Celebrating the 300th anniversary of the first ballet by John Weaver.
Book tickets online in advance £16 or £18 on the door. 8pm.
This event is free of charge for Fitzwilliam College students - please add your name to the list here>>.
The event is half price for students of other colleges - please purchase your ticket on the door.
The Weaver Dance Company presents The Loves of Mars & Venus or Mr Weaver’s Dramatick Entertainment, celebrating the tercentenary of the birth of modern ballet, performed at Drury Lane Theatre in 1717.
300 years ago, an experimental piece called The Loves of Mars & Venus created history. First performed on the stage of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the 2nd March 1717, the Loves of Mars & Venus was devised by the English dancer and choreographer, John Weaver and featured the first English ballerina Hester Santlow as Venus. Not very many people realise that ballet, telling a story with dance alone, began in London, not in Paris or Moscow; Weaver’s historic inspiration to combine narrative and gesture with French dance was to change the future of dance. He used the sexy, crowd-pleasing English stage star Hester Santlow and paired her with the suave and elegant French dancer Monsieur Dupré to fashion a new experience of dance for his public.
Based on Weaver’s own libretto, this play brings together baroque music and dance with words to tell the story of John Weaver’s heroic struggle to create a proper dance drama in a theatre world which saw dance as a frivolous side show. The magic and excitement of early eighteenth century theatre is evoked by an actor portraying Weaver and his stage character Vulcan, with baroque dancers playing Venus and Mars using original eighteenth century choreographies with additional choreography by Gilles Poirier.
The script is by Stephen Wyatt, who has written for Dr Who, Casualty, Radio 4’s Afternoon Theatre, the Woman’s Hour serial and Radio 3. The musical score has been recreated by Evelyn Nallen from scores which would have been heard on the London stage from 1700 with music by Lully, Purcell, Croft, Paisible, Eccles and Jeremiah Clark. It will be performed by the on-stage ensemble of lute, recorder and baroque cello. Beautiful costumes, appropriate to the period, have been designed by Chris de Wilde and the production is being directed by Jenny Miller.
Project Ambassador Darcey Bussell said: " I am proud to be the ambassador to The Loves of Mars & Venus project. A successful staging of this piece, scheduled for March 2nd 2017, exactly on its 300th anniversary, is important. Not only will it afford the ballet public the opportunity to see this earliest of ballets, originally staged in Drury Lane by Englishman John Weaver, but it will send archivists scurrying to try and work out if this was indeed the very first ballet ever staged!"