Royal New Zealand Ballet launches live streaming of performances


The Royal New Zealand Ballet will offer free broadcasts of recent performances via Facebook Premiere, starting tonight.

First up will be the ballet company’s acclaimed production of Hansel & Gretel, which toured the country before Christmas, 2019.

The performance to be broadcast was filmed live onstage at the Opera House in Wellington, in November.

This performance of Hansel & Gretel stars Kirby Selchow and Shaun James Kelly in the title roles, Katharine Precourt as The Ice Cream Witch and Paul Mathews as her monstrous alter ego, The Witch Transformed.

Nadia Yanowsky and Joseph Skelton play Hansel and Gretel’s loving but impoverished parents, Nathan Mennis portrays the otherworldly Sand Man and Allister Madin and Mayu Tanigaito dazzle as the King and Queen of the Dew Fairies.

Orchestra Wellington are in the pit, under the baton of conductor Hamish McKeich.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Hansel & Gretel was choreographed by Loughlan Prior, with an original score by Claire Cowan, designs by Kate Hawley, lighting by Jon Buswell and visual effects by POW Studios.

The production will be broadcast three times over the weekend to enable audiences of all ages to enjoy performances: Friday, April 3, at 7.30pm; Saturday, April 4, at 1.30pm; and Sunday, April 5, at 10.30am.

The performance lasts one hour and 45 minutes, plus a brief interval between the two acts to make a cup of coffee and grab a slice of gingerbread.

“Last year, audiences around New Zealand fell in love with our zany production of Hansel & Gretel,” RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker said.

“Being faced with so much uncertainty as we are glued to our televisions for any good news, we at the RNZB thought we could all use a little extra sweetness and pick-me-up.

“We are so pleased to be able to share this special ballet, 100% made in New Zealand, with audiences again.”

RNZB executive director Lester McGrath said people did not have to have a Facebook account to enjoy the broadcasts.

“We encourage anyone and everyone with internet access to make the most of this great opportunity to connect with their national ballet company.”

Full details, including broadcast times and links, can be found at

  • Alongside full productions, RNZB Education is putting together digital resources for people of all ages staying at home. The company’s NCEA resources are available online, while the ballet masters and dance educators are developing online classes and workshops, including dance moves and exercises which can be done sitting down. Keep an eye on and social media for news and links.