The Little Mermaid

Talbot Theatre, Thomas Dixon Centre

Talbot Theatre, Thomas Dixon Centre

#A charming My First Ballet experience.

A treasured tale of underwater wonders, perfect for families.

Discover Hans Christian Andersen’s most spellbinding fairytale of all in this charming retelling of The Little Mermaid.

Based on the original 1837 story – with a few magical twists and turns – this delightful family adventure follows the much-loved tale of a young mermaid who falls deeply in love with a human prince and faces an impossible decision: a life on land or in the sea.

Audiences of all ages will enjoy a parade of well-known and reimagined characters, including the wistful Little Mermaid, the captivating Prince, Mermaid Sisters, the wicked temptress Sea Witch, and two slick and slippery eels. The familiar storyline of shipwreck and rescues, spells and sacrifices, and the journey of falling in love, culminating in an ending guaranteed to delight even the youngest of viewers, is beautifully revealed in an underwater seascape.

With a parade of well-known and reimagined characters, and sublime music by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius as a nod to the original story’s Scandinavian heritage, this new family fairytale by acclaimed choreographer Paul Boyd will premiere at the stunningly redeveloped Thomas Dixon Centre.

Performance notes:

Production performed to recorded music.

This performance uses haze, smoke effects and flashing lights.

Parental guidance is recommended for audiences aged under 6 years old, who may find some characters, like the Sea Witch, a little bit scary.  

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Paul Boyd

Paul Boyd


Zoe Griffiths

Costume Designer

Ben Hughes

Ben Hughes

Lighting Designer

Josh McIntosh

Josh McIntosh

Set Designer

Sarah McIntosh


Jean Sibelius


Craig Wilkinson

Video Designer

A complimentary printed program is available at the performance. We encourage you to please take one between two. You can also download the program here.

By Paul Boyd after Hans Christian Andersen

The Spirit of the Sea observes the Little Mermaid in her underwater garden playing with her collection of treasures. The Little Mermaid is fascinated by a statue of a handsome Prince that is the centre piece of her garden, she longs to seek adventures above the waves with the human folk but her mermaid sister and merman friend explain that it is dangerous above the waves.

The Little Mermaid sees the shadow of a boat overhead and decides to follow it accompanied by the Spirit of the Sea. Upon her arrival above the waves, she sees a Prince in his boat and is immediately captivated by him.

A storm starts to take shape in the sky, the sea becomes rough, and a huge wave tosses the Prince into the deep waters. The Spirit of the Sea assists the Little Mermaid to save the drowning and injured Prince and she brings him to dry land in an unconscious state. The Little Mermaid kisses his forehead and for a moment he awakens. She spontaneously places her necklace around his neck but is suddenly startled and leaves his side only to return to the sea and the safety of her garden.

The Little Mermaid reminisces about meeting the Prince and is once again fascinated by the statue and yearns to be with the Prince who she had just rescued. In the background, two slippery, slimy, sinister eels are lurking around her garden.

The eels invite the Little Mermaid on a journey where she must seek help from the Sea Witch who will have the powers to assist and advise her with how to see her Prince again. And so, she sets out through the dark and gloomy depths of the sea, accompanied by the two eels who lead her to the cave of the Sea Witch.

The Sea Witch explains to the Little Mermaid that in order for her to get closer to the Prince she must forfeit her mermaid’s tail for human legs so that she can walk on land. This can be arranged but there is a price to pay, and the price is that the Little Mermaid sacrifices her voice for her land legs, a painful transformation and she will never be able to return to the sea again. Should the Prince want to kiss her, he has until sunset on the day she arrives otherwise the Little Mermaid’s voice will remain the property of the Sea Witch!

The Little Mermaid agrees to this and so the Sea Witch creates a potion which is given to her, but she can only drink it upon the dry land where she will be granted her land legs. The Little Mermaid bids farewell to her sister and the underwater life she has known and makes her way to dry land and drinks the potion, falling asleep.

The Prince in his castle garden, fascinated by the necklace, remembers the beautiful girl that gave it to him. The Little Mermaid awakens with the land legs that she so desired, but she has indeed sacrificed her voice and so she begins the uncomfortable experience of discovering how to walk. The Prince happens upon her and is fascinated by her yet confused that she has no voice.

He invites her to his garden in the castle, where they are greeted by the Prince’s two attendants. There is a majestic fountain and a statue of a man and his son so the Prince explains to the Little Mermaid that the man is his deceased father and the little boy is himself. She ponders, as the statue of the man looks very familiar.

Back under the sea, the Sea Witch through a magic crystal ball is watching the Little Mermaid’s every move and is observing the fascination that the Prince has for the Little Mermaid.

Raging with anger the Witch decides that the love that is developing between the Prince and Little Mermaid must stop and so with a magic potion transforms into the Temptress, a character to lure the Prince away from the Little Mermaid.

Back at the castle garden, the Prince bestows upon the Little Mermaid a regal dress, fit for a Princess, and together they dance falling more in love.

The Temptress and her two valets magically arrive at the castle garden to put the Prince under her spell so that he has a distraction and will not kiss the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid sees the Prince becoming more entranced by the Temptress but without her voice she cannot tell him that she is falling more in love with him.

The Prince, although enchanted by the Temptress, witnesses her and the two mischievous valets manipulating and taunting the Little Mermaid and confronts her about her actions and insists that she leave the castle at once. The Temptress is sent into a rage and; suddenly in a whirlwind of fury, turns back into the Sea Witch after witnessing the Prince kiss the Little Mermaid. The plan is destroyed, and the Sea Witch and the two eels dissolve into oblivion.

After having been kissed by the Prince, the Little Mermaid discovers that her voice has returned. The Prince returns the necklace that she gave him on the beach and he swears of his devotion to her. A celebration is danced by the Prince and his new found love along with his attendants in the garden.

Download a relaxed performance guide for The Little Mermaid here

The Little Mermaid rehearsal, Tom Umseher & Alisa Pukkinen, Jakob Perrett

The Little Mermaid costumes, Angharad Gladding

The Little Mermaid rehearsal, Indi Drew & Joseph Moss, Angharad Gladding

The Little Mermaid set box, Angharad Gladding

The Little Mermaid costumes, Angharad Gladding

The Little Mermaid set box, Angharad Gladding

The Little Mermaid rehearsal, Joseph Moss & Hana Nonaka Aillon, Angharad Gladding

The Little Mermaid set box, Angharad Gladding

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. Long before we performed on this land, it played host to the dance expression of our First Peoples. We pay our respects to their Elders — past, present and emerging — and acknowledge the valuable contribution they have made and continue to make to the cultural landscape of this country.

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