There is an atmosphere of excitement and expectancy as the drawing room of the Stahlbaum's house is prepared for their Christmas party. Soon their guests will begin to arrive and will be welcomed enthusiastically by the Stahlbaums and their children, Clara and Fritz. The entrance of the final guest, the mysterious Dr Droselmeyer, takes everyone by surprise. He brings with him a strange atmosphere of fantasy and illusion and holds his audiences spellbound with his extraordinary Christmas presents, life-size dolls that seem almost human.
Clara is given a magnificent Nutcracker whilst Fritz is given a drum. Fritz, jealous of the Nutcracker doll, snatches it and plays silly games with the other boys, the Nutcracker is broken and Clara is upset. Drosselmeyer fixes the doll with a handkerchief and a small make-shift bed is provided under the Christmas tree for the Nutcracker. At the end of the party Clara’s checks on her Nutcracker, falling asleep under the Christmas tree with him in her arms.
Clara is woken at the stroke of midnight with rats and mice running across the floor and the new dolls fighting them. The house, the tree and the toys seem to be getting larger. Is she shrinking? A rat army lead by the Rat King, is attacking the dolls.
The Nutcracker organizes the soldier toys and fights the rat army. The Rat King manages to trap the Nutcracker in a corner and although she is afraid Clara is determined to defend her beloved Nutcracker and throws her slipper at him. She hits the Rat King and The Nutcracker is able to overcome the stunned Rat King and claim victory. The rat army quickly carries away their King.
The Nutcracker is transformed into a human prince (who looks strikingly similar to Drosselmeyer’s nephew). Wide eyed Clara is taken on an amazing journey through a magical snowy forest until they come to their destination in the Land of Sweets.
On their arrival, they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy who listens as they re-enact the night’s events. The Sugar Plum Fairy is so impressed with Clara’s bravery and the Nutcracker’s heroism that she takes them into the Candy Castle and holds a lavish festival in their honour. Clara tells the Nutcracker she wishes the adventure would never end and he tells her it won’t for those who have an eye to see it.
Clara wakes up the next morning under the Christmas tree with her Nutcracker still in her arms.
Sugar Plum Fairy - Simone was born in Leeds and received her early ballet training at the Royal Ballet School. She then joined Birmingham Royal Ballet and transferred to English NAtional Ballet in 1998.
She was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2000 and to Principal Dancer in 2004. Among the numerous productions she has danced her favourite roles are Juliet in Kenneth Macmillan's'Romeo and Juliet' Aurora in 'The Sleeping Beauty' and the title role in 'Cinderella'. Among other achievements Simone won the prestigious Paul Clarke Award for ballet excellence as a student in 1987. She considers that one of the highlights of her career was her guest appearance in Chinain 2000 as Odette/Odile in 'Swan Lake'. Simone was partnered by her husband, Yat-Sen Chang.
The Nutcracker Prince (for the Pas de Deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy) - Yat-Sen was born in Cuba where he attended the Cuba National Ballet School. He joined the National Ballet of Cuba in 1989 and transferred to the Jeune Ballet de France in 1992.
In 1999 he joined English National Ballet as a principal dancer and, in the intevening years, became one of the mainstays of the Company. His favourite roles include The Chosen One in 'The Rite of Spring' and Gopak in 'The Nutcracker'. Among his awards Yat-Sen was named Best Partner at Varna Bulgaria in 1990 and he also won the Gold Medal in the Peru festival of Ballet. Yat-Sen is married to Simone Clarke.
Dr Drosselmeyer - David was born in Redruth and trained at Bedford College and London Contemporary Dance School at The Place. He has worked in opera with the director David McVicar.
David has enjoyed playing Puck in ''A Midsummer Nights Dream at La Monnaie de Munt, Brussels: performing as an aerialist, dancer and actor in 'Idiomeneo' with Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp; '>The Magic Flute''La Boheme' at Glynebourne Opera, appearing as a stilt performer and actor, and performing as an actor and dancer in 'Alcina' for English National Opera. He has also performed in a wide variety of corporate theatre and similar productions, including events at The Eden Project.
Snow Queen - Kathryn began her dancing career at the age of 2 and a half at a local dance school in Warrington. At the age of 11, she won a place at the Royal Ballet Summer School and then became an Associate at Northern Ballet School in Manchester. She was then offered a place on the Classical Ballet Course for 3 years and graduated with the Dancers Diploma and was presented with the Classical Ballet Award.
Kathryn has performed with the European Ballet Company and Vienna Festival Ballet as a soloist in ballets such as 'Swan Lake', 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Cinderella' and 'Coppelia'. She has worked in 'Amar Amalia' a touring musical in Portugal, Warner Bros Movie World, Germany, Davenport's Christmas Wonder Show and various other cabaret shows. She spent over 2 years on the Black Prince Cruise Ship where she became head dancer.
Kathryn is a qualified Ballet teacher and has taught at various dance and theatre schools in the North West. Since moving to Cornwall, she has taught at Bounce Dance Academy, Dance College of Cornwall and Capitol School of Dance. Kathryn is delighted to be a Guest Artist with the Duchy Ballet and has enjoyed her role as Ballet Mistress