We’ve said this many times before – If you’ve never ventured in to a theatre to see ballet in all it’s glory, then a production by MATTHEW BOURNE is a very good place to start. And if this is your fist visit, then SLEEPING BEAUTY should be top of your list.

The show has just finished a hugely successful run at Sadler’s Well in London, heading off around the world to America, Amsterdam, Russia and Italy but not before stopping off at the Wales Millennium Centre this week.

As we’ve come to expect from Matthew this is anything but a simple retelling of a classic tale.

It’s ten years 10 years since this production had its premiere at Sadler’s Wells, when it became the fastest selling production in the company’s history. The company in question being New Adventures.

Since 1986 Matthew Bourne and New Adventures have delighted, inspired and nurtured people of all ages and backgrounds: audiences, artists and the next generation. Under Sir Matthew’s leadership they create world class productions and engaging projects, reaching thousands worldwide every year. Sleeping Beauty is without doubt one of those.


The award-winning Sleeping Beauty has enchanted international audiences throughout the UK and across the globe.

Enter a wondrous world of magical fairies and vampires, where the timeless tale of good vs evil is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder. Will Princess Aurora ever find her true love again?

With an unforgettable score, sumptuous sets and costumes, evocative lighting and masterly storytelling, the beloved fairy tale is brought to life by the uniquely talented New Adventures company. Get ready to be transported in time from the halcyon days of the late Edwardian era through to the modern day in this dazzling gothic romance.

Sleeping Beauty is directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, working with his regular collaborators and New Adventures Associate Artists Lez Brotherston (Set and Costumes), Paule Constable (Lighting) and Paul Groothuis(Sound Design).

Matthew is the only British director to have won Tony Awards for the Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography and holds eight Olivier Awards. We were in the audience when he received the 2019 Special Olivier Award and the crowd went wild in appreciation.

He has been said to be the most audience-conscious artist. He never goes into detail about his works because he wants us, the audience to have their own interpretations.

And we can vouch for this. The SOUTH WALES LIFE team were fortunate to do some work on the first revival of Mary Poppins, many years ago, and Matthew was the choreographer. Watching him at work, and speaking with him afterwards, you could sense you were in the presence of greatness.

Sir Matthew Bourne

He started training as a dancer at the relatively late age of 22. Studying Dance Theatre and Choreography at Laban, graduating in 1985 but spending two more years with the college’s performance company Transitions. He danced professionally for 14 years, creating many roles in his own work. In 1999 he gave his final performance, playing The Private Secretary in the Broadway production of Swan Lake.

Matthew is a London boy and what you may not know about him is that he was was an avid autograph hunter, attending most West End opening nights and waiting outside Stage Doors and top London hotels. We’d like to think it was that passion which was transferred to his love of dance.

His choreographic style is best described as a pick’n’mix: a bit of ballet, a bit of folky footwork, mime, quirky social dances and exaggerated shapes of his own making, with all sorts of witty references.

MATTHEW BOURNE’S SLEEPING BEAUTY is at the Wales Millennium Centre from this Tuesday (31st) through to Saturday 4th February. Performances are at 7:30pm each evening with a 2:30pm matinee on Thursday and Saturday (audio described). Tickets start at £18 and if you haven’t yet dipped you toes into ballet, this is a fantastic place to start. For more details and tickets, go HERE.

Sleeping Beauty is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes long, including a 20-minute interval.

Matthew’s company were last at the Wales Millennium Centre last March in the superb production of The Nutcracker, you can look back at our review of that show HERE.