Dance Advice

New partnership unites Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers at Victorian Radicals Exhibition at Gas Hall. Photo by Katie Edwards.
Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers at Victorian Radicals Exhibition at Gas Hall. Photo by Katie Edwards.

To celebrate the re-opening of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Waterhall, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB), Britain’s biggest touring ballet company will fill the Waterhall with dancers, musicians and the Company’s behind-the-scenes teams for a week from 26 June – 2 July. 

The residency offers a special “up close” insight into the life of an internationally renowned ballet company and includes a programme of free activities and paid-for performances, some including the opportunity to see the acclaimed Victorian Radicals exhibition.

The programme includes free opportunities for visitors to watch BRB dancers taking class and a very special family-friendly Open Day featuring dance performances, demonstrations and a display of costumes, wigs and shoes. 

There will be invited workshops for schools, for community groups with Freefall (BRB’s company for dancers with learning disabilities) and a backstage careers day for young people interested to find out about jobs in the performing arts. 

Paid-for events include exclusive ‘How to make a tutu’ workshops, and ‘A Night at the Museum’ featuring the world premiere of a new ballet and access to the stunning pre-Raphaelite exhibition. In addition, for anyone attending Victorian Radicals at lunchtime on Wednesday 26 June, members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia Robert Gibbs (violin), Joana Valentinaviciute (violin) and Errika Collins (viola) will be playing a concert of chamber music.

Caroline Miller OBE. Chief Executive of BRB, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Birmingham Museum’s Trust and celebrating the re-opening of this globally important Museum and Art Gallery. Together, both our organisations want to shout to the world that Birmingham is a thriving cultural city. Our goal is to bring joy to audiences this summer with free and affordable entertainment, whilst also enabling audiences to see what our international ballet dancers, fantastic orchestra players, production and community teams do behind the scenes in our wonderful home city.”

For anyone visiting the Victorian Radicals exhibition in the Gas Hall during the residency and picking up on the theme of romance and legend, there will be a display of BRB costumes. Alongside this BRB’s partnership with leading motion capture experts, Holosphere will be showcased with an interactive installation within the main hall where visitors can experiment with their own movement and see how it is translated into instant digital art. The residency will also include live music from members of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

Toby Watley, Director of Collections, Birmingham Museums Trust, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Birmingham Royal Ballet, helping to bring their world-class performers and creatives to a wider audience. Working closely with cultural partners in the city is hugely important for Birmingham Museums going forward. The Waterhall opening again is a key step in the phased reopening of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and it gives us the opportunity to showcase a wide variety of arts to the people of Birmingham. We can’t wait to welcome people back into the space.”

Visitors can get ‘up close and personal’ to an exhibition showcasing costumes from BRB’s repertoire including Cinderella and La Fille mal gardée and find out more about the Company, including the creation of the recently acclaimed Black Sabbath – The Ballet, and a chance for those new to ballet to attend a lesson for the first time.

In addition, Freefall Dance, BRB’s company of talented dancers with learning disabilities, will be sharing some of its acclaimed work with invited groups. And, alongside other arts organisations in the city, BRB will be part of a planning day designed to introduce secondary school students to the wide range of careers available in the performing arts. 

“A Night at the Museum with BRB” offers the chance to experience BRB’s popular ‘unexpected places’ events, and to visit the acclaimed Victorian Radicals Exhibition out of hours. The evening includes the world premiere of a new work by BRB Artist Olivia Chang-Clarke, commissioned for this partnership by the London Ballet Circle, and joined by the Conservatoire Ensemble.

For full programme details and to book (all events must be pre-booked), go to

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