”

Gillian says the whole performance runs for two-and-a-quarter hours and is suitable for all ages. It will begin with a pure classical ballet, The Jewels – emerald, ruby and diamonds.

Both ballets feature music by well-known composers, with Tales of Beatrix Potter arranged by John Lanchbery.

The production also sees the return of American dancer, Jordan Nelson, who will portray Johnny Town Mouse.

Jordan has been a professional ballet dancer with Columbia City Ballet, Madison Ballet, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Chicago and Saint Louis Ballet.

Tales of Beatrix Potter and The Jewels is on at the Theatre Royal from August 22 to 24 at 7pm with a matinee performance on August 24 at 1.30pm. Tickets are available from TicketDirect or the Theatre Royal.