Moving ballet tells of boys’ relationship across barbed wire of Auschwitz

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The story of two nine-year-old boys who form an unlikely friendship across the barbed wire of Auschwitz is set to be transposed into dance in the first in a series of performances in Leeds.

Northern Ballet’s new production, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, will go before audiences at the city’s West Yorkshire Playhouse from September 5 to 9.

Previously only performed in Doncaster, this is the first opportunity for Yorkshire audiences to see the Leeds-based company’s new contemporary narrative ballet following its world premiere in May.

Adapted from John Boyne’s bestselling 2006 novel, this heart-breaking new show is the first full-length dance adaptation of the world-famous story, which was released as a movie in 2008.

Telling the story of an unlikely friendship blossoming through the disturbing events of the Second World War, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas sees a child’s innocent curiosity lead to a devastating conclusion.

The world-first dance adaptation is choreographed by Northern Ballet’s artistic associate Daniel de Andrade. It features an original score by Oscar-nominated composer Gary Yershon, sets and costumes designed by Mark Bailey and lighting by Tim Mitchell, with dramatic coach Patricia Doyle completing the creative team.

Mr de Andrade said: “I was challenged to develop new storytelling techniques which reflect the first-person perspective of the book without shying away from representing the stark reality of the story’s setting.

“I was very conscious of doing justice to the tension between darkness and innocence in the original, without sanitising the awful events at its heart.”

A champion for the cultural exports of the North, Northern Ballet is dedicated to bringing world-class story ballets to as many people and places as possible, under the leadership of artistic director David Nixon OBE.

The company of 45 dancers performs a combination of its full-length ballets and specially-created ballets for children at almost 50 venues annually.

Tickets for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas are on sale now and can be booked online at or by contacting the Box Office on 0113 213 7700.