Araminta Wraith was born in London, England and trained at Royal Ballet School and English National Ballet School. She joined English National Ballet professionally in 2007 before joining Scottish Ballet as a First Artist in 2014, and was promoted to Soloist in 2016. She is about to go on tour to perform the character of Elizabeth Proctor in a Scottish Ballet rendition of The Crucible. Thence, The Fountain caught up with her about this performance and working with choreographer, Helen Pickett.
TF: You are about to embark on a UK tour after the premiere of The Crucible at Edinburgh’s International Festival, you must be excited, certainly after the response it received?
It’s always such a pleasure to get back on stage, it’s definitely my happy place and performing this role has been such an amazing and rewarding experience. The incredible response just makes me even more thrilled to be able to share this compelling piece of work with more people.
TF: Obviously Scottish Ballet’s adaptation of the Arthur Miller play, how close to the original text has Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible stayed?
A lot of it is very much the same, the main difference with this production is that we get some backstory at the beginning, which really helps the audience connect with the core characters early on. It’s a different approach from doing it as a straight play as we have no text but the movement and expressive scenes we have built mean that you really see the story and emotion that Miller intended.
TF: And performing as Elizabeth Proctor, there are many complexities to your role, how do you convey those through ballet?
We have worked really hard with the choreographer Helen and her artistic collaborator James on making each scene and character really clear. There is no movement that I do that doesn’t have a solid emotion or meaning behind it. Every action we created is a reaction from a feeling. A lot of my scenes are with John and you can see the conversation and dialogue by steps that we do with each other. We also left space for no steps at all, using sometimes just a look, which can go a long way.
TF: And what has it been like to work with Helen Pickett, deservingly awarded for her choreography?
Helen is absolutely bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. She believes every step of what she does and spent so long working on ideas for this production. Because of that it meant that every day coming into the studio I knew it would be positive and what I love the most is that she works in such real time with the dancers in front of her. Helen understands that we are people too with our own personalities and emotions and she uses that to make movements that suit you and a freedom to be involved in that process with her. It’s so important to have a voice in the studio and I really felt I had that when working with her.
TF: You are performing a list of Scottish dates, and then Washington, how did that come about in the tour? Do you have a personal preference as to a favourite venue to perform in?
Yes we are, I’m so looking forward to going back there. For me the Kennedy centre in Washington holds a special place for me as it’s where I performed one of my first lead roles as Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire, so that actually is a favourite venue for me. It’s all down to lots of different logistics and a long chain of conversations that get us there. The Scottish Ballet are very popular in the US but it’s always good to be with our homegrown audience back here in Glasgow, we have a wonderfully loyal fan base.
Following critical acclaim at the Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Ballet is set to embark on its Scottish tour of The Crucible opening at Theatre Royal in Glasgow tonight, before touring until 10 Oct. More info here.
Photo courtesy of Jane Hobson