Wayne McGregor's WOOLF WORKS Will Make North American Premiere at Segerstrom Center For The Arts

Performances run April 11 – April 14.

By: Aug. 24, 2023
Wayne McGregor's WOOLF WORKS Will Make North American Premiere at Segerstrom Center For The Arts

American Ballet Theatre presents the North American Premiere of Wayne McGregor's Woolf Works at Segerstrom Center for the Arts from April 11 to 14, 2024. Inspired by the writings of 20th century modernist author Virginia Woolf, Woolf Works marks American Ballet Theatre's first full-length production by McGregor, featuring a luminous original score by Max Richter. The creative team is completed by McGregor's longstanding collaborators lighting designer Lucy Carter, dramaturg Uzma Hameed, costume designer Moritz Junge, film designer Ravi Deepres, and architects Ciguë and We Not I on set design.

McGregor's multi-award-winning ballet triptych is inspired by three of Woolf's seminal novels –   Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and The Waves – along with her letters and diary entries and follows the writer's style in its unconventional structure and collision of ideas.

Renowned for his ground-breaking choreography and collaborations, McGregor mirrors Woolf's modernist rejection of neatly ordered narrative, in favor of heightened, startling perspectives. He presents each of the three parts as distinct, multi-sensory collages – “I now, I then,” “Becomings,” and “Tuesday” – bringing to life Woolf's world of “granite and rainbow” where human beings are at once both physical body and uncontained essence. For the final act, “Tuesday,” Gillian Anderson has recorded Virginia Woolf's haunting suicide note.

“Woolf Works is not a literal description of Woolf's writing,” says Wayne McGregor. “It's very lavish, with new visualization techniques and a collage structure; a full-on assault and collision of the senses. The idea was to choreograph and design the piece in the spirit of Woolf's writing, in an unfolding stream of consciousness, rather than as a literal translation of the novels' narratives.”

Woolf Works was created for The Royal Ballet in 2015 and was met with outstanding critical acclaim, going on to win McGregor the Critics' Circle Award for Best Classical Choreography and the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. 

For The Observer, “Woolf Works is a beauty – a ballet of ravishing feeling and radical intellectual intent... a compellingly moving experience;” The Independent said “glows with ambition... a brave, thoughtful work;” The Guardian concluded that “it takes both McGregor – and the concept of the three-act ballet – to a brave and entirely exhilarating new place.” 

Woolf Works is produced in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. This production was first seen at the Royal Opera House, London on May 11, 2015.
Photo Credit: Alessandra Ferri, artists of The Royal Ballet, in Wayne McGregor's Woolf Works ©ROH 2023
Asya Verzhbinsky.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre Partnership

Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre's presentation of Woolf Works continues the partnership between America's National Ballet Company and one of the nation's leading presenters of dance.

Since 2015, ABT has wowed Southern California audiences at Segerstrom Center with annual holiday engagements of The Nutcracker, totaling over 75 performances. In 1988, ABT gave the World Premiere of Mikhail Baryshnikov's Swan Lake at the Center, and in 1999, the ABT production of Le Corsaire was taped for broadcast on PBS' Dance in America. In 2008, ABT co- commissioned Twyla Tharp's Rabbit and Rogue with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which received its World Premiere in New York and its West Coast Premiere at the Center.

The Center additionally held the West Coast Premiere of former ABT Artistic Director Kevin Mckenzie's The Sleeping Beauty in 2007, as well as several ballets by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, including the World Premiere of a new production of Firebird in 2012, the West Coast Premiere of The Nutcracker in 2015, the World Premiere of Whipped Cream in 2017, the West Coast Premiere of Harlequinade in 2019, and the World Premiere and co- commissioned production Of Love and Rage in 2020.

In April 2021, the Center presented Uniting in Movement, a unique dance project that brought 18 ABT dancers together for safe collaboration and an exhilarating performance of new works by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette, and Darrell Grand Moultrie. In March 2022, ABT and the Center presented a mixed repertory program that included the World Premiere of Single Eye by Alonzo King to the music of Jason Moran, the West Coast Premiere of Ratmansky's Bernstein in a Bubble, and Jessica Lang's ZigZag, featuring songs recorded by Tony Bennett.

American Ballet Theatre is one of the greatest dance companies in the world. Revered as a national treasure since its founding season in 1940, its mission is to create, present, preserve, and extend the great repertoire of classical dancing for the widest possible audience. Headquartered in New York City, ABT is the only cultural institution of its size and stature to extensively tour, enchanting audiences for eight decades in 50 U.S. states, 45 countries, and over 480 cities worldwide. ABT's repertoire includes full-length classics from the nineteenth century, the finest works from the early twentieth century, and acclaimed contemporary masterpieces. In 2006, by an act of Congress, ABT was designated America's National Ballet Company. Find out more at ABT.org and follow ABT dancers at @abtofficial on Instagram, on Twitter at @ABTBallet, and on Facebook at @AmericanBalletTheatre.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an innovative, nonprofit arts organization committed to supporting artistic excellence, creating impactful educational programs, and dedicated to engaging a culturally connected, inclusive, and vital Orange County community for all, through the power of live performance. As the leading cultural arts hub, the Center presents a variety of programming with performances by international dance companies, Broadway national tours, jazz and cabaret musicians, chamber orchestras and ensembles, comedy, and speaker series. Through the Education and Community Engagement departments, the Center also delivers family-friendly programming and performances on the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza; these events include outdoor movie screenings, concerts, dance classes, diverse festivals, and more. With six venues on a beautiful multi-disciplinary campus, Segerstrom Center for the Arts proudly serves as the artistic home to three of the region's major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, and Pacific Chorale as well as two independently acclaimed organizations: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory and the Orange County Museum of Art. Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School and Studio D, Arts School for All Abilities.

Wayne McGregor's WOOLF WORKS Will Make North American Premiere at Segerstrom Center For The Arts


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