Go behind the scenes of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake and find out more about one of our most iconic pieces. 

Whether you're a teacher, student or just an avid fan, you'll find exclusive exclusive insights into the creation of the show.

Plot Synopsis

Discover the story of Swan Lake in a play-by-play breakdown of Acts One, Two, Three and Four on our plot synopsis. 

Find out how Matthew Bourne's take on this classic  Tchaikovsky ballet score looks like on stage and download our comparison sheet at the bottom of this page to see how our production compares to some other famous takes on Swan Lake. 


Swan Lake has many complex characters with their own motivations and hopes. 

Learn more about the Prince, the Swan/Stranger, the Queen, the Private Secretary, the Unsuitable Girlfriend and the Swans themselves. 

Key Themes

When Matthew Bourne premiered his version of Swan Lake in 1995 it caused quite a stir. Since its first airing audiences and reviewers have grown accustomed (and impassioned) by Matthew’s bold, contemporary adaptations to well-known classics. Yet back in 1995 the curtains were about to be raised on the largest and perhaps most daring of all of his interpretations and the very notion of replacing traditionally female roles with male ones, was ruffling a few feathers – if you’ll excuse the pun. Yet, it was also being greeted as a breath of fresh air and has since become perhaps the best-known, and loved, of all his works.  

Discover the key themes of this Matthew Bourne classic. 

The Creative Process

Explore the rehearsal process with Associate Artistic Director Etta Murfitt, and discover the design elements set designer Lez Brotherston and lighting designer Paule Constable. 

Did you know that Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake saw a refresh of the design elements in 2018, 23 years after it first premiered in 1995? 

Meet The Dancers

Meet the Swan Lake 2018 company dancers through a series of interviews. 

Discover the rehearsal process week on week through our dancer diaries, and meet some of the original cast from 1995, some long-standing company members returning to the production as well as dancers joining New Adventures for the first time for this production. 

Exercises & Resources

Delve deeper and discover how we create movement material and learn some of the repertoire of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake with our Exercises and Resources. 

Explore our other productions

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