Something strange is brewing in the labyrinth beneath Shoreditch Town Hall: A witch surrounded by golden hair blinds a prince. Seven beds are left unmade. An old woman and her granddaughter gasp for air as they clamber from the entrails of a wolf. A snake slithers toward a soldier buried alive in his wife’s tomb. A father unknowingly sucks flesh from the bones of his missing son.
‘Grimm Tales’, the world debut of an extraordinary theatrical reimagining of world renowned author Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales for Young and Old, will take place from 14 March – 24 April 2014 in one of London’s most vibrant areas. This is the first time you will be able to physically interact with the series’ unforgettable characters and scenes within a visceral depiction.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales: You have heard the dark stories, passed them on, seen them on screen, listened to them on the radio, endlessly thumbed through the book kept from your childhood and know them as the back of your hand. Now, with a unique production coming to London this March, you can experience them, touch them, feel and live them.
Built in 1865, half a century after The Brothers Grimm recorded their infamous folklore, the darkened basement of Grade II landmark building Shoreditch Town Hall will play host to the living tableaux. Audiences will be led through its mutated corridors and rooms, encountering its inhabitants and undergoing a completely immersive journey through the surreal world of the fairy tale.
Shifting transiently between voyeur and adventurer, familiar stories will unfold mere inches from you before abruptly disbanding, leaving you alone to explore the richly enchanted world and discover hidden corners, secret paths and morsels of fragmented stories that force you to forget any reality dwelling outside.
Pullman said of the adaptation: “Nowadays we think of these wonderful tales as something from a book, but the great collection of the Brothers Grimm was published only two hundred years ago. The tales are much older than that, and they were originally told orally, not written down, so a dramatic production seems like a return to their origin. I’m sure the tales will flourish in this setting, and I greatly look forward to seeing how they come to life.”
Behind the bringing-to-life of these renowned tales is a seasoned creative team: Philip Wilson, Director and Adaptor of ‘Grimm Tales’, previously Artistic Director and joint Chief Executive at the Salisbury Playhouse and director of 2013 Edinburgh Fringe triumph ‘Three Lions’. The Old Vic Tunnel’s Valerie Coward, with 20 years of experience producing immersive theatre shows, will produce, along with Cat Botibol, Creative Development Director for agency pd3, an award-winning creative outfit lauded for its work in culture marketing and bespoke branded experiences as Executive Producer.
Director Philip Wilson said, “This immersive production will translate the exuberant pace of the stories’ plots into raw action, just as vividly as Pullman and the Grimm Brothers did in turning spoken fairy tales into the prevailing page-turners of their time.”
Transforming the venue and masterminding the folkloric aesthetic is Set & Costume designer Tom Rogers, whose recent credits include Moominland Winter (National Tour), Happy Days: A New Musical (National Tour) and My Judy Garland Life (Nottingham Playhouse); along with composer and sound designer Richard Hammarton, whose credits include Sizwe Bansi is Dead (Young Vic) and Fault Lines (Hampstead Theatre); and Lighting Designer Howard Hudson – La Cage Aux Folles (Aarhus, Denmark); Cornelius (59E59, New York) and Titanic(Southwark Playhouse) – who will orchestrate the vivid and illusory atmosphere of ‘Grimm Tales.’
Suitable for adults and their brave children ages 8 and up. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.