Scottish Ballet – Listening Gallery

  • Lady_Gibson_OH

  • Beginnings of Scottish Ballet

    There was a woman who started it – Elizabeth West – and Peter Darrell took it over as, sort of choreographer and so on. And when the Arts Council were quite keen to have a ballet company up here, so it was mooted that it would come in with Scottish Opera and it would use the premises. And that worked for a while, and when they did the Trojans – which was also in here – they used the ballet; they incorporated the ballet company in the opera. So it was quite a good arrangement to begin with. But that didn’t last, because Peter Darrell was very ambitious – rightly so – to have his own ballet company, with a home of their own, so that all changed. But they still use the Theatre Royal. They’ve played a very important part in the Theatre Royal.”

    Lady Veronica GibsonPresidentScottish Opera

  • Gordon_Aitken_OH

  • Dancing at the Theatre Royal

    Well, from the point of view of the dancers, they were very happy dancing at the Theatre Royal, because it was one of the largest stages, which didn’t have a rake. Now a rake’s not that important to most theatrical ventures, but it can be very off-putting for dancers, especially if the stage is small. A small stage with a rake is a nightmare for dancers. So coming back to the Theatre Royal was great. We felt we had space and a lovely flat surface to dance on.”

    Gordon AitkenFormer Scottish Ballet Assistant Director

  • Meeting the Queen Mother

    We had the Queen Mother who came to open our new premises up in West Princes Street and she came to a performance of The Tales of Hoffman. And I always remember the other Robin – Robin Duff – who was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Scottish Ballet (Peter Darrell as artistic Director and myself as General Administrator). It was decided that Robin Duff would sit with the Queen Mother in the box for the first act, Peter Darrell would be there for the second act, and I would be there for the third act to take her down onto the stage to meet the Company. The Tales of Hoffman was one of Peter’s more interesting; well, one of his very interesting ballets. She’d watched the first act, she’d watched the second act, then I came in and I was handed her ermine cape to look after in the box. I can remember when we asked her where would she like to sit, or we asked the palace where she would like to sit -thinking that she might want to be in the centre of the dress circle – but no, no, she said, “Where most people can see me” [laughs]. So she was in the stage box and when the curtain went up on the third act – by which time I was encumbered with the ermine cape – it went up on smoke and dry ice, the sort of Bordello, the house of ill repute, in the third act. And she looked at it with her opera glasses and she turned to me and she said, “Is it an orgy?” And I said, “Yes ma’am”. She said, “Oh good!”, and put the glasses back to her eyes again!”

    Robin AndersonFormer Scottish Ballet Administrator

  • The Home of Dance

    When I arrived in the company in 1974 we were in the King’s, I still really love the King’s as a theatre: it has a great atmosphere. But for dance, dance to me says Theatre Royal. And the links with the Company through all the great productions we’ve done. I think – I couldn’t think of Glasgow dance without the Theatre Royal.”

    Paul TyersDeputy Artistic DirectorScottish Ballet