Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was joined by the artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet for the launch event of a new show inspired by the pioneering heavy rock band.
Rehearsals for Black Sabbath – The Ballet were under way on Thursday ahead of the show’s opening in September.
It will run at the Birmingham Hippodrome from September 23 to 30, with further dates in the autumn in Plymouth and London to be announced.
On Thursday, Iommi and artistic director Carlos Acosta joined the wider creative team in Birmingham to hear about the project’s development and take part in a Q&A.
The show has been described by Acosta as the “next best thing” for fans of the heavy metal band after frontman Ozzy Osbourne recently stepped back from touring because of poor health.
Black Sabbath – The Ballet will merge the world of dance with classic songs by the Birmingham-based rockers, alongside new and archive material from the group.
Commissioned for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the 90-minute show has been given Osbourne’s blessing.
The production is hoping the band will be involved in some capacity with the show, including recordings of members describing their time in Black Sabbath.
Eight of their classic tracks – including Paranoid, Iron Man, War Pigs and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – have been re-orchestrated for the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s permanent orchestra.
New compositions inspired by the band will also be played live by the orchestra with guitars and drums to be integrated into the performance.
Black Sabbath formed in 1969 with lead singer Osbourne, guitarist Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward.
Iommi previously said he had “never imagined” pairing Black Sabbath with ballet, but the show had “a nice ring to it”.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how this all develops. Black Sabbath have always been innovators and never been predictable, and it doesn’t come any more unpredictable than this,” he said.