Norwich Theatre to produce Carlos Acosta’s Nutcracker in Havana

Norwich Theatre and Valid Productions are delighted to announce the brand new dance co-production Carlos Acosta’s ‘Nutcracker in Havana’, choreographed and directed by Carlos Acosta CBE, which will open at Norwich Theatre Royal on 1 November 2024 before embarking on a UK tour including a week-long run at London’s Southbank Centre in December 2024.

Nutcracker in Havana is a colourful Cuban take on the festive classic, set to an exuberant Cuban newly-commissioned version of the magnificent Tchaikovsky score, arranged by Cuban composer Pepe Gavilondo. Featuring over twenty dancers from Carlos’ Cuban company Acosta Danza, this traditional story is brought to life with ballet at its core but in Carlos’ unique style, seeing dance traditions of Cuba carefully fused and woven throughout the classic tale.

With spectacular video projection and set design by Nina Dunn (9 to 5 Musical, Bonnie and Clyde, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Don Quixote), Cuba collides with the Land of Sweets, bringing snow to Havana in a visually stunning spectacular treat for all.

Carlos Acosta CBE said: “I am so excited to be bringing Acosta Danza to the Nutcracker. My generation in Cuba grew up without the spirit of Christmas and with this show I can combine the joy of the Nutcracker with the vibrant Havana culture. I cannot wait to take audiences from the humble settings of Clara’s home through to the beautiful dream sequences passing through the grand and vibrant Havana ballrooms of the 1940s and 50s.

“I have always taken pride in recreating some of the most iconic and loved ballet titles, from Carmen through to Don Quixote. Infusing the colour, feel and vibrancy of Havana with the tradition and beauty of Nutcracker is a real highlight for my career.”

Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive and Creative Director of Norwich Theatre said: “Norwich Theatre is delighted to be working with Carlos Acosta, Acosta Danza and Valid Productions once again, following the success of our partnership in reviving Carlos’ solo show, On Before, which continues to tour in the UK and internationally. This is the next major step in Norwich Theatre’s evolution as an originator of new work and creative force bringing the world to Norwich and Norfolk and taking Norwich and Norfolk to the world.

“The whole Creative Team and I are so inspired by Carlos’ vision for a fresh and different Cuban telling of this much loved tale. I hope that Nutcracker in Havana will both capture the imagination of dance lovers and also bring new audiences to dance. I am proud that we are creating a Nutcracker able to tour to the widest range of venues and to towns and cities not regularly receiving dance of this scale and quality.” 

International superstar Carlos Acosta was born in Havana, Cuba and trained at The National Ballet School of Havana. After winning a succession of awards, including the 1990 Prix De Lausanne, he went on to dance professionally with the world’s most prestigious companies, with London’s Royal Ballet becoming his home. Carlos retired from classical ballet in 2016, after twenty-eoght years, having performed almost every classical role from Spartacus to Romeo. Carlos created many award-winning shows throughout his ballet career, including Tocororo, and Carlos Acosta and Friends of the Royal Ballet, also choreographing the Royal Ballet productions of Don Quixote and Carmen and the 2014 West End production of Guys and Dolls. He has also written two books, including a work of fiction ‘Pig’s Foot’ and his autobiography ‘No Way Home’. Yuli, a film inspired by his life, premiered at the San Sebastian, Havana and Berlin Film Festivals to critical acclaim before its premiere and general release in April 2019.

The culture and history of Carlos’ homeland have been important influences throughout his career and continues to be so following the establishment of his own dance company, Acosta Danza, in 2016. The company tours the world with its vibrant combination of classical and contemporary, fused with Cuban elements of dance. In 2017, Carlos opened his first Dance Academy through the Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation and in 2023 opened The Acosta Dance Center in Woolwich. He was also recognized in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List and received a CBE in 2014, later also receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from The Royal Academy of Dance in 2018 and the Critics’ Circle’s Annual Award for Outstanding Services to the Arts in 2019. In January 2020, Carlos became Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Nutcracker in Havana is choreographed by Carlos Acosta, with video projection and mapping by Nina Dunn, costume design by Angelo Alberto, compositions and arrangements by Pepe Gavilondo Peón and set and lighting design by Andrew Exeter.

Nutcracker in Havana is produced by Norwich Theatre and Valid Productions.

Listings at Norwich Theatre

Nutcracker in Havana tour dates:

01–03 Nov, Norwich Theatre Royal
08–09 Nov, Canterbury Marlowe Theatre
19–20 Nov, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
26–27 Nov, Richmond Theatre
10–15 Dec, London Southbank Centre
10-11 Jan, Woking New Victoria Theatre
17–18 Jan, Milton Keynes Theatre
27–28 Jan, Salford Lowry

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