The Australian Ballet has announced that Graeme Murphy’s new ballet The Happy Prince, based on Oscar Wilde’s famous novel, will premiere in Brisbane in February 2020.

Promotional image for The Happy Prince. Photograph © Justin Ridler

The ballet, which was to have been a centrepiece of the 2019 season, was originally scheduled to premiere in Melbourne in March and then move to Sydney in May. However, in January it was announced that the ballet had been delayed because of medical issues relating to Murphy. He has since recovered and has just directed a new production of Madama Butterfly for Opera Australia.

The Happy Prince will feature sets and costumes by Kim Carpenter, who has previously directed a play for children based on the story for his company Theatre of Image. The ballet will bring a modern twist to the classic work with some “great Murphyisms” as TAB Artistic Director David McAllister put it at the 2019 season launch, including a final scene on Bondi Beach. It will be performed to a specially commissioned score by Christopher Gordon, who wrote music for the films Mao’s Last Dancer, Ladies in Black, and Master and Commander.

“A lifetime ago Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince stimulated my childhood imagination”, said Murphy. “This magical story of love and sacrifice will, I hope, inspire and delight another generation of dance-lovers, be they children or adults.”

The Happy Prince will play in the Lyric Theatre, QPAC February 25 – 29, 2020