A bold new ballet based on Oscar Wilde's classic tale

The Happy Prince


We’re very sorry to announce that due to venue closures as part of the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the scheduled performances of The Happy Prince in Melbourne and Sydney have been cancelled. 

If you hold a ticket, you will have received an email offering you a choice between donating your ticket, receiving a credit, or receiving a refund. See more information about the closures and ticket options here.

This is a situation of unprecedented difficulty for us at The Australian Ballet, as it is for all Australians. We’d like to thank the many generous patrons who have already offered to support the company through this challenging time by choosing to donate their ticket. We look forward to the time when the lights go on, the curtain goes up and we dance for you again.


“High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince…”

In Oscar Wilde's lyrical story, a prince who has lived a carefree life behind his palace walls becomes a magnificent golden statue. From his new vantage point he can see his subjects for the first time, and realises that his city is full of poverty and sadness. Awoken to compassion, he begs his friend the Swallow to take the gold and precious jewels from his statue, fly down into the city and give them to the poor. After a series of colourful adventures, the selfless Prince and the loyal Swallow end up with nothing, but eventually find bliss.

In 2020 Graeme Murphy, who created The Australian Ballet’s acclaimed modern interpretations of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, turns his flair for transformative storytelling to Wilde’s moving tale.

Murphy's distinctive choreographic style will animate the golden Prince, his sassy friend the Swallow and the seductive Reed – and will bring a particularly Aussie flavour to Wilde's happy ending.

This all-Australian premiere will feature a specially commissioned score from the renowned composer Christopher Gordon, who wrote the scores for the films Mao’s Last Dancer and Master and Commander, alongside the work of award-winning artist and director Kim Carpenter, who adapted the story and created the vibrant design for the ballet.

Playful and poignant, The Happy Prince will capture children’s imagination with its vivid spectacle and adults’ attention with its timely message: a kind heart shines brighter than gold.


Graeme Murphy’s new ballet is an imaginative feast for the eyes


Kim Carpenter's masterful designs vividly tell the story.

Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography by Jeff Busby


Based on the story by Oscar Wilde
Adapted by Kim Carpenter and Graeme Murphy
Choreography Graeme Murphy
Creative Associate Janet Vernon
Composer Christopher Gordon
Set and costume design Kim Carpenter
Lighting design Damien Cooper
Projection design Fabian Astore

With Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australian Orchestra

The Happy Prince is generously supported by The Robert and Elizabeth Albert Music Fund and The Dame Margaret Scott Fund for Choreographers.

We thank Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image for supporting the creation of The Happy Prince.

the dancers of The Australian Ballet are world class

The Courier Mail

The Happy Prince is a clever work that should delight both newcomers and longtime admirers of Murphy’s vividly theatrical choreography. There is lots to enjoy

The Brisbane Times

vivid and diverse world that captures the imagination and fires the senses


Gordon’s music registers as a sophisticated stream of consciousness that underscores character, mood and place

The Australian

The sets by Kim Carpenter are stunning and the music by Christopher Gordon was just beautiful. It was layered, textured, full of colour with all sorts of influences

The Courier Mail

Australia’s most brilliant choreographer ... we’ve always basked in the light he casts.

The Daily Telegraph


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