Rachel takes on the huge job of running latest Cirque show

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Sheffielder Rachel Lancaster is at the centre of a huge Cirque du Soleil show in London.

Rachel is artistic director for Amaluna, about to open at the Royal Albert Hall after being performed in Paris.

Terrorist attacks in the city closed the show for a few days.

Amaluna marks Cirque du Soleil’s 20th anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall.

The show promises to take the audience on a magical journey, loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Rachel said: “The show was built to portray and emphasise the strength and beauty of women.”

A mysterious island is governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon.

Agroup of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic love story between her daughter and a brave young suitor. The couple must face numerous trials together.

Rachel said: “All the Cirque shows are quite large and there’s the big acrobatic element. There’s a huge team of very devoted professionals including a technical team, coaches and artists.”

That includes 47 performers and musicians and all the technical support brings the number of the team up to 110.

Rachel said: “It’s a big, big show. We have 80 trucks’ worth of equipment including the big top and sets.”

Rachel began work as a dancer. She joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company in 1994, working there on and off until 2011.

She was part of the original cast in several of his biggest shows including Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Car Man, Nutcracker! and Highland Fling.

Then came the chance to work with Cirque as she was considering her next step after retiring from performing.

Rachel said: “Acrobatics is not my speciality but I am responsible for anything artistic on stage and day to day I am involved in all the artistic training and rehearsals.

“I also watch show four to six times a week as we have multiple casts to check on the artistic flow day to day.

“We make longer-term changes gradually over time. The goal is to keep evolving and moving forward.”

Rachel grew up in Nether Edge and returns to visit her mum Hilary Nunn, sister Louise and other family members in the city whenever she can. Cirque du Soleil has taken her around the world.

Her late father Paul Nunn was a university lecturer in the city and a mountaineer,.

She went to High Storrs School and trained at Bailey-Cox Dance Academy before moving on to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.

Amaluna is in London from Saturday until March 6. Box office: online at cirquedusoleil.com/Amaluna or royalalberthall.com or call 0845 401 5045 or 020 7589 8212.