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The Crucible Photo: Andy Ross

Five reasons to see The Crucible

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A story of fear, fanaticism, moral uncertainty and personal integrity. We've got five reasons why you should experience the world premiere of Scottish Ballet's The Crucible this August.

1. Powerful choreography from Helen Pickett

Helen Pickett is one of the most in-demand choreographers working today. The Scotsman’s dance critic Kelly Apter even wrote that ‘the dance world needs more Helen Picketts... choreographers who can take the genre of narrative ballet and hurl it into the 21st Century’.  

Pickett is no first-timer when it comes to working with Scottish Ballet. The renowned choreographer brought The Room to the International Festival in 2013 as part of Scottish Ballet’s Dance Odysseys, and is known for her brave and dramatic style from years working with the acclaimed William Forsythe while at Ballett Frankfurt. She is also a gifted storyteller and although having trained as a dancer, she spent many years working within theatre, most notably with International Festival regulars the Wooster Group. 

‘What we do with dance,’ says Pickett ‘is to amplify. Words often fail to tell how we feel, and movement can do that.’

Find out more about what drew Pickett to The Crucible in our blog.

Choreographer Helen Pickett in rehearsals for Scottish Ballet's The Crucible | Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
2. An American classic that is still relevant today

Regarded as one of the American classics, Arthur Miller’s tale of power and persecution whispers the home truths of today’s society. Based on the witch trials that took place in Salem in 1692, it tells the chilling story of a community destroyed by fear, hostility and hysteria but Miller actually wrote The Crucible in 1953 as an allegory for the anti-communist investigations in the USA at that time. 

From the 17th century Salem witch trials to the McCarthyism of the 1950s, and now the ‘fake news’ of today, The Crucible’s themes are still topical and just as relevant in the modern day, making it a significant and pertinent watch for any audience.

We get chills just from watching the trailer, take a look below.

3. Cira Robinson and Ballet Black

The International Festival performance of The Crucible will see Ballet Black’s Cira Robinson join Scottish Ballet to dance the role of Tituba. By creating a central black female character, the two companies aim to openly address the challenges of diverse representation in UK ballet (on and off stage), and particularly the lack of black British female ballet dancers. Bringing a breadth of experience, Cira has played a vital role in developing this rich and complex character.

Senior Guest Artist Cira Robinson in rehearsals for Scottish Ballet's The Crucible | Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
4. A haunting, live new score from Peter Salem

The relevantly named Peter Salem, the powerhouse behind Scottish Ballet's 2013 production of A Streetcar Named Desire which received international acclaim, winning the Sky Arts Dance award and an Olivier award nomination, is back to compose the piece. His TV credits also include Call the Midwife, Trial & Retribution and Francesco’s Venice. The original composition will be played live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra led by conductor Jean-Claude Picard.

Salem, alongside Helen Pickett, were the creative force behind the full-length ballet based on Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real at Atlanta Ballet in 2015, making the collaboration an unmissable fixture in your International Festival diary.

You can listen to some of Peter Salem's work in our dance playlist below.

5. The design

This production is a feast for the eyes, beautifully invoking time and place. Emma Kingsbury and David Finn - who design the costumes, lighting and set - have both previously collaborated with Pickett and Salem to create the new ballet based on Tennessee Williams' Camino Real for Atlanta Ballet in 2015 to rave reviews. 

With a set as detailed as Pickett's choreography, the team combine to unleash the full emotional force of Miller's masterpiece. Take a look for yourself...

Celebrating Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary season, The Crucible is part of their Five in Five campaign – an extraordinary pledge to commission and create five new full-length ballets over the next five years. Make sure you are one of the first to catch it. 


Scottish Ballet's world premiere production of The Crucible comes to the International Festival on 3-5 August 2019.

The Crucible | Photo: Nicola Selby

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