The Russian-born Polunin won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Slava's Snowshow following its sell-out West End run at the Old Vic in 1997. More recently, he toured the UK in 2006 and was seen on the London stage in a star-studded gala performance of the piece in 2004 to mark the reopening of east London’s Hackney Empire, where the clown played his first-ever UK dates in 1988, before touring with Cirque du Soleil and achieving international fame.
Outside of the UK, Slava's Snowshow has toured to more than 120 cities in 30 countries. It opened in September 2004 at New York’s Union Square Theatre, where it won the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.
In the non-verbal piece, a group of beleaguered clowns face a series of obstacles and a barrage of meteorological conditions, including a blinding blizzard effect, that culminates in a “heart-stopping coup de theatre”.
The new UK tour of Slava's Snowshow opens on 20 September 2011 at Theatre Royal Nottingham and then visits Plymouth, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Salford, Milton Keynes and Birmingham before transferring to London’s Royal Festival Hall.
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