The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol will stream live on TV and YouTube this year

The National Theatre can’t stage productions with an audience, so they will go ahead without one for the holidays.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 11.12.2020 06:24 (updated on 11.12.2020)

 A holiday tradition in Prague is taking the family to the National Theatre to see The Nutcracker. Currently, the theaters can’t have an audience due to restrictions, which has led to many families being disappointed. But there is a loophole — performances can take place without an audience.

The Czech National Ballet and Czech Television (ČT) on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. will broadcast a live performance of The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol, taking place in an otherwise empty auditorium.

The dancers will perform live in front of the National Theatre’s empty seats, knowing that despite the lack of applause they are likely reaching their largest single audience ever for this production.

The live broadcast will not only be on TV but also YouTube on the Balet Národního divadla / Czech National Ballet channel. After that, it will possible to watch a recording via Czech Television’s iBroadcasting and on YouTube until Dec. 27, 2020.

The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol at the National Theatre. (photo: Martin Divíšek, Serghei Gherciu)
The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol at the National Theatre. (photo: Martin Divíšek, Serghei Gherciu)

“We are very happy to bring this virtual gift to the audience so they can experience this magical adventure with us during Christmastime. Of course, we are sorry that our dancers and musicians cannot share their art with a theater audience during live performances,” Czech National Ballet artistic director Filip Barankiewicz said in a press release, adding his best wishes for everyone in 2021.

Tomáš Motl, executive director of Czech Television's cultural station ČT art, said the ballet’s beautiful music and magical story have been impressing audiences for almost 130 years. “For many families visiting The Nutcracker at the sold-out National Theatre around Christmas is a long-held dream. That is why I am very pleased that this year we can make their dream come true at least in the form of live broadcast,” he said.

“Czech Television’s ČT art channel offers myriad high-quality programs at Christmas, yet the Czech National Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of our festive menu,” he added.

The Nutcracker - A Christmas Carol, choreographed by Youri Vàmos, has been part of the National Theatre's Christmas theatrical tradition for 16 years, replacing a previous more traditional version.

The current staging combines the original story of the ballet based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann with the elements of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The setting is transposed to 19th century London. The music is by Tchaikovsky.