Great Performances: The Red Shoes

Air date: 09/17/2021

Great Performances Presents Matthew Bourne’s Two-Time Olivier Award-Winning Production of The Red Shoes September 17 on PBS

Features Tony-nominated actor and dancer Adam Cooper

From Tony Award-winning choreographer and director Matthew Bourne and British dance company New Adventures, Great Performances: The Red Shoes is a stage adaptation of the classic 1948 feature film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Recorded at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 2020, the ballet  recounts Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Victoria Page (Ashley Shaw) lives to dance, but her ambitions create a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion: composer Julian Craster (Dominic North) and impresario Boris Lermontov (Adam Cooper). The production also features Michela Meazza as Irina Boronskaya, Liam Mower as Ivan Boleslawsky and Glenn Graham as Grischa Ljubov. Set to the music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann, Great Performances: The Red Shoes is orchestrated by Terry Davies and performed by the New Adventures Orchestra with set and costumes by Tony-winning designer Lez Brotherson and lighting by Tony winner Paule Constable. Great Performances: The Red Shoes premieres nationwide Friday, September 17 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.


Notable Talent:

  • Ashley Shaw
  • Dominic North
  • Adam Cooper
  • Michela Meazza
  • Liam Mower
  • Glenn Graham
  • Lez Brotherson
  • Paule Constable


Noteworthy Facts:

  • Great Performances: The Red Shoes is the third collaboration between Adam Cooper and Matthew Bourne. Cooper returns to the company in his role as Lermontov after more than 20 years, having first worked with Bourne in 1995 to create the role of The Swan in “Swan Lake.”
  • The Red Shoes earned two Olivier Awards for Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Entertainment and Family
  • For her role as Victoria Page, Ashley Shaw earned The Hospital Club’s h.100 award for Theatre and Performance 2017 in the U.K.
  • As a principal dancer with New Adventures since 2010, Ashley Shaw most recently performed in the title role of Matthew Bourne’s “Cinderella” in the U.K., China, Japan and America.
  • This is the third Matthew Bourne production presented on Great Performances following Swan Lake in 1998 and Sleeping Beauty in 2014.


Short Listing:
Experience this dark fairytale from Matthew Bourne with this Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation.


Long Listing:
Experience Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairytale from acclaimed director-choreographer Matthew Bourne with this Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation starring Ashley Shaw, Adam Cooper, Dominic North and Michaela Meazza.


Series Overview:
Throughout its nearly 50-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Showcasing a diverse range of artists from around the world, the series has earned 67 Emmy Awards and six Peabody Awards. Peek behind the curtain at the Great Performances website for exclusive videos, interviews, photos, full episodes and more. The series is produced by The WNET Group. Great Performances is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.


Production Credits:
An Illuminations/New Adventures production for BBC in association with The WNET Group. The Red Shoes was directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne based on the film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon and produced by Lucie Conrad; John Wyver is Executive Producer. For Great Performances: Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer and David Horn is Executive Producer.


Support for Great Performances: The Red Shoes was provided by The Lewis “Sonny” Turner Fund for Dance. Series funding for Great Performances was also made possible by The Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Jody and John Arnhold, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, the Abra Prentice Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, The Starr Foundation, the Seton J. Melvin Charitable Trust, the Estate of Worthington Mayo-Smith and Ellen and James S. Marcus.


Websites:,, @GPerfPBS,, #GreatPerformancesPBS

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Boris Lermontov (Adam Cooper) and Victoria Page (Ashley Shaw). Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Company of “The Red Shoes.” Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Victoria Page (Ashley Shaw). Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Company of “The Red Shoes.” Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Julian Craster (Dominic North). Photo Credit: Johan Persson

Victoria Page (Ashley Shaw). Photo Credit: Johan Persson