No Twaddle bring a classic tale to life through immersive theatre

Published: Monday 26th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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No Twaddle Theatre are setting up shop (well, a forest inside a shop) on Holderness Road to bring local children an immersive theatre experience.

The much-loved fable of Hansel and Gretel will be retold through a contemporary interactive show that welcomes kids into a whole new world.

We caught up with Artistic Director, Matilda Harper, to discover more about this unusual style of performance.

“We chose this classic tale because it’s a story that people already know. But we wanted to make it into something that audiences have never seen before,” she tells us.

“We wanted to make the familiar become strange and to create a fun and interactive piece for children to enjoy.”

No Twaddle specifically chose Holderness Road as their venue to directly engage the local community in the arts:

“Before 2017, there weren’t many cultural events happening in the area. We want to excite residents about theatre and show people that there is much more to it than sitting back and watching actors perform on a stage.”

The Taboo Youth Initiative has been transformed into a forest setting that’s perfect for the magical narrative of Hansel and Gretel: “There’s a lot of bamboo and camo net, but it looks incredible now that it’s finished.”

In the performance, there is no seating unless it is required by audience members. The children are free to explore the space as they please and truly involve themselves in the story. They can watch the piece unfold from any angle.

“Many parts of the show allow the little ones to join in. They can then vote on chalkboards to decide the outcome of certain scenes,” Matilda explains.

There will also be a vote on social media each morning to decide the ultimate ending to each tale.

“The show will begin with a short piece of shadow puppetry, but the rest mainly focuses on the interaction between Hansel and Gretel and the children,” Matilda explains. “And the witch, of course, will appear at some point too, who is played by me.”

No Twaddle are a relatively new theatre group, developing Pop-Up Playhouse especially for Hull UK City of Culture. This one-of-a-kind show reimagines a well-known fairy tale and presents theatre in a very different way.

“The lovely thing about it is that the play is a game. The children are so much more invested in it because they are involved,” Matilda adds.

“The kids are in a safe space, but they also learn a lot of lessons from the performance. The main message is how to look after yourself and that’s important for a child’s development.”

Entry to Pop-Up Playhouse: Hansel and Gretel is absolutely free and runs twice daily at 3:30pm and 5:30pm until Monday 3 July.

“Whilst the event is technically sold out, we encourage you to pop down if you’re in the area,” adds Matilda. “Chances are that we may have spaces if some people who have reserved free tickets don’t turn up on the day.”

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Published: Monday 26th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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