The Little Mermaid

Designing props for Northern Ballet's The Little Mermaid


Approached by Northern Ballet’s creative team, NEWSUBSTANCE were tasked to help realise a set of high detail, lightweight and tourable props for their world premiere of The Little Mermaid.

Event Statistics

Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid, choreographed by David Nixon OBE reimagined the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale taking the audience on a journey beneath the waves. This world premier production, performed to an original score played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, opened at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton before heading on a national tour through the autumn of 2017 and into the spring of 2018.



— Client

Northern Ballet

— Location

UK Tour

Fish fully treated
Fish Design



Whilst simple in principal, the jellyfish and fish performance props incorporate cutting edge technologies to achieve a seemingly organic effect. Key to the success was performer manipulated lightweight creatures capable of long term touring. The swimming motion of the fish was achieved through a CNC cut polycarbonate spine clad with large format 3D printed ribs and required gentle motion from a performer with no automation or power required. The jellyfish design included a CNC cut polycarbonate flexible skeleton inside a lightweight silicone fabric shell complete with battery powered LED lighting to create an ethereal glow.

Fish mock up
Fish prep