This autumn, Northern Ballet’s Merlin – an epic adventure of heartache, hope and spellbinding magic – will take to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre.  The production will open in Leeds from 9 – 20 November and will be one of the first new works created during the pandemic to visit theatres across the country.

Created by the British choreographer Drew McOnie, Merlin sees the young and inexperienced sorcerer master his magic to unite a warring kingdom. The ballet explores Merlin’s teenage impulses and his quest for acceptance, set against a backdrop of conflict and divide.

Drawing on well-known characters from Arthurian legend including Morgan le Fae and the Lady of the Lake, the original story will be brought to life with illusions and magic by Chris Fisher, International Illusions & Magic Associate for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child. Chris will work closely with Northern Ballet’s dancers, applying the discipline of ballet to mastering magic complemented by Colin Richmond’s ingenious set and costume designs.

Merlin will be the first full-length ballet created by Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie, whose recent work includes the acclaimed Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, King Kong on Broadway and Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom in the West End. Its story is a personal one, inspired by McOnie’s experiences of feeling different growing up and, more recently, examining what it could mean to be a parent in a non-nuclear family. It’s a story about how one’s otherness may in fact turn out to be their magic.

Drew McOnie said: “I am so thrilled to have created Merlin for Northern Ballet. New work is so vital, and I am so pleased that Merlin will be part of that wave of original productions, welcoming audiences back to the theatre; an adventure that I know has been sorely missed.”

 Tickets for Merlin at Leeds Grand Theatre are available now at or by calling the Box Office on 0113 243 0808.

Picture by Guy Farr0w

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