Scottish Ballet stage shortened Wee Hansel & Gretel for younger audiences
60-minute version of 2013 winter show is aimed at children
As full of wonder, magic and charm as Scottish Ballet’s new Christmas show is, when you’re still growing your attention span, two hours can feel like an awfully long time.
Which is why, for the second year running, Scottish Ballet is staging a condensed production specially for younger audiences, with a running time of just 60 minutes. But when the company is already busy rehearsing the full-length version of Hansel & Gretel, what prompted them to add another task to the to-do list?
‘It’s really important for us to inspire audiences of all ages,’ says artistic director Christopher Hampson. ‘It’s an exciting experience to go to the theatre, and see a story come to life in front of your eyes at any age – but for younger audiences it can be truly magical. Our version for very young families is simply a wee version of the big ballet. It tells the same story but at only an hour long, and with lots of little treats for young children including an introduction and a chance to see some of the dancers up close in costume.’
Prior to choreographing the show, Hampson and his team held dance, visual art and writing workshops with people of all ages across Scotland, the results of which were ploughed into the production. Which made shaping Wee Hansel & Gretel that bit easier.
‘One of the really lovely things about our outreach project was that I was able to see just what parts of the story people identified with,’ says Hampson. ‘And it’s those elements that I’ve focused on for Wee Hansel & Gretel. For example, a lot of children really identified with the birds in the forest, and were fascinated by how they shaped the story. So we have a group of ravens in our production – and they’ll definitely feature in Wee Hansel & Gretel.’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 20 & Mon 23 Dec; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 10 Jan