New Rambert production will ‘blur the line between reality and illusion’

Life is a Dream ,Credit: Johan Persson

Life is a Dream ,Credit: Johan Persson - Credit: Archant

Judy Foster chats to local dancer Hannah Rudd ahead of her performance in Life is a Dream at the Norwich Theatre Royal.

Hannah Rud in The Days Run Away Like Wild Horse at Norwich Theatre Royal in 2017 Credit: Elle Kurttz

Hannah Rud in The Days Run Away Like Wild Horse at Norwich Theatre Royal in 2017 Credit: Elle Kurttz - Credit: Archant

Leading contemporary dance company Rambert returns to Norwich on September 27 and 28 for the premiere of its lavish new production delving into the world of dreams.

A beautiful, contemporary interpretation of a 17th century classic play, Life is a Dream by renowned choreographer Kim Brandstrup is the first full-length narrative piece the company has presented in 38 years and it tells a story of alienation, vengeance, tenderness and redemption.

Dancing with Rambert will feature Hannah Rudd from Ipswich, who has been with the company since 2011.

What is Life is a Dream about?

Life is a Dream is a production by Kim Brandstrup - he is the choreographer and director of the work.

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The inspiration is from a Spanish play, Calderón.

Kim is very interesting in blurring the line between reality and illusion.

So for people who might not know anything about the play, it is about this young man who has been incarcerated since childhood and he is freed for one day.

Hannah Rudd

Hannah Rudd - Credit: Archant

Recognising what he has missed, he then is greedy and desperate for a sense of life but to the extreme of murdering someone or rape, all the senses and experiences he hasn't had.

He is then locked away again and made to believe that it was all a dream, so that when he does approach life again he has caution and he is more careful. I guess it's like these old tales about learning and discovering and everything that the human mind goes through.

Have you found it very demanding to dance?

It's not the most demanding piece I have ever done. The role I have been given is quite a gentle role in it character, but the whole production requires physicality, concentration and dedication.

It's visually very beautiful – can you describe what the audience can expect to see?

It's an extremely beautiful work.

Kim is interested in creating an atmosphere for the audience to experience and for us to experience.

Life is a Dream ,Credit: Johan Persson

Life is a Dream ,Credit: Johan Persson - Credit: Archant

It's a very dark piece and it's very shadowy and quite haunting visually.

There are lots of grey and blue costumes and some of the costumes are velvet so, with the light on them, it almost looks like water or the midnight sky.

You come from Ipswich - did you always want to be a dancer and how did you start out?

I think I always wanted to be a dancer. I was always dancing and always wanted to do more.

I started with the Co-op Juniors and then the Linda Shipton School of Dancing and adored my time there with them.

It was Linda Shipton who suggested I audition with the Royal Ballet School which was where I ended up going to train for seven years.

I was 11 when I went to the Royal Ballet School.

We had all the same academic lessons but with dancing as well.

How would you encourage young would-be dancers in East Anglia to pursue their dreams if they would like to get into dance?

I guess that depends which town or city you are in, but it is getting involved in whatever community classes are available and going to the theatre whenever you can to see if it excites you.

Rambert does workshops as well when we come into regional theatres.

For a young person it is about starting and exploring what it is you may be interested in, as well as maybe going into a class.

It is about getting involved in whatever is available when you can.

Rambert is at Norwich Theatre Royal on Thursday September 27 to Friday September 28 at 7.30pm with a 1.30pm matinee on Friday.

There is also a pre-performance talk on Friday at 6.30pm - tickets are free but must be booked in advance from the box office.

Tickets cost from £10 to £26 and can be booked online at or by the box office on 01603 630000.