Published: Friday, 26th May 2017

Premiere of ballet held in honour of 50 years of twinning with Maribor in Slovenia.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich hosted the UK premiere of a globally acclaimed ballet 'Radio and Juliet' yesterday (25 May).

Radio and Juliet

Commissioned by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture, Slovene National Theatre Maribor's Radio and Juliet is a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set to music by Radiohead and choreographed by the internationally renowned artistic director Edward Clug. It has previously been performed in the United States, Canada, Italy, Australia, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Korea, Ukraine, Brazil, Serbia, Croatia and the Netherlands.

A delegation from Slovenia, who included His Excellency Mr Tadej Rupel and the Maribor Mayor Dr Andrej Fištravec, were welcomed to Woolwich by the new Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Peter Brooks and the Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland.

Students from across the borough and members of community and voluntary groups were invited to watch the ballet in Woolwich Town Hall. Aspiring performers from Millennium Performing Arts College also showcased solo and group dances which culminated in a group ensemble choreographed by two-time Olivier award winner Stephen Mear.

Earlier in the day the Slovenian delegation unveiled a special plaque at the new Maribor Park in the Royal Arsenal.

'Celebrate our enduring friendship'

Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland said: "We are all delighted to be joined by the Maribor delegation. This 50-year anniversary has provided an invaluable opportunity to celebrate our enduring friendship and share ideas for even closer collaboration in the future.

"We are very grateful to the Slovenian Ministry of Culture and Slovene National Theatre Maribor for commissioning this captivating production and bringing it to Woolwich. The Royal Borough is very proud of its cultural vibrancy and will soon be home to London's new creative district so it was very fitting to celebrate our twinning in this way and also enjoy a fantastic showcase by students from Millennium Performing Arts.

"Building relations with other cities including Maribor is more important than ever so we were pleased to further strengthen our links by inviting students and residents to watch the world-class ballet."

'Testament to the values of unity and friendship'

His Excellency Mr Tadej Rupel, the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia, said: "We are very honoured to celebrate the 50th anniversary since the second biggest Slovenian town Maribor and Greenwich were twinned, with the aim of promoting cultural ties and fostering friendship and understanding between people of our countries.

"While nowadays it sometimes feels that forces of division are becoming stronger, this celebration is a testament to the values of unity and friendship, as relevant today as they were half a century ago.

"And how better to celebrate than through culture - I greatly enjoyed the programme and performance by National Theatre Maribor, bringing us a remarkable ballet, an international production featuring performers from several countries."

Town twinning

The Royal Borough has a proud tradition of twinning with different communities from across the globe in the spirit of cultural exchange and cooperation. Royal Greenwich is twinned with Maribor in Slovenia, Reinickendorf in Germany and Tema in Ghana. The Royal Greenwich Town Twinning Association was set up in 1968, helping to maintain contacts and links with the twinned towns.