Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) is one of the three major ballet companies of the United Kingdom, alongside The Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet.[3] Founded as the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, the company was established in 1946 as a sister company to the earlier Sadler's Wells company, which moved to the Royal Opera House that same year, subsequently becoming known as The Royal Ballet.

Birmingham Royal Ballet
General information
NameBirmingham Royal Ballet
Previous names
  • Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet
  • Royal Ballet Touring Group
  • Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet
Year founded1946 (1946)
FounderDame Ninette de Valois
Founding artistic directorJohn Field
Director LaureateSir Peter Wright
Principal venueBirmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street, Birmingham
England, B5 4TB
Senior staff
Chief ExecutiveCaroline Miller
DirectorDavid Bintley (retired 2019)
Carlos Acosta (in 2020)[1]
Assistant DirectorMarion Tait
(Acting Director until 2020)[2]
Company managerWill Mauchline
Ballet MastersMichael O'Hare, Dominic Antonucci, Wolfgang Stollwitzer
Sister companyThe Royal Ballet
OrchestraRoyal Ballet Sinfonia
Official schoolThe Royal Ballet School
  • Principal Guest Artist
  • Principal
  • First Soloist
  • Soloist
  • First Artist
  • Artist

The new company was formed under the direction of John Field and remained at Sadler's Wells for many years, becoming known as the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet in 1977. It also toured the UK and abroad, before relocating to Birmingham in 1990, where it uses the Birmingham Hippodrome stage when performing in the city. Birmingham Royal Ballet has extensive custom-built facilities, including a suite of dance studios, the Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries and a studio theatre known as the Patrick Centre. In 1997, the Birmingham Royal Ballet became independent of The Royal Ballet in London.


In 1926, the Irish-born dancer Ninette de Valois founded the Academy of Choreographic Art, a dance school for girls. Her intention was to form a repertory ballet company and school, leading her to collaborate with the English theatrical producer and theatre owner Lilian Baylis. Baylis owned the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells theatres, and in 1925, she engaged de Valois to stage dance performances at both venues.

Sadler's Wells reopened in 1931, and the Vic-Wells Ballet and Vic-Wells Ballet School were established in premises at the theatre. These would become the predecessors of today's Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet School.

In 1939, the company lost its link with the Old Vic theatre, and in 1940, Sadler's Wells theatre was bombed during World War II. These events forced the company to begin touring the country, becoming known as the Sadler's Wells Ballet. The company did return to Sadler's Wells theatre, where it stayed until 1946, when the company was invited to become the resident ballet company of the newly re-opened Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The company relocated to the opera house the same year in 1946, with their first production at the venue being Ninette de Valois' staging of The Sleeping Beauty.

Following the relocation of the company, the school was relocated to its own premises in 1947, and a sister company was established to continue performances at Sadler's Wells, called Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. This sister company would become the predecessor of today's Birmingham Royal Ballet. The first Artistic Director of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet was John Field, who was later made co-director of the Royal Ballet and also worked as artistic director of La Scala Theatre Ballet and English National Ballet.

In 1955, Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet temporarily lost its link with Sadler's Wells theatre and relocated to the Royal Opera House as a touring unit of the main company.

In 1956, a Royal Charter was granted for both companies and the school, and they were subsequently renamed the Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School.

The Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet returned to Sadler's Wells theatre in 1970, whilst continuing to tour the country. The first indication that the company would leave London came in 1987, when the company was invited to become the resident ballet company at the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre. Consequently, the company relocated to Birmingham in 1990, being given its current name Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Sir Peter Wright was the company's Artistic Director from 1977 until his retirement in 1995, when David Bintley was appointed Artistic Director. In 1997, Birmingham Royal Ballet was made independent of the Royal Ballet and ceased to be managed by the Royal Opera House. In January 2019 it was announced that acclaimed Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta would succeed Bintley as artistic director in January 2020.[1]

Works performed



Name Nationality Training Joined BRB Promoted to
Tzu-Chao Chou  Taiwan Australian Ballet School 2011 2017
Mathias Dingman [4]  United Kingdom Kirov Academy of Ballet 2006 2015 Guest Artist - English National Ballet, 2014

Varna International Ballet Competition - Gold Medal, 2006

Youth America Grand Prix - Gold Medal, 2006

Korea International Ballet Competition - Gold Medal, 2005

Vienna International Ballet Competition - Gold Medal and Vaslav Nijinsky Prize, 2004

Samara Downs [5]  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 2003 2015
  • Paul Clarke Award
  • Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Award
  • Anthony Dowell Award
  • Kerrison Cook Award
Céline Gittens  Canada Goh Ballet Academy 2006 2016
Momoko Hirata [6]  Japan Reiko Yamamoto Ballet School
Royal Ballet School
2003 2013 2001 Prix de Lausanne – won
Brandon Lawrence  United Kingdom Nydza School of Dance
Royal Ballet School
2011 2019
Delia Mathews  New Zealand The Dance Education Center
Royal Ballet School
2008 2017
César Morales [7]  Chile Municipal Theatre of Santiago
Houston Ballet Academy
2008 N/A Principal Guest Artist – Vienna State Opera Ballet, 2006
English National Ballet, 2004–2006
Altazor Prize  – Winner, 2002 & 2003
New York International Ballet Competition – Gold Medal, 2003
Prague International Ballet Competitions – Gold Medal, 2002
Ballet de Santiago, years unknown
Tyrone Singleton [8]  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 2003 2013

First Soloists

Arancha Baselga


First Artists


See also


  1. Brown, Mark (15 January 2019). "Carlos Acosta to be Birmingham Royal Ballet director". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  2. "Ballet Staff". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  3. Roy, Sanjoy (8 April 2009). "Step-by-step guide to dance: Birmingham Royal Ballet". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 30 October 2011. See also: The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet – the other two of the big three UK ballet companies.
  4. "Mathias Dingman". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  5. "Samara Downs". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  6. "Momoko Hirata". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  7. "César Morales". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  8. "Tyrone Singleton". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
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