Theater » Theater Feature

Ballet Memphis Breathes New Life Into Nutcracker



It looks like Christmas does come twice a year. With theaters closed and limited opportunities for in-person performances, Ballet Memphis has decided to head in a different direction this year for its annual marquee Nutcracker series. With the help of new sponsors and partners, the musical will be free to view through various channels during the winter months.

"This is different than broadcasting a stage performance; we are creating an immersive cinematic experience that will take dance off the stage and allow us to present a new viewing experience for the audience while telling the classic Nutcracker story," says Ballet Memphis president and CEO Gretchen Wollert McLennon. "We are delighted to share this with the community and give the gift of joy and celebration during what will be an unprecedented holiday season."

  • Ballet Memphis

2020’s production of Nutcracker: A Gift From Ballet Memphis will be shot on-location and at Ballet Memphis studios. Tchaikovsky’s original score will be performed by Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

The first performance will air live on WKNO on Friday, December 11th, at 8 p.m., and will continue to be rebroadcast as part of the station’s Christmas programming. Afterwards, Ballet Memphis plan to distribute the film to other public channels across Tennessee, Malco theaters, schools, and other digital platforms. All viewings will remain free.

Rather than being a simple camera recording, this year's filmed version of the Nutcracker will be redesigned from the ground up for digital audiences. "It was important to me that we bring in cinematography from the very beginning," says Ballet Memphis artistic director Steven McMahon. "This is much more than just a stationary camera recording the stage and what we have always done. This is a completely new way of presenting dance that lets us engage with audiences like never before."

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