The Scottish Theatre Ballet started in Glasgow in 1969 and its first show in the restored Royal was The Nutcracker in December and January, and followed in spring 1976 by a busy season of the premiere of Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as Tales of Hoffman, Giselle, La Ventana, La Sylphide, and then Paquita, La Fete Etrange, Pax de Quatre, Three Dances to Japanese Music, Le Carnaval, O Caritas, Jeux, and The Lesson.
Its founder, Peter Darrell, introduced dramatisation into dance, and made it available across Scotland and Northern Ireland, and also toured in England. Overseas touring was to Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Spain, and from 1976 this extended to Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, America and Australasia again. Before going to Australia in 1974 the word “Theatre” was dropped from its name – perhaps to avoid confusion with a new drama company being planned, the Scottish Theatre Company. In its first ten years the number of dancers increased from 20 to 48, and the company established its own dance scholarships. The Scottish Ballet shared premises with Scottish Opera in Elmbank Crescent on a grace and favour basis until 1979 when it bought and converted its own building at 261 West Princes Street as its headquarters, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The new rehearsal studios and facilities were the largest and best equipped of any major company in Britain at the time. A few years later, on ground adjoining, a new Studio Theatre was built for small performances, later known as the Robin Anderson Theatre. Seating 450, this was the first purpose built dance space in Scotland.