Irvine Barclay Theatre

International Ballet Stars Dance in Festival Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

Create holiday memories for your family by sharing the magic of the cherished classic, The Nutcracker.

Irvine Barclay Theatre

4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA | 949.854.4646

Festival Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker

Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm; 7:00pm

Sunday, December 9 at 1:00pm

Friday, December 14 at 7:00pm

Saturday, December 15 at 2:00pm; 7:00pm

Sunday, December 16 at 1:00pm; 6:00pm

Friday, December 21 at 2:00pm; 7:00pm

Saturday, December 22 at 2:00pm; 7:00pm

Sunday, December 23 at 1:00pm; 6:00pm

Monday, December 24 at 11:00am

Tickets: $45 - $60

FAMILY NIGHT: Friday, December 14, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

Save $10 per ticket when purchasing four or more tickets. Discount will automatically apply at checkout.

View video trailer of The Nutcracker 

The Nutcracker Synopsis

Celebrating 30 years of artistic excellence, Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT), Orange County’s resident professional ballet company, will present the family favorite production of The Nutcracker, December 8 - 24, 2018 at Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California.  


Festival Ballet Theatre’s family-friendly, breathtaking production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. Be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, dancing toys, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, waltzing flowers and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands. This full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Salwa Rizkalla, and features world-renowned guest artists, FBT's professional company dancers, and exceptional young talent from across the Southland.


The beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy will be danced by: Tara Ghassemieh (Festival Ballet Theatre), Maria Kochetkova (former San Francisco Ballet), Sara Mearns (New York City Ballet), Teresa Reichlen (New York City Ballet) and Beckanne Sisk (Ballet West). The handsome Cavalier will be danced by: Jared Angle (New York City Ballet), Ulrik Birkkjaer (San Francisco Ballet), Vitor Luiz (San Francisco Ballet) and Chase O’Connell (Ballet West). 

Festival Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker is made even more magical with sets and costumes by Simon Pastukh and Galina Solovyeva.


Esteemed Guest Artists and Performance Dates


December 8–9

Teresa Reichlan – New York City Ballet

Ulrik Birkkjaer  – San Francisco Ballet


December 14

Tara Ghassemieh – Festival Ballet Theatre Company Dancer

Vitor Luiz – San Francisco Ballet


December 15–16

Maria Kochetkova – former principal of San Francisco Ballet

Vitor Luiz – San Francisco Ballet


December 21– 22

Beckanne Sisk – Ballet West

Chase O'Connell – Ballet West


December 23–24

Sara Mearns – New York City Ballet

Jared Angle – New York City Ballet


Guest Artists subject to change.

Nutcracker Tea Party

(Limited number of tickets available)

While adults sip a glass of champagne, children will be gathered to listen to the story of The Nutcracker and be visited by some of the characters from the ballet. The elegant sit-down tea will be prepared by Chef Laurent of White House Catering and include delicious finger sandwiches, sweet treats, tea and lemonade.

Photo opportunities and a party favor for each guest included. 


Party is held at the Barclay's Jade Room.


Please check the website for The Nutcracker Tea Party times.



Adults & Seniors - additional $30 (select "Adult w/Tea" or "Senior w/Tea" from dropdown menu)

Students & Children Under 21 - additional $25 (select "Under 21 w/Tea" from dropdown menu)

Related Events

Nutcracker Luncheon Fundraiser

Sunday, December 2nd at 11:00 am

Where: Waterfront Hilton Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California.

For information on tickets and events around The Nutcracker, please visit

Nutcracker Outreach Events

Throughout November and December, Festival Ballet Theatre will be collaborating with the following organizations to present community Nutcracker holiday events:

Arts Teach

Dawson Cole, Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club

Newport Beach Library

Pacific Symphony Orchestra

Pretend City

About Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT)

Festival Ballet Theatre is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 by Salwa Rizkalla. Its mission is to enrich Orange County’s artistic and economic vitality, to inspire love and appreciation for dance, and to invigorate ballet by:

• Presenting a season of exhilarating classical and contemporary performances

• Providing a nurturing environment for dancers and choreographers

• Offering stimulating educational outreach programs

About Salwa Rizkalla, Artistic Director

Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla has contributed to the Orange County community for more than 30 years by presenting excellence in dance performance through Festival Ballet Theatre and providing top-tier classical ballet training at Southland Ballet Academy.

During her professional dancing career, Ms. Rizkalla graced the stage in leading roles in well-known classical ballets as well as contemporary pieces. She had the privilege of working under the direction of world-renowned choreographers Leonid Lavrovsky and Serge Lifar. As a young dancer, Ms. Rizkalla trained in the Vaganova method and studied with Russian ballet masters. As the culmination of her training, Ms. Rizkalla completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ballet Pedagogy. She established Southland Ballet Academy in 1983 and debuted Festival Ballet Theatre in 1988. In addition to teaching and directing, Ms. Rizkalla was a faculty member of several area institutions.

Many arts organizations have recognized her service. The Orange County Music and Arts Administrators and Orange County Performing Arts Center jointly presented her the Orange County Arts Educator of the Year Award for Secondary Dance (2003); Youth America Grand Prix awarded Ms. Rizkalla Outstanding Teacher accolades since its inception; and Arts Orange County recognized Ms. Rizkalla with the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award (2014). Ms. Rizkalla was named one of OC’s 100 Most Influential in 2017 by the OC Register.

Ms. Rizkalla has been honored to impact the lives of hundreds of students and their families through her teaching. She is proud to be a dedicated educator, an energetic promoter of the arts, and an active participant in the cultural life of her community.



Elizabeth Farmen


About Irvine Barclay Theatre

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 750-seat "jewel box" theatre which is renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Visit to learn about our exciting new season!