The Bourne supremacy
When a dance company celebrates 25 years at the top of its game under the leadership of one man, how can you not refer to it as The Bourne Supremacy? Matthew Bourne's New Adventures has wowed audiences worldwide and picked up countless awards and accolades along the way with productions ranging from reimagined classics to sexy, contemporary works.
His Swan Lake hit the headlines with its all-male corps de ballet and was featured in the smash hit Billy Elliot; The Car Man was an undeniably erotic version of Carmen set in a 1950s US diner; Edward Scissorhands was based on the popular Johnny Depp film.
Along the way there's also been the likes of The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Play Without Words and Dorian Gray.
Now, for the company's 25th birthday, he's turned his hand to reworking Sleeping Beauty, which tours the nation and arrives at Curve from April 9 to 13.
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"It certainly doesn't feel like 25 years; we started so small and weren't very well-known at the start, but Swan Lake was 18 years ago so I suppose it is an achievement," Matthew admits.
"I guess the secret, if there is one, is that people want to see us and buy tickets.
"Ultimately, that is what keeps us going and if there were no demand we would fail. We're not a nationally-funded company, we get a bit of help for tours but we're not Birmingham Royal Ballet or Northern Ballet
"If we didn't do well at the box office, we wouldn't still be here. That's down to the quality and regularity of our touring, and Sleeping Beauty is our most successful yet!"
The classic fairytale has been turned into a Gothic romance – so think of the traditional good versus evil with a touch of Twilight – vampires and fairies.
It's Bourne's third Tchaikovsky ballet but though he admits it was "inevitable" he would do Sleeping Beauty, creative inspiration was a long time coming.
"For a long time I just couldn't think of something interesting to do with it, but the music was written in 1890 which was the height of gothic literature, Dracula and vampires, and I also wanted there to be a believable love story.
"I always found it odd that she doesn't meet her prince until this man wakes her up after her sleep, but I did like the idea of her childhood sweetheart trying to find a way to be there when she wakes up after a cursed sleep of 100 years.
"So a vampiric fairy and the gift of eternal life made sense so he could still be around 100 years later."
Having a timeshift of 100 years allowed for a lot of scope in terms of set and costume design, as well as a change in style of choreography.
"We try to reflect the period in the movement, so we have traditional ballet to start with, but 100 years later we're up to the present day which gives you incredible versatility from a dance point of view, although we have ended up with a massive budget for costumes and wigs.
"At the interval we've heard people commenting that it's more traditional than they expect from us, but after the interval they see more of what they might have expected. There is something for everyone!"
The show will be heading to New York and Los Angeles after its UK tour and is due to be filmed live, and while Swan Lake is being revived later this year, Matthew still has productions of Mary Poppins and Oliver! in performance.
In the meantime, the choreographer spends his time catching up on old films and books.
"I've realised there are a lot of old classics I've never seen, so I've been watching films like Casablanca."
Does that mean the Bogart classic is due for a dance production?
"You never know what's going to inspire you – it takes about three years to develop a new piece, but I do have a lot of affection for films," he says. Watch this space!
Sleeping Beauty is at Curve from April 9 to 13. Details on 0116 242 3595, or at: