‘Virginia Woolf: the Ballet’ to open next year

Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare on Virginia Woolf, above: “You worry sometimes about taking on the words of a writer, but you can get a sense of movement within her writing. Photograph: George C Beresford/Getty Images

Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare on Virginia Woolf, above: “You worry sometimes about taking on the words of a writer, but you can get a sense of movement within her writing. Photograph: George C Beresford/Getty Images

Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 16:13

London’s Royal Opera House has announced a new ballet based on the writings and life of Virginia Woolf. Choreographer and director Wayne McGregor will create the full-length ballet for the company, to premiere next year.

The English author, famous for her experimental work and novels such as Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927), died by suicide at the age of 59 in 1941. The writer, played by Nicole Kidman in the 2002 film The Hours , is a major figure in literary modernism.

Kevin O’Hare, the Royal Ballet’s second-generation Irish artistic director, said Woolf’s writing lent itself to dance. He said: “You worry sometimes about taking on the words of a writer, but you can get a sense of movement within her writing and somebody like Wayne can bring it out.”

Mr O’Hare added that the novelist, part of the Bloomsbury Set of authors, was likely to be represented on stage in the production, entitled Woolf Works . He said: “There might be somebody that represents that (personal) side of her life. We could bring aspects of her character to the stage.”

Mr McGregor said that the production would feature some “amazing guest dance performances” and that Woolf’s non-linear writing was “evocative” and “elegiac”, and “lends itself to expression”.

He said that he wanted to take a “non-linear narrative look at a long form piece of dance and see how we can interrogate it in a different way... see what can we do in a 21st-century opera house that we have not done before.”