Theatre News

”Black Sabbath – The Ballet” world premiere to be staged by Birmingham Royal Ballet

Carlos Acosta and Tony Iommi on Black Sabbath Bridge in Birmingham
Carlos Acosta and Tony Iommi on Black Sabbath Bridge in Birmingham
© Drew Tommons

Birmingham Royal Ballet has announced the world premiere of Black Sabbath – The Ballet.

Commissioned by Carlos Acosta and Ballet Now, the piece will be a full-length, three-act production with onstage guitars and drums, featuring eight specially reorchestrated Black Sabbath tracks alongside new music inspired by the iconic heavy metal band.

The songs chosen include “Paranoid”, “Ironman”, “War Pigs”, “Black Sabbath”, “Solitude”, “Orchid”, “Laguna Sunrise” and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, with the new score composed by Tony Award winner Christopher Austin, Marko Nyberg and Sun Keting.

The creative team also includes lead choreographer Pontus Lidburg, additional choreographers Raúl Reinoso and Cassi Abranches, designer Alexandra Arrechea, lighting designer Kieron Johnson and dramaturg Richard Thomas.

Acosta, who previously commissioned a 2021 Birmingham-focused ballet entitled City of a Thousand Trades, commented: “Black Sabbath is probably Birmingham’s biggest export, the most famous (and infamous) cultural entity to ever emerge from the city – so I was naturally drawn to the idea of a collaboration between what most people might think are the most unlikely of partners. The band’s enthusiasm for the project is a huge endorsement. They are putting their trust in us to deliver something completely new and original, and that’s quite a responsibility but one that we are beyond excited to take on. Everyone in the BRB company is thrilled to be involved and we cannot wait to share the vision for the show in more detail in the coming months. I have hand-picked the creative team and will work closely with them to make a spectacular show.”

Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath co-founder, lead guitarist and co-songwriter, added: “I’m looking forward to seeing how this all develops! Black Sabbath have always been innovators and never been predictable, and it doesn’t come any more unpredictable than this! I’d never imagined pairing Black Sabbath with Ballet but it’s got a nice ring to it! I’ve met with Carlos several times and his enthusiasm is infectious. I performed alongside some of the dancers at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and they had an incredible energy, so I’m happy to go along for the ride with them and see you on the other side!”

Black Sabbath – The Ballet will run at the Birmingham Hippodrome from 23 to 30 September, with further dates to be announced for autumn 2023 at Plymouth Theatre Royal and Sadler’s Wells in London.

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