Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Notes from the World Premiere

We had promised you more Alice-related backstage goodies and here we are. While our guest tweeting of #AliceinTwitterland continues to make waves, we also wrote a full gala report that was published in the ROH blog earlier this week.

In addition, we have below exclusive video snippets from our chat with Royal Ballet principals Edward Watson, Steven McRae and Sergei Polunin where they share their thoughts and expectations about Christopher Wheeldon’s exciting new work for the Royal Ballet:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland starts with Alice’s mother hosting a tea party in her garden. One by one her guests arrive: Lewis Carroll, a magician, a Rajah, the Duchess. Each will later return as the absurd characters from Alice’s Wonderland. Steven McRae, who plays the “crazy” tapping Mad Hatter, tells us he’s “feeling excited and can’t wait to hear how the audience reacts.” He hopes the ballet gets “all the recognition it deserves”.

Steven McRae before his first performance as the Mad Hatter in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Photo: The Ballet Bag ©

Edward Watson is getting ready for “lots of costume changes”. He’s Lewis Carroll to start with and as the garden party unfolds he gradually morphs into the time-obsessed White Rabbit. We are promised lots of “fast solos”.

Ed Watson getting ready to appear as Lewis Carroll / White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Photo: The Ballet Bag ©

Ryoichi Hirano is looking forward to wearing his “huge wig” as a rooster in the Caucus Race. “On stage tonight it’s going to be so good, with lots of laughs”. He thinks Joby Talbot’s music “is absolutely fantastic”.

Ryoichi Hirano relaxing ahead of the premiere. Photo: The Ballet Bag ©

17:50 - We look in vain for leading lady Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice) but on our way out we bump into her character’s love interest, the Knave of Hearts. For Sergei Polunin a new ballet is “a lot of pressure but it’s so special having a role created on you”; as for dancing with Lauren “it’s just absolute joy and a lot of fun”.

Christopher Wheeldon, composer Joby Talbot and the Royal Ballet take a bow at the world premiere of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Photo: The Ballet Bag ©

(…) Read the full post in the Royal Opera House blog

Video Outtakes



Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland continues at the Royal Opera House until 15 March. For more information & booking visit the ROH website.

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).


  • RT @RoyalOperaHouse: Ahead of the return of Alice tonight, a look back at last year’s premiere with @TheBalletBag #AliceinTwitterland ^C

  • RT @RoyalOperaHouse: Ahead of the return of Alice tonight, a look back at last year’s premiere with @TheBalletBag #AliceinTwitterland ^C

  • Ahead of the return of Alice tonight, a look back at last year’s premiere with @TheBalletBag #AliceinTwitterland ^C

  • [...] this blog: we dropped by the Royal Opera House’s costume department to take some pictures. With Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland set to return to the stage in 2 weeks* , costumes are back from Toronto (the ballet is a [...]

  • July 11, 2011


    I heard its being released in the uk on dvd sometime in september… do you know if that includes the states??

  • [...] just that. In a short span of time, they are listed as Times’s current 100 Best Arts Tweeters and the first guest Tweeters for the Royal Opera House in [...]

  • [...] is perfectly cast as Giselle or as Alice, the role she created earlier this year in Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Lauren has a strong personality which also makes her ideal for edgy McGregor pieces or as the [...]

  • [...] 2012) – Wheeldon’s new story ballet returns next year. It is stylish, creative and full of visual impact. A [...]

  • March 8, 2011


    Sorry have not seen them anywhere, but there’s talk of the ballet being shown on TV at some point this year…

  • March 8, 2011


    does anybody have any video footage of the 4 Boys who played the Hedgehogs at the world premier of Alice? thanks

  • March 7, 2011


    Nice to have the video snippets, great coverage!

  • March 6, 2011

    José Mauricio Ferraz

    Lovely ballet and twitterland! Congratulations to ROH and bagladies