NEWS: Creatives for tasty Christmas treat include Playhouse Prize winner
1 June 2023
Following an open call-out to artists for the roles of Director, Writer and Composer, over 100 anonymised submissions were received. The call-out required that the Director should be local, but in fact, all three creatives selected turned out to be from the region, highlighting the thriving theatre community in the area.
The classic fairytale will be directed by Beth Shouler (I Dare You – Tour; Against All Odds – Almeida and Arsenal Football Club). Adapting the original story will be writer Monika Johnson (Artist in Residence with Take Art and Derby Theatre, Garden of Imagination – Junction Arts) and composer David Gibb (Climb That Tree – Big Imaginations; The Royal Christmas Pudding – The Story Museum) will bring to life this 50-minute-long adventure with captivating music. Specially created for children aged 3 to 8, this brand new version of the Grimm brothers tale is the perfect introduction to live theatre.
The Designer for the show is Samuel Fransch, a Nottingham Trent University student (BA Hons Design for Theatre and Live Performance) who was announced as the winner of the Playhouse Prize last week. The prize itself is the contract to work on the Christmas show for younger children in the Neville Studio. Samuel commented: “I was a bit over-whelmed and shell-shocked to win, but I’m incredibly excited. I’m looking forward to creating a world which will really excite the young kids coming to see it.”
The open call-out and the Playhouse Prize are both part of Nottingham Playhouse’s policy of being open and equitable in engaging artists and ensuring that they are offered real opportunities to work in their own community.
Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Nottingham Playhouse has been making work for children and touring schools for decades. The Neville Studio Christmas production is for those who are too young for our main stage pantomime and for many it’s their first experience of watching theatre. It’s such a crucial part of what we do and I can’t wait to see what this talented team of local theatremakers do with this classic fairytale.”
Beth Shouler, who is currently a Duffield Fellow 2022 on the Clore Leadership Programme and was the official runner up for the Royal Theatrical Support Trust Director’s Award in 2022 in partnership with Nottingham Playhouse, said: “I am chuffed to bits to be directing a show for Nottingham Playhouse which is the first theatre I ever saw a show in. Hansel and Gretel is my favourite fairytale – full of mischief, a little darkness, resilient siblings who triumph over adversity and of, course, a house and garden made of sweets – a childhood dream.
“I’ve always wanted to direct a show for Nottingham Playhouse having worked in just about every department from cleaning at 5.30am to working bar shifts at midnight, to creating pathways for fellow creatives through Amplify! I’m especially delighted to be directing a show my tiny nephews, nieces and friends’ children can enjoy – what better Christmas present could I ask for?”
Monika Johnson, a Nottingham based children’s writer and storyteller, who is adapting the story, said: “Nottingham Playhouse is where I first started writing for young audiences, as part of their theatre writing partnership back in 2006. I am super excited to return to this space and to be part of the team bringing this much-loved magical tale to life!”
David Gibb, multi-skilled theatre maker, composer, writer and musical director, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Nottingham Playhouse on their Christmas production and to be returning to my East Midlands roots. I’m really excited to bring some musical festive joy to families and children and to work with such a talented and brilliant team of artists.”
Follow the trail of breadcrumbs to book tickets …