Magical tale of sorceror Merlin will be performed at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre by Northern Ballet

A spellbinding adventure of heartache, hope and magic will light up the stage in Sheffield.

Saturday, 30th October 2021, 5:30 am
Javier Torres in Northern Ballet's production of Merlin at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre. (photo by Emma Kauldhar).
Javier Torres in Northern Ballet's production of Merlin at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre. (photo by Emma Kauldhar).

Northern Ballet’s Merlin is one of the first productions created during the pandemic to visit theatres across the country.

The ballet, which will tour to Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from November 2 to 6, 2021, explores Merlin’s teenage impulses and his quest for acceptance, set against a backdrop of conflict and divide.

Merlin sees the young and inexperienced sorcerer master his magic to unite a warring kingdom. Drawing on well-known characters from Arthurian legend including Morgan le Fae and the Lady of the Lake, the original story is brought to life with illusions and magic by Chris Fisher, International Illusions & Magic Associate for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child.

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Merlin is 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 said: “In my production of Merlin I would say the main themes are acceptance, belonging and perhaps surprisingly, a study of what is family.

"I hope that people will leave the theatre with a sense that perhaps what makes you different may ultimately be the thing that makes you powerful. It’s a celebration of all those people who feel different and ultimately it is an epic adventure of the heart. A wild adventure to realise that your desired destination is home.

"For me as a storyteller, the thrilling thing about Northern Ballet is their passion for acting as well as the dancing. Their technique is extraordinary but it is used to support and deliver great performances. The audience is very important to them and every moment on stage is used to connect with them.”

Matthew Koon in Merlin (photo: Guy Farrow).

Tickets are priced from £10; go to