Woolf Works

Woolf Works

The Royal Ballet

95 minutes

Direction, Choreography and Design
Wayne McGregor

Max Richter

Set Design
Ciguë, We Not I

Lighting Design
Lucy Carter

Costume Design
Moritz Junge

Film Design
Ravi Deepres

Uzma Hameed

Make-up Artist

Premiere date and venue
11 May 2015, Royal Opera House, London, UK


The Guardian

Virginia Woolf defied the false order of narrative conventions to depict a heightened, startling and poignant reality. re-creates the synesthetic collision of form and substance in her writings.

'Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end… the proper stuff of fiction is a little other than custom would have us believe it,' says Woolf in Modern Fiction.

For this production Wayne McGregor enmeshed themes from three of Woolf's landmark novels, Mrs DallowayOrlando, and The Waves, with elements of her letters, essays and diaries.

Woolf Works expresses the heart of an artistic life driven to discover a freer, uniquely modern realism, and brings to life Woolf's world of 'granite and rainbow' where human beings are at once both physical body and uncontained essence.


Evening Standard

This is Wayne McGregor's first full-length production for The Royal Ballet. It sees him reunited with acclaimed British composer Max Richter, Infra and SUM, who creates a specially commissioned score incorporating electronic and live music.

Featured above is one of several film sequences created for Woolf Works by artist Ravi Deepres. The film was shot at Godrevy lighthouse, one of the locations Woolf visited frequently, and created with the intention of capturing her use and absorption of the power of nature and shifting time.The sequence was shot using a Phantom Gold camera which begins as a virtually static photographic image then gradually builds up into a raging torrent, lasting over 25mins, a duration rarely used with this kind of technology.

'…in the depth and the scope of its ambitions, and in its haunting meditations on memory, madness and time, it takes both McGregor – and the concept of the three-act ballet – to a brave and entirely exhilarating new place' The Guardian

Woolf Works won Best New Dance Production at the Olivier Awards, with Ferri the recipient of the award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. Woolf Works is also the winner of two National Dance Awards - Wayne McGregor was awarded Best Classical Choreography, and Alessandra Ferri won Best Female Dancer for her performance. 

The first revival of Woolf Works will take place at the Royal Opera House from 21 January 2017. Further information can be found here.

Images by Tristram Kenton © ROH.

Film by Ravi Deepres, Composer Max Richter

Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli rehearse Woolf Works with Wayne McGregor

Wayne McGregor, Dramaturg Uzma Hameed and Royal Ballet dancers Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli discuss Woolf Works with writer Bonnie Greer

Trailer for the first revival of Woolf Works at the Royal Opera House, 2017