By Randi Bjornstad

The story of Robin Hood — the dashing outlaw and superior archer who made it his job in the Midlands of Medieval England to “take from the rich and give to the poor” because of ingrained social and economic inequity — ranks among the greatest hits in English folklore.

Of course, he didn’t do it all alone. He had a beautiful and equally talented partner in Maid Marian, plus his band of Merry Men who helped fulfill his quests against the grasping and corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham.

The tale has been passed down through hundreds of years by way of stories, poems, ballads, movies, and television, and now there is a new ballet — Robin Hood & Maid Marian — that will have its world premiere at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in four live performances from May 11 to 14, plus a livestream option during the matinee on May 14.

The ballet is the first full-score commission for Ballet Fantastique, a project initiated by its mother-and-daughter production and choreography team, Donna and Hannah Bontrager.

It has taken a full three years to bring to the stage, the Bontragers said in announcing the premiere of Robin Hood & Maid Marian. The new work was made possible by a grant from the Hult Endowment to enlist the talents of composers Liza Carbé and JP Durand, a Los Angeles-based duo known for writing music for Entertainment Tonight, and movies and television shows created for Paramount.

Here’s the story line, as envisioned by the Bontragers and carried out through music and choreography: It’s 1191 A.D. in England, and the king, Richard Lionheart, has gone off to the Crusades, leaving a social and political vacuum back home. The result is the rise of unscrupulous characters such as the Sheriff of Nottingham, who use their power to amass personal wealth at the expense of the peasant classes. But heroes arise to right these wrongs, and, as Ballet Fantastique puts it, it’s “a story where good wins.”

In addition to the composers and the choreographers, the credits behind Ballet Fantastique’s Robin Hood & Maid Marian include contributions to the production by Hollywood fight choreographer Michelle Ladd, who created fight scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings. Live music is provided by Nottingham, featuring musicians Aryeh Frankfurter, Lisa Lynne, and Eliot Grasso playing instruments that include Celtic harps, Swedish nyckelharpa, Ukrainian bandora, bouzouki, cittern, flutes, tin whistle, and uilleann pipes.

Ballet Fantastique’s Robin Hood & Maid Marian

When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 11, 12, and 13; and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 14

Where: Soreng Theater, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, One Eugene Center (7th and Willamette streets), downtown Eugene

In person tickets: $15 to $76, available at the Hult Center box office, 541-682-5000, or online at or

Livestream tickets for Sunday, May 14 performance: $15 individual ticket, $25 for family ticket. Go online to Click on Shows/Tickets and then drop down and click on Robin Hood & Maid Marian. Scroll down on that page to the listing of Showtimes, and below that, click on the box that says Get Livestream Tickets Now. Next, click on either box that says Buy Tickets.