Footwork Films present Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words in association with The Royal Ballet, BBC Two, BalletBoyz and Manilla Productions. An audacious first in contemporary filmmaking, Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words presents Kenneth MacMillan’s original choreography as it has never been seen before, with the iconic original costume designs by Nicholas Georgiadis.
Directed and produced by International Emmy award-winning Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, the film takes MacMillan’s choreography out of the theatre and places it in the streets of Verona, allowing viewers to experience a visionary reimagining of Shakespeare’s seminal love story. It is set to a unique recording of Sergei Prokofiev’s original score played by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House overseen by Concert Master Vasko Vassilev and conducted by Koen Kessels.
This film features the current generation of stars of The Royal Ballet, internationally celebrated as the strongest actor-dancers in the world, starring William Bracewell as Romeo, Francesca Hayward as Juliet and Matthew Ball as Tybalt in their feature film debuts. The film will have an exclusive, one-night only release in Curzon cinemas throughout the UK on Monday 16 December and will include a post-screening Q&A with the directors and the cast.
The production is a groundbreaking feat of filmmaking that combines film, music and theatre in an entirely unique and unprecedented way. Having worked closely with MacMillan during their careers, and having performed in Romeo and Juliet, Nunn and Trevitt bring an unparalleled insight and understanding to the tale. Throughout their careers, they have developed a cinematic style of story-telling and dance presentation on-screen to international critical acclaim, winning an International Emmy, 3 Rose d’Ors and 2 Golden Prague awards for their work. They are known for bringing together inventive cinematography and dynamic choreography to award-winning effect and are ideally placed to present Romeo and Julietin a brand new way.
Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, Director/Producers comment: ‘With Romeo and Juliet we’re delighted to be working on a piece which has been a part of our lives since our first performances as professional dancers. It’s a classic work, but it still allows for reinterpretation and reinvention. This has allowed us to take the celebrated stage production and transform it into a cinematic film, where the audience is no longer removed from the action but is instead able to experience it first-hand. Viewers are able to get up close and personal with the archetypal characters and fully immerse themselves in the story without having the magic broken by set-changes or the curtain coming down. The final product is not ballet or theatre as audiences know it, but a film in its own right; viewers will be fully swept away by the emotion of the story and come away with an experience like no other. Most importantly, this exciting project has allowed us to combine the two art forms we cherish most; film and dance.’
Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet and Executive Producer comments: ‘I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Michael and William again to bring this Royal Ballet classic to life in a completely new way to share with audiences here in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The remarkable blend of Shakespeare’s great drama, Prokofiev’s music and Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography never fails to stir the senses and to have this translated into the film genre is a fantastic moment for us. It is also an honour to showcase a wonderful and talented new generation of Royal Ballet dancers as part of this project.”
Jan Younghusband, Head of BBC Music Commissioning at the BBC comments: ‘We are delighted to commission the first ballet film made on location with The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, of Kenneth MacMillan’s outstanding production originally made for the Royal Ballet. The film brings us a unique experience of the choreography and the story told in dance as never before. We are so happy to support the multi award-winning Michael Nunn and William Trevitt to continue their film career delivering their second dance film for BBC Two, after the success of Young Men (2016), which was a profoundly moving meditation on the First World War told through dance.’