Internationally acclaimed theatre company Tall Stories brings its celebrated production of The Gruffalo’s Child to the beautiful Alexandra Palace Theatre co-directed by Olivia Jacobs, for a limited Christmas season.
The Gruffalo’s Child is produced by award-winning theatre company Tall Stories – a creative force whose productions include The Gruffalo, the Olivier Award Nominated Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and The Snow Dragon. The creative team includes Director Olivia Jacobs, Creative Producer Toby Mitchell, Designer Isla Shaw, Composers Jon Fiber & Andy Shaw of JollyGoodTunes and Lighting Designer James Whiteside.
The Gruffalo’s Child is at Alexandra Palace 5th December 2020 to 3rd January 2021, tickets are on sale here.
The Gruffalo’s Child is coming to Alexandra Palace this Christmas, what can you tell us about this stage adaptation?
The Gruffalo’s Child has been warned by her father never to venture into the woods as she may run into the Big Bad Mouse. But ever adventurous she decides to head off on into the snow in search of the infamous scary rodent… and who doesn’t love an adventure? This stage adaptation brings Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s brilliant story to life with songs, laughter, a sprinkling of snow and a lot of adventure. It’s a fun-packed furry treat for little ones and for their big’uns too.
What do you think it is about this much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler that translates so well to the stage?
It’s a great story about adventure and facing your fears that resonates with all ages. Julia’s fabulous rhymes are beautiful, and Axel’s drawings conjure up a whole world of crisp snow filled wonder. Following a young protagonist as she sets out on a big adventure is hugely appealing for audiences young and old. On stage the characters can be expanded – we can introduce you fully to snake, owl and fox and get to see a snippet of their lives in the Deep Dark Wood as well as having the opportunity to get to know the Gruffalo’s Child herself.
What’s been the biggest challenge in getting The Gruffalo’s Child to the stage in these unprecedented times?
We’re all faced with uncertainty at the moment, so we’ve probably got a sense of what it must have felt like for the Gruffalo’s Child to step out into the Deep Dark Wood! We’ve worked extremely hard with the wonderful team at Alexandra Palace to make a safe and secure environment for our audiences. We’re only selling every other row (so you will always have an empty row behind and in front of you), and each booking will find two empty seats on either side of them – allowing lots of space for social distancing. There’s a one way system in place and plenty of hand sanitiser for our audiences to use. It’s definitely been a challenge but we all deserve a lovely day out this Christmas and we can’t wait to bring live theatre safely to audiences at Alexandra Palace – and to welcome folk to the ice rink, Santa’s Grotto and to the beautiful grounds of Alexandra Palace for a festive treat!
How has your role as Director had to adapt as a result of this new way of working?
We’ve needed to work fast, adapt quickly and be ready for any new government announcement to ensure that we are one step ahead, always keeping our cast, crew and audiences safe at all times. A year ago who could have predicted that we’d be taking temperatures, covid testing and wearing masks in our rehearsals room! It’s certainly been a difficult time, but we’re thrilled that after nearly a year away from the stage, we’re able to bring some festive fun to a live audience this Christmas.
Why do you feel it’s important that children (and their grownups) still get to experience live theatre this Christmas?
This has been a difficult year for everyone, young and old (and even for those of us in the middle!) We have never needed to laugh, smile and escape for a while as much as we do now. Live theatre gives audiences a chance to do that, to be actively engaged together, to laugh together, to cheer together, to root for the hero together – there’s nothing quite like it.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see The Gruffalo’s Child?
People are understandably nervous to venture out this year, but we all really need a great day out and the chance to laugh and have fun. Alexandra Palace has vast and beautiful grounds, free parking, big open interior spaces to provide easy social distancing and to top it all an ice rink and Santa’s Grotto. It might feel like more of an adventure this year – but it’s the perfect Christmas treat for the whole family. Bring your little monsters along for a roaring good time…
Main Image: Co directors Toby Mitchell and Olivia Jacobs during the building of Tall Stories new Studio in Islington