Support America’s National Ballet Company® DONATE NOW


Woolf Works

Repertory Archive

Woolf Works

Concept, Direction, and Choreography by Wayne McGregor
Music by Max Richter
Design by Ciguë ("I now, I then"), We Not I (“Becomings”), and Wayne McGregor (“Tuesday”)
Costume Design by Moritz Junge
Lighting Design by Lucy Carter
Film Design by Ravi Deepres
Make-Up Design by Kabuki
Dramaturg: Uzma Hameed
Sound Associate: Chris Ekers
Associate Lighting Designer: Simon Bennison
Staged by Amanda Eyles, Mikaela Polley, and Antoine Vereecken

World Premiere

The Royal Ballet
May 11, 2015
The Royal Opera House
London, England

Alessandra Ferri, Federico Bonelli, Edward Watson, Tristan Dyer, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Francesca Hayward, Gary Avis, Sarah Lamb, Natalia Osipova, Melissa Hamilton, Akane Takada, Steven McRae, Paul Kay, Eric Underwood, Matthew Ball

ABT Premiere

April 11, 2024
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Costa Mesa, California




“I now, I then”
(from Mrs. Dalloway)
Devon Teuscher (Virginia Woolf/Older Clarissa)
Roman Zhurbin (Richard)
Léa Fleytoux (Young Clarissa)
James Whiteside (Peter)
Cassandra Trenary (Sally)
Daniel Camargo (Septimus)
SunMi Park (Rezia)
Jake Roxander (Evans)


(from Orlando)
Sierra Armstrong, Daniel Camargo, Jarod Curley, Thomas Forster, Carlos Gonzalez, Catherine Hurlin, Joseph Markey, SunMi Park, Jake Roxander, Jose Sebastian, Christine Shevchenko, Cassandra Trenary


(from The Waves)
Devon Teuscher, James Whiteside, Christine Shevchenko


I now, I then
Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf’s 1925 stream-of-consciousness novel, is set over the course of one day and alternates between two stories: a society hostess preparing for an important party and a shell-shocked war veteran on his way to a psychiatric assessment. Though they never meet, both Clarissa, the protected insider, and Septimus, the social outcast, are haunted by the past. Opening with an excerpt from Woolf’s recorded essay, “On Craftsmanship,” “I Now, I Then” is a journey into the writing of Mrs. Dalloway, interweaving narrative fragments from the novel with aspects of Woolf’s autobiography, including the experience of drawing on her own mental illness as subject matter.

“on or about December 1910 human nature changed” —Virginia Woolf

Written in an epoch of recalibration in every sphere including the roles and rights of women, modes of representation in art and literature, and rapid advances in cosmology, Woolf’s iconoclastic 1928 novel Orlando centers around a fantastical figure who journeys through three hundred years without growing old and changes sex along the way. Relationships prove transient, even with himself, while relativity and plasticity define her experience of time and space. “Becomings” presents Orlando’s dizzying wide-angle vision of a vast, ever-altering universe in which life is energy passing through a multiplicity of forms—a brief, gorgeous flaring of insect wings, gestating, emerging, extinguishing and moving on.

Grand and elegiac, The Waves (1931) is Woolf’s most experimental novel, conceived in response to her own childlessness and the contrasting fierce maternity of her sister Vanessa. In the novel, the voices of six people growing from childhood to old age are punctuated by symbols of natural decay and renewal, the most important of which is the ever-returning sea. Responding to Woolf’s unique fascination with underwater imagery in all her writing, “Tuesday” merges themes of The Waves with a portrayal of the writer’s suicide by drowning. As Woolf counts her steps towards the river Ouse and her final journey, so too the world of her novel moves towards abstraction and silence.


A triptych of ballets drawn from Virginia Woolf’s landmark novels Mrs Dalloway, Orlando, and The Waves with elements of her letters, essays, and diaries, Woolf Works explores the collision of form and substance in Woolf’s writings—a recreation of the vivid, impressionistic qualities of Woolf’s prose, where emotions and sensations take precedence over plot.

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.

The work sees Wayne McGregor reunited with acclaimed British composer Max Richter who creates a specially commissioned score incorporating electronic and live music, with set designs by architectural practices Ciguë and We Not I alongside costume and lighting designs by long-time collaborators Moritz Junge and Lucy Carter.