Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

SEE ALSO: Derek Deane's Swan Lake - performed 'in-the-round' - for English National Ballet

Matthew Bourne's triumphant modern re-interpretation of the ballet Swan Lake, set to Tchaikovsky's score, is now firmly crowned as a modern-day classic. This iconic production is perhaps best-known for replacing the traditional female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble. Matthew Bourne blends dance, humour and spectacle with extravagant, award-winning designs by Lez Brotherston, to create a provocative and powerful Swan Lake for our times.

When it premiered at Sadler's Wells in 1995, Matthew Bourne's triumphant modern re-interpretation turned tradition upside down, taking the dance world by storm. Collecting over 30 international theatre awards including three Tonys, it has been acclaimed as a landmark achievement on the international stage, becoming the longest running full-length ballet in the legit West End.

Original West End London Production 1995/1996

1st West End London Revival 2000

London Revival 2004

London Revival 2006

London Revival 2009

London Revival 2013

London Revival 2018

Matthew Bourne's London theatre choreography credits include adaptations of Tim Burton's motion picture Edward Scissorhands, Bizet's Carmen renamed as The Car Man, Prokofiev's Cinderella set in London during the Second World War, Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. He has also provided choreography for the stage musical version of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!, the Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady, and the stage version of Walt Disney motion picture Mary Poppins.


Original West End London Production 1995/1996

Previewed 9 November 1995, Opened 14 November 1995, Closed 25 November 1995 at Sadler's Wells Theatre
Previewed 9 September 1996, Opened 11 September 1996, Closed 1 February 1997 at the Piccadilly Theatre

The original cast at London's Sadler's Wells and the West End's Piccadilly Theatre featured Adam Cooper, or Will Kemp as 'The Swan/Stranger', Scott Ambler, or Ben Wright as 'The Prince', Fiona Chadwick, or Isabel Mortimer as 'The Queen', Emily Piercy as 'The Prince's Girlfriend', and Barry Atkinson as 'The Private Secretary'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, and lighting by Rick Fisher.

"The West End's first full-length commercial ballet in 75 years is a triumph. Matthew Bourne has recreated a wonder for his Adventures in Motion Pictures company and Royal Ballet principal Adam Cooper brings it brilliantly to life... The USP is that the swans and cygnets are male, but this is much more than a potential notoriety. The muscularity of the male swans is tangible, their particular grace, power (and malice) of a kind unseen in more conventional versions. Nonetheless, I am still not entirely convinced by the notion of changing the sex of the swans, particularly when The Swan is off-stage. The night belonged to Matthew Bourne and to Adam Cooper. The first standing ovation will not be the last." The Daily Express

"This Swan Lake is a blissfully comic, fiercely moving piece of theatre that should convert even the grouchiest dance phobe into a fan. Lez Brotherstone's designs locate the ballet in a late 20th-century Britain of corrupt Royalty, Soho sleaze and secret magic with a style and ingenuity as arresting as any blockbuster musical. But Tchaikovsky's music is magnificently more hummable than any Lloyd Webber score. And Bourne's re-write of the ballet, which shows Prince Siegfried as the mad melancholy victim of a loveless Palace upbringing, rings a thoussmd bells for any contemporary Royal watcher... It's not Petipa and Ivanov, and there are brief moments where you miss the love poetry of the original. But the terrifying final act, where the lovers are torn apart, makes Tchaikovsky's score far more viscerally exciting than any classical interpretation." The Guardian

"To a roaring ovation in front of the curtain and screams of delight behind it, Adventures in Motion Pictures' wild male swans became the toast of the West End on opening night. No matter that this work destroys some cherished ballet icons; all we ask of theatre is magic, and this Swan Lake is magical, fantastic, wonderful in the truest meanings of those words. There's also plenty of parody but it's genial and amusing, and the important thing is how potently the creator, Matthew Bourne, renews the mystery... Even though Bourne over-eggs his narrative with melodrama, the overall imaginative momentum sweeps over the easy laughs. And although his dance occasionally trips up between funny walks and Come Dancing, Bourne pulls off something really exceptional where it counts." The Daily Telegraph

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in London at the Piccadilly Theatre previewed from 9 September 1996, opened on 11 September 1996, and closed on 1 February 1997


1st West End London Revival 2000

Previewed 3 February 2000, Opened 7 February 2000, Closed 11 March 2000 at the Dominion Theatre

This production was advertised as the 'last time in London'.

The cast featured Adam Cooper, Simon Cooper, or Will Kemp as 'The Swan/Stranger', Scott Ambler, Andrew Corbett, Alastair Marriott, Tom Ward, or Ben Wright as 'The Prince', Saranne Curtin, Philippa Gordon, or Isabel Mortimer as 'The Queen', Andrew Corbett, Michael Rolnick, or Matthias Sperling as 'The Private Secretary', and Belinda Chapman, or Vicky Evans as 'The Prince's Girlfriend'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, and lighting by Rick Fisher.

"After four years of performances around the world, gathering more than two dozen awards, here it is back in the West End for what they say is its last run... I don't want to sound a spoil-sport, but frankly, the show no longer has quite the polish and zest of its early days... Still, for spectators who have not seen the show before, it is, even now, very lively, and is essentially a ballet for the general audience, people who do not otherwise go to ballet. Notice that it is advertised in the papers under the heading of theatre, not ballet or dance. Actually dance is the least of its virtues: Bourne flogs a few steps to death (crude jumps for the swans, waving hands for the humans) and doesn't convince me that he has much of an ear for music, either. Still, he does give us Tchaikovsky, even if sometimes at disconcerting tempi, and or chestrated for only 27 players." The Independent

"One of the most brilliant productions of the past decade is back for a final London season... If you thought Swan Lake was about a fey prince, a droopy swan and, a bunch of anorexic girls in white tutus, think again. Within the well respected bounds of Tchaikovsky's imperishable music, choreographer Matthew Bourne redefined the story as one of sexual anguish, Gilbertian satire and, well, modern love... Five years ago, the show seemed a cunning commentary on Charles and Diana. But its theatrical genius lives on, Mr Bourne and his Adventures in Motion Pictures company finding a myriad ways to enliven a fairy tale encrusted in tradition and old practice. Lez Brotherston's design of witty monumentalism and Rick Fisher's riotously decisive lighting play their part too... Classical dance was never like this. Nor is most theatre. A thrilling event." The Daily Mail

"Director Matthew Bourne's ravishing reworking of Swan Lake is back in town as a slick and overwhelmingly glamorous piece of dance theatre. The production is better than ever - a fully mature work that springs from a dazzling theatrical imagination. This is the touring production that is about to set off for Europe with a young cast of inspired and committed dancers... This is an absorbing. drama, a satire, a horror story, a thriller and life-enhancing theatre. His characters have a history, an inner life and, several dimensions. They are never pompous and often witty... There may never be another chance to see one of Britain's most spectacular artistic triumphs." The London Evening Standard

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in London at the Dominion Theatre previewed from 3 February 2000, opened on 7 February 2000, and closed on 11 March 2000


London Revival 2004

Previewed 30 November 2004, Opened 7 December 2004, Closed 16 January 2005 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Jose Tirado, or Jason Piper as 'The Swan/Stranger', Christopher Marney,or Neil Westmoreland as 'The Prince', Nicola Tranah, Oxana Panchenko, or Candice Evans as 'The Queen', Leigh Daniels, or Sophia Hurdley as 'The Prince's Girlfriend', and Alan Mosley as 'The Private Secreatry'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, and lighting by Rick Fisher.

This touring production was originally scheduled to play at Sadler's Well Theatre from 11 July 2004 to 4 September 2004, but was cancelled and rescheduled for the above Christmas 2004 season.


London Revival 2006

Previewed 13 December 2006, Opened 14 December 2006, Closed 21 January 2007 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Alan Vincent, or Thomas Whitehead as 'The Swan/Stranger', Matthew Hart, or Simon Williams as 'The Prince', Saranne Curtin, or Nina Goldman as 'The Queen', Nina Goldman, or Agnes Vandrepote as 'The Prince's Girlfriend', and Ashley Bain, Rain de Rye Barrett, or Alan Vincent as 'The Private Secretary'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, and lighting by Rick Fisher.


London Revival 2009

Opened 10 December 2009, Closed 24 January 2010 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Richard Winsor, or Jonathan Ollivier as 'The Swan/Stranger', Christopher Marney, Dominic North, or Sam Archer as 'The Prince', Nina Goldman, or Charlotte Broom as 'The Queen', Madelaine Brennanm, or Kerry Biggin as 'The Prince's Girlfriend', and Scott Ambler, or Steve Kirkham as 'The Private Secretary'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, and lighting by Rick Fisher.


London Revival 2013

Opened 4 December 2013, Closed 26 January 2014 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Jonathan Ollivier and Chris Trenfield as The Swan/Stranger', Sam Archer, Liam Mower, or Simon Williams as The Prince', Madelaine Brennan, Saranne Curtin, Michela Meazza as The Queen', Kerry Biggin, Carrie Johnson, or Anjali Mehra as 'The Prince's Girlfriend', and Tim Hodges, Jack Jones, or Paul Smethurst as The Private Secretary'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, and lighting by Rick Fisher.


London Revival 2018

Opened 4 December 2018, Closed 27 January 2019 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Matthew Ball, Will Bozier, or Max Westwell as 'The Swan/Stranger', James Lovell, Liam Mower, or Dominic North as 'The Prince', Nicole Kabera, or Katrina Lyndon as 'The Queen', Freya Field, Katrina Lyndon, or Carrie Willis as 'The Prince's Girlfriend', and Jonathon Luke Baker, Glenn Graham, Ashley-Jordon Packer, or Max Westwell as 'The Private Secretary'.

Directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with designs by Lez Brotherston, video by Duncan McLean, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Ken Hampton.

Matthew Bourne's legendary dance show Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st century. Retaining the iconic elements of the original, Matthew Bourne has revised the choreography, in a re-imagined production featuring new lighting by Paule Constable.