Name: Theatretrain Theatre Company
Name of Edinburgh show: ALICE
Venue: Triplex Big @ theSpace (Venue 38)
Performance time: 1:05pm
Show length: 45 mins
Ticket price: £8 / £6 concession
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Next year, marks my 10th year as the Centre Director for Theatretrain Reading, a vibrant performing arts school that trains young people aged 4-18+ years. As well as directing and choreographing numerous plays, musicals and dance shows for Theatretrain and other schools and organisations, I have also directed young people in a European Theatre Exchange EDERED as well as working as a LAMDA Examinations Speech and Acting coach and Director/Choreographer for The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. I have also performed in several professional shows but my passion for many years now has been directing and choreography. In 2011, I was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen in a special evening celebrating Young People and their achievements in the Performing Arts.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
ALICE is a brand new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic. Alice doesn’t fit in with Victorian England and constantly struggles to keep up the expectations placed on her as a young woman. Tomorrow is her 13 birthday and for her, that day signals the end of the world as she knows it, as she will be forced to wear a corset ‘by day and by night’ and be forced to live with the restrictions that comes with it. On the eve of her birthday, Alice gets stuck in the corset and breaks the large mirror which propels her into our Wonderland: a circus! Here, so many strange, unique and distinctly memorable characters from the classic combine and collide… existing happily (apart from The Red Queen of course)! Wonderland is a melting pot of difference! Alice goes through an energised, chaotic journey to accept a position in the circus, to challenge the roles and costumes she is expected to wear and to find a costume that suits just her. Back in Victorian England, Alice leaves her father’s home one last time.
This is part of our press release… so you get even more of a flavour of the show! Experience the magic of Wonderland in this spectacular reinvention of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Packed with all the characters we remember and love, 14 talented actors present a physically dynamic tour-de-force through Victorian England and Wonderland. Like Alice, you will be catapulted into the strange and wonderful world of Wonderland. Alice is certainly not your typical show, Wonderland is a circus!
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We started the adaptation process two years ago with a desire to discover the classic anew and find what makes it ‘sing’ to a contemporary audience, to us and the teens that I have worked with throughout this two-year process. For us, Alice was always about self-discovery, acceptance, difference, identity, gender and sexuality and trying to find your way through all of it at once! By focusing on the restrictions imposed by Victorian England, Alice’s need to find her voice became so central so that she might find the courage to simply live as she is and not to apologise for that. The acceptance and love her father shows her is equally important and allows our work to offer another level – a real honest and tender relationship within the story.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Well, this is our Edinburgh Fringe debut, so we will be looking for top tips from you! I have enjoyed the Fringe for many years on the other side though and can honestly say how wonderful it is to try and see as many different types of show as possible, to enjoy the variety on offer, including soaking up the free entertainment!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
A Bat wanted to become our leading performer! It appeared from nowhere as the curtain arose and started flapping frantically over the audience’s heads, causing the best ever Mexican wave of screams and panic! A very dramatic and entertaining opening of the show, for the performers too this time…. Interactive audience participation at its finest!
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I have been inspired by so many Directors and Choreographers and Companies in the industry which has challenged me in my own creativity and style from Bob Fosse to Lin Manuel Miranda writing and amazing theatrical concepts, playwright Roy Williams to Shared Experience’s work led by Polly Teale. This includes Frantic Assembly and their exciting and innovative approach to explore the ensemble on stage, finding a physical dynamic that shifts the work to another level!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Other than frantically setting props… no, pre-show rituals…. Yet!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I am looking forward to see new writing that explores current stories and themes/issues that speak to now! One production that has been named as a show to see is Century Song.
I also love seeing highly creative physical theatre where the physical sequences are completely intrinsic to the storyline. I was amazed and blown away by Idle Motion’s productions of Borges and I a few Fringes ago and I can see that their sister company NOVAE theatre is back with a new production – ‘It’s not a sprint’ so I will definitely go and see that production.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Who doesn’t want to come and see an amazing retelling of a classic story? Our work is fresh and energetic and we think you will love it! Our costumes, made by Backstage at The Meath Epilepsy Charity, are amazing and you should come and see our show just for them!
Those who have seen the show already have said:
‘Speechless, I did not expect this show to be so powerful, I was blown away!’
‘Fantastic, amazing energy!’
The Mayor of Reading said:
‘Amazing performance! They brought Alice to realise her changes from a child to an independent woman who will not be bullied, ignored or equal to anyone.’
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in this exciting new chapter, you’ll be as mad as a Hatter to miss it!
We would love to welcome you ‘Through the Looking Glass’ and join ALICE in Wonderland!
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