Northern Ballet returns for first post-lockdown live performances

26th September 2020

Leeds Playhouse: 21 – 31 October 2020

Northern Ballet is returning to the stage for its first live performances since the initiation of lockdown in March. The Company will perform three different hour-long mixed programmes at Leeds Playhouse from 21 – 24 October 2020 followed by four full-length performances of David Nixon OBE’s Dangerous Liaisons from 28 – 31 October 2020.


Northern Ballet, dangerous Liasions credit Merlin hendy
Northern Ballet theatre Dancers in Dangerous Liaisons

Northern Ballet’s season at Leeds Playhouse will be the Company’s first live performances in more than seven months. The last performance the Company held prior to lockdown was the world première of Kenneth Tindall’s Geisha. With government guidelines now permitting indoor performances with socially distanced audiences, working with Leeds Playhouse, Northern Ballet has been able to establish a viable programme to get the Company performing again. However, as ongoing social distancing restrictions continue to apply to the dancers, musicians and backstage staff, Northern Ballet is still unable to present its planned repertoire for 2020 and has instead selected work it can perform whilst respecting the current guidelines.

The first mixed repertoire programme will be Iconic Classics on 21 Oct. The performance will include excerpts from ballet classics including Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire and Giselle. A Celebration of Artistic Director David Nixon OBE on 22 Oct celebrates 20 years of Artistic Director David Nixon OBE’s creations for the Company including excerpts from The Great Gatsby, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Mermaid. The final mixed programme, Contemporary Cuts will be performed on 23 and 24 Oct including excerpts from 1984, I Got Rhythm and a new work by Northern Ballet Choreographer in Residence Kenneth Tindall.


From 28 – 31 Oct, Northern Ballet will perform David Nixon OBE’s Dangerous Liaisons in the first revival of this work in 10 years. Inspired by the original scandalous novel and acclaimed Hollywood retellings, danced to Vivaldi’s rousing The Four Seasons, Dangerous Liaisons is the bodice-ripping tale of two bored aristocrats as they spin a web of heartbreak and ruin.


Northern Ballet, credit Merlin hendy
NBT’s Dangerous Liaisons, 2010

With the exception of Contemporary Cuts, all performances will include live music played by members of Northern Ballet Sinfonia. All performances will be performed in full costume but ‘black box style’ without sets.

David Nixon OBE said: “Although we are still far from business-as-usual, we are thrilled to be able to return to the stage and present a significant run of live performances. This year has been incredibly difficult for everyone and the arts is one industry that has been badly affected by COVID-19. It is vital for our dancers to be able to return to performing and we feel fortunate that they are now able to do so. We recognise the challenges faced by our industry in ensuring the safety of staff and patrons and the financial viability of holding performances with reduced socially distanced audiences. So many arts organisations are still fighting for their existence and countless people have been made redundant. We hope that successfully holding our performances will contribute to setting a path for the curtain to lift on more live performance across the UK.

“We don’t know what the coming months will bring for our company, or the industry as a whole. However, we are continuing to liaise with our venue partners and explore more opportunities for live performance in the coming months. For now, we hope our audiences will feel safe and confident to join us at Leeds Playhouse, support our industry and have a brief escape from the uncertainty of the times that dance can so beautifully provide.”

Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 29 September at 12 noon. To book visit

In line with current government guidelines, audiences will be of limited capacity with social distancing and temperature checks in place. Audiences are also required to wear face coverings at all times. Ticket holders will be notified of these measures in advance

Dangerous Liaisons age guidance 12+