"It's going to be poignant, tender, poetic and epic": The Who's Quadrophenia is being turned into a mod ballet

Pete Townshend with some of the cast of Quadrophenia
(Image credit: Johan Persson)

Quadrohenia, the iconic 1973 album by The Who, is to be turned into a ballet. The performance is set to be staged in Plymouth, Edinburgh and Southampton next year before its official opening at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, and is based on an orchestral score by the composer Rachel Fuller, Townshend's wife.

"Quadrophenia is the only Who album that I solely composed and produced, and the movie that followed in 1979 launched the careers of some of the finest young actors of the time," says Pete Townshend. "In 2016, Rachel Fuller agreed to create an orchestral score of the album. When I first heard a demo of this version, without vocals, my first thought was that it would make a powerfully rhythmic and emotionally engaging ballet. 

"Workshopped in 2023, that thought became a reality and I knew we had something that would resonate with new audiences, and also bring joy, as it had in its other iterations for decades. The themes of young people growing up in difficult times are still so relevant. It’s going to be poignant, tender and poetic and epic."

The ballet will be choreographed by Paul Roberts, who has previously worked on projects as diverse as Harry Styles' video for Treat People With Kindness, the Spice Girls' Spiceworld stadium tour, and the Eurovision Song Contest. Paris Fitzpatrick, recent winner of the Outstanding Male Modern Performance prize at the National Dance Awards for his role as Romeo in Romeo And Juliet, will take on the part of lead character Jimmy.

Quadrophenia has previously seen life as a major movie and a musical, while Fuller's orchestral arrangement was turned into a live show under the Classic Quadrophenia banner in 2017. 

Tickets for the ballet go on sale to the general public on July 5, preceded by sales for patrons of Sadler’s Wells (June 28) and Who Fan Club and Mailing List members (July 1). 

Last year, a ballet based on the music of Black Sabbath was staged in Birmingham.

Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia: A Mod Ballet - YouTube Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia: A Mod Ballet - YouTube
Watch On

Quadrophenia: A Mod Ballet UK tour 2025

May 28 - Jun 01: Plymouth Theatre Royal
Jun 10 - Jun 14: Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Jun 18 - Jun 21: Southampton Mayflower Theatre
Jun 24 - Jul 13: London Sadler’s Wells
Jul 15 - Jul 19: Salford The Lowry

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.