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USE BY 2/3: Russell Beale Takes to Stage in Royal Ballet's Alice

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Simon Russell Beale looks set to make a rather surprising theatrical debut - with the Royal Ballet. Russell Beale, who is currently appearing in the West End production of Deathtrap alongside Johnathan Groff, Claire Skinner and Estelle Parsons at the Noël Coward Theatre, will star in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a new ballet which runs at the Royal Opera House from 2 March to 15 March 2011.

The show's creator, Christopher Wheeldon approached Beale to play the part after seeing his performance in a play at the National Theatre, saying the Olivier Award-winning star, appeared nimble on stage.

The show, which is co-produced by the National Ballet of Canada, is based on Lewis Carroll’s surreal novel and tells the story of a young girl, who falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a world full of weird and wonderful characters. The ballet marks the first full length work the Royal Ballet has commissioned in 15 years, with a scenario by playwright Nicholas Wright and designs by Bob Crowley.

Beal will appear alongside the Royal ballet's principal dancer Lauren Cuthbertson, who has not been seen on stage for more than a year, following a lengthy battle with glandular fever and myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. She now looks set to make her comeback in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland following a long period of recuperation in London and with her parents in Devon.

Speaking about the production, Wheeldon said Cuthbertson had been lined up to play the role for over two years, saying: "Alice is such a British part, so I wanted a British dancer and Lauren seemed perfect."


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