The Auckland season of the highly anticipated Royal New Zealand Ballet – Venus Rising has been cancelled due to increased Covid cases within the company.

The decision to cancel the Auckland season was made with “deep sadness” and follows three previous cancellations of the season due to Covid.

“This beautiful production, which we had to postpone three times and cancel, now, twice, has taken us on a journey,” RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker explained. 


Barker, who highlighted the determination of the team to bring the production to Auckland, added, “we were determined to get it on stage, and we did that in the world premiere season in Wellington and for one special show in Christchurch.”

“Despite having their hearts broken every time we had to push it back, when the occasion finally arrived, the dancers danced their hearts out in a world-class performance.”

 Barker, who says that “every possible scenario” in making the Auckland season happen was looked at, concluded that the company did not have enough dancers to present all three performances.

“Some might say Venus Rising was never meant to be, but the company, and we’re sure those who were lucky enough to see it, would disagree. It is a trio of ballets which each stole our hearts, and, right now, mine is filled with appreciation for the whole company’s, but especially the dancers’, strength and resilience over the past three years.”  

Acting Executive Director Dame Kerry Prendergast also spoke about the cancellation saying, “We send our collective aroha to everyone involved, especially the dancers, and to our audiences for their patience and support.”

“We will cherish the memories of the magical Venus Rising moments on stage in the last two weeks. May the dancers who are unwell recover quickly, and may everyone have a safe and happy Christmas.” 

The RNZB is set to return in February 2023, refreshed and revitalised, travelling to 11 theatres across the Aotearoa, from Whangārei to Ashburton, with Tutus on Tour 2023 – a 70th-anniversary celebration filled with ballet treasures and treats. 

Ticket holders for the 8, 9 and 10 December shows at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre in Tāmaki Makaurau will be contacted directly to obtain a refund.