The Teapot Prince
Thu 16 & Fri 17 Jun
6pmHouse & Grounds
This summer see The Teapot Prince, a lost 18th-century ballet, performed in the fairy-tale grounds of Waddesdon before exploring the Manor after-hours.
Be enchanted by this contemporary reimagining of the lost 18th-century French Ballet des Porcelaines – The Teapot Prince, bringing to life a story of magic, desire and exotic entanglement. Originally staged in a château near Paris, this is the first production of the ballet in nearly 300 years. See it performed against the fairy-tale backdrop of Waddesdon Manor this summer.
Created by Meredith Martin, professor of art history at New York University, and Phil Chan, choreographer and co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, in collaboration with The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH) and the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
The Teapot Prince is based on an Orientalist fairy tale about a sorcerer who lives on a ‘Blue Island’ and transforms anyone who dares to trespass into porcelain cups, vases and other wares. When the sorcerer turns the eponymous prince into a teapot, his lover, the princess comes to his rescue…
The original Ballet des Porcelaines can be seen as an allegory for the aggressive European desire to know and steal the secrets of Chinese porcelain manufacture. In the new version, the narrative is flipped. The main protagonists are now Chinese, the Sorcerer a mad European porcelain collector, modelled on Augustus II the Strong (1670-1733), King of Poland, elector of Saxony and founder of Meissen, the first European manufactory to succeed in making true porcelain.
After the performance, you’ll have exclusive access to the Manor’s west galleries housing renowned collections of 18th-century porcelain and there will be a talk by the ballet company.
Order a picnic for two to enjoy in the grounds before the performance, freshly-made and inspired by our quintessential afternoon teas.
Classic and vegetarian options available, £29.95. Collect at the Manor Terrace from 6pm.
Discover the Ballet des Porcelaines
Written by the extravagantly named Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d’Esternay, baron de Bransac (1692–1765), a French antiquarian, proto-archaeologist and man of letters, the Ballet des Porcelaines was first staged in 1739 and is contemporaneous with the similarly themed story of Beauty and the Beast (1740). Rarely, if ever, performed after 1741, the ballet influenced the later works Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
On the day
- Doors open from 6pm, please park in our private car park at the top of the hill
- Picnic collection from 6pm on the Manor Terrace
- The performance will begin at 6.30pm on the North Front, please note this is an outdoor performance and standing-only
- 7-8.30pm, explore the Manor’s west galleries and listen to a talk by the ballet company