Classic story told as a ballet

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Gavin McCaig is from Motherwell, and trained at The Dance School of Scotland for four yearsbefore receiving a scholarship to study at English National Ballet School.

He joined Northern Ballet in 2014 and is currently touring with them, playing the role of Tortoise in the children’s classic tale, Tortoise and the Hare.

Here, Gavin tells us about the ballet which is coming to Mansfield Palace Theatre next month.

Have you danced in a children’s ballet before?

Yes, I danced in our production of Elves and the Shoemaker which I toured with last season. I also played the Clog Man in the BBC version which aired on CBeebies.

What is the character like?

The character of the Tortoise is an interesting one. He has this all-knowing aura about him, yet is humble, kind, wise and reliable. I like to think he is everything you’d want to find in a tortoise if he could meet you and have a catch-up!

How do you get into character?

Truth be told, I try and feel really sleepy and I usually lie down on my shell backstage for a while. In my first scene I have just woken up after a long sleep, so it helps to have been rested. It is quite a challenge to move so slowly and with such stiffness throughout the show when I have trained all my life not to be!

What is your favourite part of playing the Tortoise?

When I hear the audience laugh! It is so fulfilling to know the kids and the rest of the audience are enjoying the show.

Why do you think it is important to introduce young children and their families to the world of ballet and theatre?

Ballet and theatre is a magical world. To expose children to the arts captivates their imagination and encourages engagement on so many levels.

It’s also a great family day out, and the kids are sure to love what they are seeing on stage.

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