World Premiere 2022 / St James Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand
Followed by a National Tour
Commissioned by Royal New Zealand Ballet
Choreographer Loughlan Prior
Composer Claire Cowan
Costume and Set Design Emma Kingsbury
Lighting Design Jeremy Fern
Animation/visuals POW Studios
Video footage: Dan Harris
Photography: Stephen A'Court
Our story follows both Cinderella and Prince Charming as they navigate separate struggles but share a common bond. In a world where fancy titles count for everything, peacocking reigns and ‘more is always more’, Cinderella and Prince Charming feel smothered and silenced, struggling to be heard in a story they don’t fit. Only by following their hearts and gathering all their courage are they able to break free and find true love, as their authentic selves.
Cinderella yearns to break free from her dysfunctional family and become her own woman, while the Prince struggles with his identity within royal marital expectations. Both are a little bit lost and lonely but draw on each other’s strength and determination to rewrite the story.
In the end, Cinderella finds true love with the charming (small ‘c’) Royal Messenger, and as young ‘head over heels’ romantics, we see their relationship blossom naturally as the ballet unfolds. Prince Charming meanwhile finds his soul mate in Prince Dashing, the ‘Prince from the Kingdom Next Door’, and comes out to his mother the Queen.
In fairy tales as in real life, there can be many kinds of magic, and happiness, like glass slippers, is not ‘one size fits all.
It is a playful, utterly sinful, but delightfully delicious mouthful of modern ballet. This really is a ballet that transcends decades. It is fun, it is entertaining and simply put, it is magic. - Aziz Al Saafin, One News
But only several viewings would allow an audience to appreciate the extraordinary diversity of ideas that fill the work.There is no doubt that we will never see another Cinderella like this one. - Michelle Potter, Dance Australia
A joyous occasion, the production is a fairy-tale for our challenging times, and as the spontaneous applause and cheers erupting from the very first scenes indicated, there is still magic aplenty to be found in the theatre. - Brigitte Knight, The Dominion Post
This Cinderella is no shrinking violet but a feisty character who is willing, in the end, to take on the wicked stepmother at her own game. - Dr Ian Lochhead, Theatre Review
Prior’s choreographic voice particularly shines in pas de deux, both in the female/male and male/male variations. His innovative transitions, facings and lifts add elements of beauty and subtle emotion to the characters and the dancers generally accomplish these challenges with aplomb and flair. - Marianne Shultz, DANZ
Very well-known stories with a long history of telling are safe box office but tricky to change. Choreographer Loughlan Prior really steps up to this challenge with not one romantic story but two. A twist of our times indeed and both couples have sumptuous dancing and passionate duets. - Deidre Tarrant, Wellington Theatre Review
Art brings joy to desperate times, and right now, when queer folk are in such strife in many places across the world and discord is flaring up about our sheer right to exist, Cinderella is the balm that we all need. It is a celebration of love, euphoria, and endless queer joy, and I certainly felt that last night.
- Emma Maguire, The Wellingtonista