Annabelle Terry tells the tale of Hansel & Gretel in Creation Theatre’s Grimm Tales For Fragile Times And Broken People, the first in a series of productions by its new online Repertory Company. Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, a collection of familiar and lesser-known tales such as The Juniper Tree, The Moon, Godfather Death, Hansel and Gretel and Rumpelstiltskin, have been re-invented for an online show which places powerful storytelling at its very heart.
The show marks Creation Theatre’s 7th online production and almost one year on since the launch of its first acclaimed digital show The Tempest, Live.
This atmospheric and haunting production for adults will be available to stream from 24 February to 13 March. Tickets are available here
You’re appearing in Creation Theatre’s latest digital work, Grimm Tales For Fragile Times And Broken People, what can you tell us about it?
It’s a retelling and re-imagining of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales set in a forgotten woodland, where the inhabitants are all isolated in their homes (amazing box-type structures that were designed by Ryan Dawson Laight with trap doors and curtains, and other amazing creations). The storyline features a mixture of the well-known tales such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’, alongside lesser known but equally brilliant ones, like ‘Godfather Death’. The narratives intertwine and overlap to reveal that the storytellers are characters within the stories themselves, and are retelling their experiences, be they good or grim!
You’re part of Creation’s new repertory company, how did you get involved?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Creation on number of shows in the past. Last year I was in their first ever digital show The Tempest, which was such a surreal and inspiring experience. Since then, they have continued to pioneer the way for digital theatre, and announced they would be forming a Rep company. It was open for all to apply, and having had such brill time previously, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it!
And it’s the company who had devised this piece, what inspired you to revisit the Brothers Grimm?
Our director Gari Jones has previously written and directed work based on/inspired by the Brothers Grimm tales. The stories, although dark, are so resonant with us as humans and the struggles we may go through – particularly right now. The isolation that we are feeling because of the pandemic is reflected in each Grimm character being trapped in their box house, as well as trapped in their own story. However, we also wanted to remind our audiences of the light at the end of the tunnel which, for the characters, is escaping the wicked witch or the little boy in ‘The Juniper Tree’ being reborn. Another inspiration was the importance and simplicity of storytelling. When everything seems dark and gloomy, stories and communicating with one another is sometimes all we have to lift our spirits, and we should continue to tell them!
Covid-19 has had a serious impact on the industry, but it’s affected you directly during rehearsals, how did you make sure the show could go on?
I still pinch myself most days when I’m getting into costume and standing in a set… in my house during a pandemic! It’s amazing what Creation have achieved at such a difficult time for our industry. I unfortunately got Covid during the first few weeks of Grimm rehearsals, and whilst it was a worry, the beauty of online work is that I was in my own home and could rest as much as I needed to. The company were obviously really understanding and, as much as the show must go on, I was reassured that our health and wellbeing always comes first. It was actually a great distraction having Grimms as a project during that tricky time for me, as I could get lost in writing and creating, which still feels like a massive luxury at this point in time.
What else made it challenging to create online theatre during lockdown?
Not being in the same room as your cast mates is always a challenge, especially when you want nothing more than to go to pub after rehearsals together and socialise! But having a collaborative piece like Grimms to start off the Rep journey was great – we knew that we had our own individual stories to create, but that we were coming together as a team to make the overall piece. And we have adapted so quickly to the online rehearsal room – there have been a lot of laughs!
The main challenge is always relying on the internet! We are often at the mercy of it when doing online shows … but so far so good!
What would you say to anyone thinking of tuning in to Grimm Tales For Fragile Times And Broken People?
If you want to escape into a story and see something that visually you won’t have seen before, come and watch! Even if you’ve never seen a digital show before and are curious, I think Grimms is a really special piece that has all the theatricalities you love about the theatre… from the comfort of your own home!
Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People with Annabelle Terry, is available to watch live in preview until the 14th February and will then be a streamed recording from the 24th February to 13th March. www.creationtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/grimm-tales/