Birmingham Royal Ballet performs Swan Lake as part of the Virginia Arts Festival this weekend, Friday 7-Sunday 9 May. The Company arrived in Virginia this week, allowing a few days to shake off their jet-lag and prepare the production.

Lighting Director Johnny Westall-Eyre wrote us a few words about what they’ve been up to so far:

Greetings from the US of A. The Birmingham Royal Ballet tour here is going really well, we have started the fit up and everything is going swimmingly. Most of the crew guys are familiar to us from our last visit and there was a lot of big back slapping hugs when we all met up again.

It is a lovely space which is well looked after and makes our fit up go as well as we could hope. The weather is unseasonably hot, we had temperatures of 88*F on Saturday, 91* F on Sunday with high humidity but today the sky is a little cloudy as the storm brews. Shirt sleeves for everyone as it is only dropping to 70* at night!

The dancers have arrived now and the wardrobe staff have just started work at the theatre. Nearly everyone is waking at between 04:00 and 06:00 due to the 5 hour time difference but most people are OK after the flight. We have had some beautiful sunsets and I have attached a pic of the USS Wisconsin which is one of the sights of Norfolk. It’s at the end of one of the main streets here in town, as if somebody just parked it there by accident.

One of the first things we did on Saturday was take a stroll down the – usually – quiet main street where we stumbled across a NATO parade, part of the VAF, complete with floats from Lithuania, Norway (a Viking boat), Italy (Ferraris) Sweden, Romania etc and finished up with the UK entry, an open top red London bus and a pipe and drum band playing ‘Flower of Scotland’! The US had 6 ‘sheriffs’ riding piebald horses and some fantastic marching majorettes.

Will write again when we actually do some Ballet!


Johnny Westall-Eyre.