This ballet piggy went to MKT...

A Midsummer Night's Dream...on stage from Tuesday
A Midsummer Night's Dream...on stage from Tuesday

Northern Ballet makes a very welcome return to Milton Keynes Theatre with a witty take on Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ from Tuesday.

Swapping Athenians in classical Greece for a touring ballet company in post-war Britain, artistic director David Nixon’s imaginative production is sure to enchant balletomanes and newcomers alike.

The romantic antics of the dancers in a fictional 1940s dance troupe are played out on one magical night while the company travels by sleeper train from London to Edinburgh.

After a rehearsal for a performance of Romeo and Juliet, artistic temperaments clash with romantic entanglements – the director wants his principal dancer (and wife-to-be) to retire and all the dancers have personal requests to dance with their respective other halves.

Tensions continue between the group onboard the train and, as the Company retire to bed for the night, the train enters a tunnel and the dream begins...

Audiences will be transported from the stylish elegance of the 1940s – a time when ballet was soaring in popularity in the UK and dancers were revered as icons – to a technicolour dreamworld where the magical mayhem of a mischievous sprite named Puck weaves a tangled web of love.

Northern Ballet dancer Sean Bates dances as Puck in one cast and the 22-year-old from Giffard Park is looking forward to performing in his home town.

He said: “We visit Milton Keynes Theatre every year on the tour.

“It’s a great theatre and of course it’s great to come home and perform and have family and friends come to watch.

“Audiences in Milton Keynes are in for a treat for sure with our production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

“Our take on it follows a touring ballet company and it is so interesting to see how well Shakespeare’s story works in this context.

“You can really see how all the characters’ relationships and interactions within the fictional ballet company relate to Shakespeare’s original text.”

Northern Ballet’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ opens at Milton Keynes Theatre on Tuesday and continues until Saturday.

Northern Ballet prides itself on creating full-length ballets which appeal to as wide an audience as possible, broadening people’s expectations and experience of dance.

This includes youngsters, who will be catered for with a short children’s ballet based on The Three Little Pigs on Friday (May 23).

Following the success of last year’s ‘Ugly Duckling’ – the television adaptation of the touring show won a children’s BAFTA in November last year – ‘Three Little Pigs’ will delight little ones.

The colourful production sees the trio of piglets each build a house – one made of straw, one made of wood and one made of bricks.

But then along comes a very hungry wolf who wants to be invited in for dinner.

Will our pirouetting porky pals prove clever enough to outwit this big bad wolf?

The child-friendly performances each last 35 minutes (with shows at 11.30am and 1.30pm) and tickets are just £5.

Call Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes to book (booking fee applies).