The in-demand choreographer comes to Brisbane as Artistic Associate in addition to his role at London’s Royal Ballet.

In something of a coup for Queensland Ballet, Artistic Director Li Cunxin has announced that sought-after British choreographer Liam Scarlett is joining the Company next year as Artistic Associate. He will also continue in his current role as Artist in Residence at The Royal Ballet in London.

Liam Scarlett working with members of Queensland Ballet. Photo by Eduardo Vieira

Earlier this year, Scarlett created a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Queensland Ballet, which Cunxin says was “a runaway success with Brisbane audiences”, adding “and we’ve been working on a plan to have him back here ever since.”

In a 4.5-star review, Limelight said of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that Scarlett “revives a timeless story into a light and humorous adventure that will leave audiences transfixed.” The Australian review described it as “a delectable ballet – one that’s genuinely funny, frequently touching and outstandingly sensual in its movement and visual appeal.”

“Liam is an extraordinary choreographer whose musicality and creativity has been lauded throughout the ballet world since he started creating ballets for The Royal Ballet,” says Cunxin. “He is an original thinker, a wonderful collaborator, an innovator and a storyteller who creates incredible ballets that transport the audience to other worlds. He’s in such demand throughout the world for his ballet creations so it’s a huge coup for us to have Liam as an Artistic Associate. This position will mean he’ll create new works on the Company and we’ll also perform some of his existing productions over the coming years.”

Scarlett, now 30, says that he is thrilled to be joining QB. “I really felt a special connection with Li and his dancers during Dream and that’s one of the reasons I’ve taken on this role as Artistic Associate,” he says.

“This is a ballet company with world-class dancers, big ambitions, a commitment to excellence and a desire to push the boundaries and that’s an exciting creative environment to work in. I’m humbled by the Company’s belief in my work and am looking forward to many new creative moments with the Queensland ballet dancers and team.”

Liam Scarlett working with members of Queensland Ballet. Photo by Eduardo Vieira

Scarlett trained at The Royal Ballet School and went on to dance with The Royal Ballet, retiring in 2013 to focus on choreography. Soon afterwards, he was appointed as The Royal Ballet’s first Artist in Residence. The youngest choreographer to be commissioned by The Royal Ballet, he has had a rapid rise.

His numerous works for The Royal Ballet include Asphodel Meadows, The Age of Anxiety, inspired by William Auden’s poem, a dark Hansel and Gretel, Sweet Violets, inspired by painter Walter Sickert’s obsessions with Jack the Ripper, and the full-length Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel, which premiered earlier this year and will be performed by San Francisco Ballet in 2017. He has also created ballets for English National Ballet, New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Queensland Ballet.

Scarlett returns to Brisbane in March next year for the Company’s triple bill Raw, which will include his acclaimed ballet No Man’s Land, created in 2014 for English National Ballet. In May, The Royal Ballet will perform a new work of his as part of a mixed programme.