Tiago Rodrigues

Bela Adormecida

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty was the first show staged by Companhia Maior, the result of a residency at the Centro Cultural de Belém. Invited to direct the company’s first creation, Tiago Rodrigues wrote and directed a contemporary version of Sleeping Beauty, where fragments of memories of the performers themselves merge with a reflection on memory, ageing and ‘awakening’ to new worlds.

The Fuel of the Present

‘The prince takes a lifetime to find the palace. He kisses Aurora. He breaks the spell. When the inhabitants of the palace wake up, they realise that time didn’t stop at the moment they fell asleep. While they were sleeping, they were ageing.’ These are more or less the words I’ve used whenever, over the last few months, I’ve tried to explain to someone what Sleeping Beauty is.

The idea of reinventing a ‘classic’ emerged from conversations with Luísa Taveira, the driving force behind the Companhia Maior project. Invited to direct the first creation by this company, I always assumed that this show would also serve to invent and affirm an artistic identity. A group of performers over the age of 60 and with experience in various areas, willing to risk confronting the work of contemporary creators. The ‘classic’, inscribed on the collective imagination, allowed us to use a vocabulary that spanned generations. Being a classical ballet, it was possible to mix disciplines, principally dance and music, but also theatre. I had my first contact with this cast months before rehearsals began, during a ten-day workshop, where we explored personal memories to create fragments and scenes. The awakening of each of the artists with this project found its metaphorical version in the narrative of Sleeping Beauty and the trick of using the past as fuel for the present seemed to me to be the starting point for an adaptation. The past that feeds us in this show is also the artistic tradition of the ‘classic’ debuted in Saint Petersburg, without much success, 120 years ago. Here, Tchaikovsky’s music or Petipa’s choreography fade into memories of characters and performers. 

We could talk about a comment on artistic tradition, but I am more interested in the notion of inheritance. Because tradition is fixed and doesn’t belong to us. But an inheritance, we can spend as we like. We own it.

In Sleeping Beauty, the symbolisms are subverted, analysed or taken literally. An inheritance is owned, always attempting a poetry of the memory. A memory that pursues us or flees from us. A memory that imprisons or frees us. But, inevitably, the memory that is the source of energy that lights up the present.

Tiago Rodrigues


Text and direction
Tiago Rodrigues

António Pedrosa, Carlos Nery, Celeste Melo, Cristina Gonçalves, Diana Coelho, Helena Marchand, Isabel Millet, Isabel Simões, Iva Delgado, Júlia Guerra, Kimberley Ribeiro, Manuela de Sousa Rama, Michel, Vítor Lopes

Staging assistant
Cláudia Gaiolas
Lighting and set designer
Thomas Walgrave
Costume designer
Patrícia Raposo
Bruno Canas
Executive production
Magda Bizarro
Mariana Sampaio
Cláudia Varejão
Magda Bizarro

A production of
Mundo Perfeito and Companhia Maior

In co-production with
Centro Cultural de Belém


Cláudia Varejão
Clara Andermatt
Eduardo Sérgio
Jacinto Lucas Pires
João Lucas
Lula Pena
Rita Bagorro
Rui Horta


28 to 31  october 2010
Centro Cultural de Belém

27 november 2010
Teatro Municipal de Bragança

11 december 2010
Cine-Teatro de Estarreja

21 january 2011
Centro Cultural Vila Flor

15 january 2011
TEMPO – Teatro Municipal de Portimão

28 to 29 january 2011
Teatro Viriato

3 to 6 february 2011
Teatro Carlos Alberto

26 february 2011
Teatro Micaelense
São Miguel, Azores

26 march 2011
Teatro Virgínia
Torres Novas

29 april 2011
Teatro Municipal da Guarda

21 may 2011 
Casa da Cultura
Alfandega da Fé

8 july 2011
Tróia Design Hotel

Photos: © Paulo Martins

© Companhia Maior