With all of its success and rich history, how do you feel about the prospect of bringing it back to the Lowry?

It’s always exciting to bring back Swan Lake. So many people love it, and you know they’re going to want to come and see it again and bring friends and family to watch it who didn’t see it last time. That is the growth of the show over the years I think - the fact that people want other people to come and see it.

There’s also a whole new generation of young people who won’t have seen it. We know, even from discussions with the cast we have at the moment, how inspiring this piece can be for young people who see the piece and then want to go on to a career in theatre, or particularly dance. Many of the men in the show, and in fact the women too, first came to dance through this piece having been taken to see it by their parents, or perhaps by their dance school, and now they’re in it themselves.

It still seems to move and inspire people and therefore we get excited about doing it because that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to entertain.

Why did you decide to restage the show now? Is it a bigger challenge to revisit this work because audiences are so passionate about it and know it so well?

It’s an interesting point about changing a piece that is so well-known and so well-loved. We’ve made these changes for several reasons – one being that it’s been around for 23 years now since we first made the piece and Lez Brotherston (set and costume design) and I felt it was a great opportunity to refresh it. I wouldn’t say we’re changing it enormously but refreshing it for this next period of time. It may change again in the future, who knows? But I think whilst we’re still excited about the piece and feel we’ve got this opportunity, it seems a great chance to do it.

For many people seeing the new version of Swan Lake they probably won’t recognise many of the changes we’ve made. We will know however, that we’ve made hundreds of little changes. It won’t be such big changes that people will think ‘oh what did you do that for?’. Maybe there will be one or two things that big fans of the show will miss, but I think generally speaking we’re celebrating the piece that already exists.

We’ve got a completely new cast as well. There are lots of new dancers who will bring their own interpretations to the piece, as they do with all our shows and that keeps the pieces fresh and alive.

Were you surprised by the scale of the impact Swan Lake had on young dancers?

Obviously when we made Swan Lake we didn’t know that it would have the impact it’s had, but over the years I’ve come to realise that it’s been the trigger for a lot of boys and young men going into dance.

I think it felt like something very cool and very masculine, yet it required a lot of artistry and sensitivity. I think, that really inspired a lot of young men to want to get into dance and to want to be a Swan, which is borne out by every member of our cast virtually who grew up with this piece.

You took Swan Lake in a completely different direction from the versions that had gone before it. What motivated and inspired you to do that?

Well, I didn’t see any point in creating a Swan Lake that was similar to any of the others that were around, because there were certainly a lot of those!

We’re a contemporary dance theatre company, so we had to tell a story through movement, in a different way, and it needed a big idea to make people see it in a different way as well.

So, the male swans were the big idea and a secondary big idea was modern Royal scandal. This was in the news all the time whilst we were making the piece, with Diana and Charles, and Sarah Ferguson, and Camilla Parker-Bowles, and Princess Margaret. All of these stories were daily news during the making of the show. And so, it was very topical thing to have a Prince who couldn’t be the person he really was, or to be with the person he wanted to be with - all very relevant to contemporary Britain and contemporary Royalty. So, we’re still telling the same story – it’s still about a Royal family, but a modern Royal family.

Could you tell us what you feel are the key themes of your version of Swan Lake; and what if anything is the most important message that you hoped to portray to the audience?

I don’t like to dictate too much to people because I feel people do see the piece in different ways, but for me ultimately it is about someone struggling with who they are and the world they are in – albeit quite an extraordinary world for how many people are Royal?

But even so, we can relate to that. We can all relate to an individual who in the society that they are in can’t really be who they really are.

I think the piece moves people because it has a message about looking for acceptance; but it also moves people because it’s about loss as well, and it’s about people that you’ve lost.

I think it’s underestimated sometimes how far we’ve moved on with this piece in the time it’s been on. When we first started to do it, we had audiences walking out when the Prince and the Swan started dancing together. We had little girls in tears that it wasn’t performed with the tutus and pointe shoes, and things like that, that they were expecting.

We also had a slightly aggressive attitude towards it from some members of the audience; and some people refused to come and see it at all.

It got dubbed ‘the gay Swan Lake’, which was not what the aim was, but it certainly was a story within it that was very meaningful for gay audiences, and I celebrate that. I did then, and I do now. It is a bit more wide-ranging than that too however, and it can really be interpreted in many ways.

It’s accepted now by a much wider audience who come to see the show and rather than be shocked by any element of it, I think they find it uplifting that this is a story being told about a young man who is confused about his future and about his sexuality.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, the Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, November 20 to Saturday, December 1.

Details from 0843 208 6005 or www.thelowry.com