“These violent delights have violent ends …” — William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet


In the history of dance, there are only a handful of productions that translate Shakespeare’s story of tragic love into compelling ballet form. John Cranko’s majestic version is one of them. His Romeo and Juliet premiered in 1962, the year The Australian Ballet was founded, and generations of our dancers have grown up with the production and gone on to shine in its many dream roles.

An artist who effortlessly fused dance and drama, Cranko richly evokes the grandeur of the Capulets’ ball, the fierce clashes of the rival families and the brief, luminous flare of young love. His choreography seems to flow spontaneously out of Sergei Prokofiev’s score, which has proven itself as immortal as Shakespeare’s play. As clearly as words could, the music lays out the progress of the story, evoking swordplay, ecstasy, murder and the looming approach of the lovers’ fate.

Jürgen Rose’s dramatically resonant design captures the pageantry of medieval Verona, contrasting the heavy splendour of the aristocratic elder generation with the billowing fabrics of the young lovers’ carefree abandon.

Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet binds artists and audiences in a profound emotional experience that will linger long after the curtain falls.

David's insight:
“As an audience member, the most touching aspect of Romeo and Juliet is the unfolding of the story in front of your very eyes. I have danced performances of Romeo where the audience was with us in every scene; they become a part of the ballet. I lost myself through expressions of love, elation, vengeance and ultimately death; and the audience left the performance as heartbroken as the characters on stage.”

Live Stream: 18 October 2022

If you think you’ve seen Romeo And Juliet, think again. This is a revelation

Daily Express

The pageantry of Verona, the clash of murderous hate and passionate love. 

Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography by Jeff Busby


Choreography John Cranko
Guest Repetiteur and Stager Yseult Lendvai
Guest Repetiteur Mark Kay
Music Sergei Prokofiev
Costume and set design Jürgen Rose
Lighting design Jon Buswell

With Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Orchestra

Romeo and Juliet is generously supported by The Arthur and Roma Norcott Fund & The Maina Gielgud Fund.

Direct from Arts Centre Melbourne to your home

Stream Romeo and Juliet LIVE on Ballet TV



  • Production Partner
  • Production Partner