Yorke film of MacMillan's Sea of Troubles at ROH

Published: 16 September 2023
Reporter: Vera Liber

Dane Hurst and Oxana Panchenko in Sea of Troubles Credit: Pierre Tappon

Yorke Dance Project will present the world première of David Stewart’s film of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles in association with The Royal Ballet on Tuesday 10 October, World Mental Health Day, at Clore Studio, Royal Opera House, prior to touring.

MacMillan’s ballet explores the psychological truths and dynamics between the characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Yorke Dance Project first revived the work on stage in 2016 at the Royal Opera House as part of the 25th anniversary of MacMillan's death.

The film is directed by documentary features director, David Stewart, who first worked with Yorke Dance Project on Seven Portraits (originally titled Lockdown Portraits), seven solos created by Sir Robert Cohan before his death in 2021. It was filmed on location in the house and grounds of Hatfield House and set to music by Anton Webern and Bohuslav Martinů.

The dancers are Dane Hurst as Hamlet and, playing various roles including Ophelia, Gertrude, Polonius and Claudius, Freya Jeffs, Romany Pajdak (Royal Ballet soloist), Oxana Panchenko, Edd Mitton and Ben Warbis.

The company will run a series of workshops entitled Mindful, co-created and co-facilitated with HFEH Mind (Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow), using Hamlet and Ophelia to navigate conflicts and emotions which some young people may also be experiencing.

Sea of Troubles was choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan in 1988. It was commissioned by, and created for, Dance Advance, a touring ballet company comprising six dancers who had broken away from The Royal Ballet to take new chamber ballets to a nationwide audience. The original cast was Michael Batchelor, Susie Crow, Jennifer Jackson, Russell Maliphant, Stephen Sheriff and Sheila Styles.

Following these autumn tour dates, there are plans for a cinema release of the film in 2024.

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