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The Nutcracker relayed live to cinemas on 16 December 2015

Christmas magic comes to a cinema near you with Peter Wright's classic production.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

11 December 2015 at 3.27pm | 18 Comments

Peter Wright’s production of the quintessential Christmas ballet The Nutcracker will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world at 7.15pm GMT on 16 December 2015.

Download The Nutcracker Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREENUT and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production.

The cinema relay will be presented by former Royal Ballet Principal Darcey Bussell and BBC television presenter Ore Oduba.

The story

On Christmas Eve, a young girl called Clara creeps downstairs to play with her favourite present – a Nutcracker. But a mysterious magician, Drosselmeyer, is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure.

After defeating the Mouse King, the Nutcracker and Clara travel through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to an amazing display of dances.

Back home, Clara thinks she must have been dreaming – until she bumps into a handsome young man that looks just like her Nutcracker soldier...

The production

The Nutcracker is based on a fairytale by E.T.A Hoffmann. The story first brought to the stage in 1892, when the director of the Russian Imperial Theatres commissioned Tchaikovsky to create the now iconic score. Lev Ivanov provided the choreography.

Peter Wright's staging of The Nutcracker was first performed by The Royal Ballet over thirty years ago. Wright’s theatrical magic includes a growing Christmas tree that transforms the stage into a glittering Kingdom of Sweets.

Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs draw upon 19th-century images of Christmas, which deliver sparkle and charm in abundance for the festive season.

The choreography

During Clara’s visit to the Kingdom of Sweets she is accompanied by some of the best-known melodies in ballet, including the flurrying sounds of the Waltz of the Snowflakes and the dream-like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Waltz of the Snowflakes, is one of the best-loved in Lev Ivanov’s original production of The Nutcracker. Peter Wright incorporated the original choreography in his 1984 production. With the help of Professor Roland John Wiley, he reconstructed the floor patterns danced by Ivanov’s female corps de ballet, forming his own version of this glittering snowstorm.

Read more about The Waltz of The Snowflakes.

The cast

Francesca Hayward dances the role of Clara for the live cinema broadcast, with Alexander Campbell performing as the Nutcracker/Hans-Peter.

Principals of The Royal Ballet Lauren Cuthbertson and Matthew Golding will dance the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and The Prince.


The production opened on 8 December 2015. Read audience reactions to the opening night and add your own review.

After the relay, we will publish a roundup of audience tweets, so share your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHnutcracker.

The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 16 December 2015. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels and is staged with generous philanthropic support from The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

Follow our Nutcracker advent calendar on Instagram – we’re counting down the days until Christmas with a Nutcracker themed image.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

11 December 2015 at 3.27pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged cinema, cinema broadcast, Darcey Bussell, live relay, Production, relay, The Nutcracker

This article has 18 comments

  1. Natalia Andrijenko responded on 11 December 2015 at 9:14pm Reply

    Will this be relayed in the United States? Your cinema database lists all American screenings as the 2009 broadcast, including those taking place on December 16.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 14 December 2015 at 9:49am

      Dear Natalia,

      Due to numerous reasons, including programming restrictions, our US cinema network have decided to screen the recorded 2009 version of The Nutcracker. If you get the chance to see it I do hope you enjoy!

      Best wishes,


  2. Barbara Frank responded on 12 December 2015 at 4:30pm Reply

    So disappointed that this new one won't be shown in Philadelphia

  3. Sorina Cartan responded on 14 December 2015 at 8:33pm Reply

    Please tell me if the show will be presented in Bucharest, Romania.
    Thank you.

  4. Catherine Berisford responded on 15 December 2015 at 1:54pm Reply

    Please could you tell me what time this will finish so that my son knows when to pick us up?
    Thank you.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 15 December 2015 at 3:33pm

      Dear Catherine,

      We're expecting the relay to finish at approximately 9.50pm.

      Best wishes,


    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 16 December 2015 at 10:29am

      Hi Catherine,

      The performance will finish by 10pm


      ROH Content Producer

  5. Hannah rose and maeve responded on 16 December 2015 at 8:39pm Reply

    Hi from the VUE in liffey valley, dublin
    Enjoying the nutcracker, very colourfully and beautiful music. Love the children
    Hannah rose and maeve

  6. Stunning Nutcracker! Stunning cast! Most stunning Rose Fairy Yasmine Naghdi. What a ballerina you have there Royal Ballet!!!!!!!!!! LOVED LOVED it. Thank you for showing in the cinema!

  7. Eva Boutellier responded on 16 December 2015 at 10:44pm Reply

    A wonderful production, dancing, costumes and stage setting. Always enjoy intro by Darcey Bussell. Watched in Lucerne, Switzerland.

  8. Jennifer Millward responded on 16 December 2015 at 10:58pm Reply

    Have just watched the cinema screening of the The Nutcracker. Unfortunately some of the scenes seemed quite dark. I don't know if the lighting needs adjusting. I also found the same effect earlier in the year during La Fille Mal Garde. I hope it can be rectified for future productions. Otherwise a beautiful presentation.

  9. Garry Garrard responded on 19 December 2015 at 5:29pm Reply

    we went to see the cinema screening on Wednesday 16th December at the Odeon, South Woodford. What we saw was brilliant and very enjoyable. Unfortunately, about 5 minutes into Act 2, after the intermission, we lost all traces of both vision and sound and it was well over half of Act 2 had been performed before we got the signal back. Its a personal view but to me this is the most enjoyable part of the ballet. The cinema offered no explanation let alone an apology or refund (which I would have expected). WE left the cinema feeling cheated. I don't believe you could have done anything, but perhaps you should lay down some guidelines for what the cinema should do in these circumstances.

  10. Anna responded on 28 December 2015 at 3:37am Reply

    Please tell me if it will be shown in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

    Thank you.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 4 January 2016 at 3:35pm

      Dear Anna,

      I'm sorry to say that we have no confirmed cinema screenings in Guatemala for this season although our international distributors are working very hard on trying to make it happen.

      Kind regards,


  11. Brian responded on 28 December 2015 at 9:28am Reply

    I watched the live screening on Sunday 27/12/2015 at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal and it was awful; a complete waste of money. It wasn't just the distracting image distortion down the whole right hand side of the screen, or the astonishing constant ability of the camera operator to cut off the feet of the dancers, or that the whole-stage camera angle was annoyingly slightly off-centre, but that the whole screening was dim and grainy and blurred. It was like watching the performance through a veil whilst wearing sunglasses. So, all the wonderful scenery and peripheral action was lost in the shadows and the colours of the costumes looked like the colours on a 1970s photograph taken on a Polaroid Instamatic. Truly awful. I feel like I've been completely ripped off.
    Please use some of the £36 I spent on the tickets to buy a few more light bulbs for the stage, and/or a better camera that can deal with low light situations at distance, and/or to provide some training for the camera operator. Oh, and please can someone show Darcy how to use a microphone. What an amateur.

    • Sarah Walsh (Cinema Account Coordinator) responded on 4 January 2016 at 3:28pm

      Dear Brian,

      I'm very sorry that this happened and that you had such a disappointing experience. Please let me assure you that the stream that was broadcast from the ROH did not contain the flaws you mention. I'm going to get in touch with the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal but at the moment it sounds to me that they had their projector on the wrong setting (which would explain the cutting off of the dancers feet and off-centre angle). I'm also quite certain that the grainy visuals you mention are similarly down to the projector, but, like I said, I will confirm with Brewery Arts and we will work on getting everything sorted before our next screening.

      Thank you for raising this with us.

      Kind regards,


  12. Sheila Cross responded on 6 January 2016 at 11:43am Reply

    I saw the Encore in a community cinema in a North Yorkshire market town. It is only the 2nd time that ballet has been shown there so it was great that it was nearly full. I took someone who only goes to the ballet occasionally and she really enjoyed it. However, I was a bit disappointed as the magician's tricks and, above all, the Christmas tree growing, did not come over very effectively, in the way that it did when I saw it at the Opera House on 17 December. Still, it was marvellous to see Hayward and Campbell, so convincing, dancing and acting so well, even though the Sugar Plum and Prince were a bit below par.

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