Northern Ballet Postpones Merlin World Première

Northern Ballet Merlin Postponed

Northern Ballet has announced that the 2020 world première of Merlin has had to be postponed.

In its 50th anniversary year, Merlin is Drew McOnie’s choreographic debut for Northern Ballet. However, due to social distancing regulations, the Company haven’t been able to commence rehearsals or work on sets and costumes. And this has left them with insufficient time to have the production ready for the original date. The première is now scheduled to take place in September 2021, followed by a national tour.

David Nixon OBE, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to postpone the world première of Merlin. Unfortunately the COVID-19 restrictions have left us without an appropriate length of time in which to create the production in time to open in October 2020. And it is unclear when our Company will be able to start rehearsing again due to social distancing restrictions. The current situation still poses uncertainty for all arts organisations.”

Northern Ballet Merlin Postponed

Dancers rehearse for Geisha which only had one performance before lockdown

“Bring back the magic”

The will also not be able to present a new children’s ballet in Leeds in October. The Company anticipates further changes or cancellations to the remainder of its autumn tour and asks audiences to see for updates. Audiences with tickets to affected performances will be contacted by the venue.

In the first part of 2020, Northern Ballet was only able to give one performance before lockdown. As a registered charity, the Company continues to make use of all sources of funding currently available. This includes the Government’s Job Retention Scheme which has been invaluable in offsetting some of the losses. The Company remains committed to ensuring that none of its staff and freelancers are financially disadvantaged by the current situation.

The Company has also launched its ‘Bring Back the Magic’ appeal.  Its aims to ensure that financial constraints don’t prevent the Company from completing the creation of Merlin for 2021. And donations of any size are gratefully received and can be made online at For further information on other ways that you can support the Company through this challenging time, contact the Northern Ballet Development team by emailing [email protected]

Northern Ballet Merlin Postponed

Great Gatsby is one of the classic ballets that was scheduled in 2020

“Return to the stage”

Mark Skipper DL, Chief Executive of Northern Ballet, said: “Alongside the entire UK arts industry, Northern Ballet still faces uncertainty as a result of the effects of COVID-19.

“Financially, the loss of £1M in box office income from the spring tour has been a challenge. But the Government’s recent announcement of significant investment in the arts sector is hugely welcome and vital to the survival of many national venues and organisations. And we look forward to hearing further details soon. We remain committed to our staff, freelancers and audiences and will persevere to return to the stage as soon as safely possible.

“The postponements we have announced today are necessary and have been made following lengthy discussions with our theatre partners. We continue to liaise with the venues and are working hard to try and put a plan in place to return to the stage in some form before the end of the year. We will endeavour to keep audiences up to date via our website.”


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.