BTS: How the ROH’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ evolved from rehearsals to the stage

The critically acclaimed ballet returns to the stage in Covent Garden for the first time in six years.
  • PhotographerMark Field

The Winter’s Tale, one of Shakespeare’s late plays centred around love and loss, was transformed by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon 10 years ago into a stellar full-evening ballet, commissioned by the Royal Ballet. The production has been dubbed a modern classic, winning Wheeldon a UK National Dance Award and a Benois de la Dance laureate. And while the production had been reprised a couple of times, it hadn’t made its return to the Royal Opera House’s (ROH) stage in Covent Garden since 2018.

Now, The Winter’s Tale is back, making its long-awaited return last Friday (May 3rd), with four mostly brand new casts stepping into the limelight. Royal Ballet dancers appearing in The Winter’s Tale this season include Matthew Ball (Leontes), Marianela Nunez (Hermoine), Mayara Magri (Paulina), and Lukas Brendsrod (Antigonus) among others.

As audience members, we’re always presented with the final polished version of these larger-than-life productions, often getting lost in the awe and wonder of it all. However, it can be easily forgotten just how many countless hours go into putting together such a show by the crew, cast and everyone involved. Thankfully, our photographer on the ground, Mark Field, managed to get some BTS access to watch the performance develop from the rehearsal room to the iconic ROH stage. Scroll below and take a sneak peek for yourselves.

The Winter’s Tale is now running at the Royal Opera House from now till Saturday 1st June 2024, with a live cinema relay taking place Wednesday 22nd May 2024. Tickets are available to purchase here.