Q&A with Snow Queen director Wendy Harris

tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal are producing Snow Queen, opening at York Theatre Royal from 27th September to 13th October before going on tour nationally. Mike Kenny’s exciting adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s well-known tale that covers themes of loyalty, loss, friendship and the dangers of the unknown. 

Here’s an interview with director Wendy Harris to give you a little more insight into the brave and creative new production…

What made you want to stage Snow Queen?

We feel it’s a perfect story to tell for an autumn and winter tour. The story goes through the seasons so we enjoy summer roses and the icy snow queen’s palace. With two central protagonists as children, both girls and boys get something from the story because although it’s called Snow Queen it’s really about Kai and Gerda and their friendship. It’s lovely for the girl to be the one who rescues the boy – for a change!

Have you worked with writer Mike Kenny before?

Yes, I’ve known Mike since he wrote one of his early plays The Lost Child at Sheffield Crucible Theatre in 1989. That ages us both, but we have had a working relationship since then! He has written lots of fabulous plays for tutti frutti over the past 10 years. We are so lucky he is based in York.

Tell us about the story, characters and design of the show.

The design is lovely – if you watch the latest trailer tutti frutti has produced there is lots to see. Elsie, who is Gerda’s grandmother, is our storyteller. Kai and Gerda are best of friends until everything changes and Kai’s heart turns to ice and he is taken away by the Snow Queen. Gerda’s quest to find him involves her meeting crazy flowers, robbers and talking reindeer. You’ll need to watch the show to find out more.

What role does music play in the production?

Ivan Stott is composing amazing music and songs. The vocals in the show are going to be really important and we have cast some extraordinary singers.

Will families recognise this as a tutti frutti show?

Oh yes, it has all the elements – great design, engaging music, ensemble storytelling and some tutti frutti magic!

What next for tutti frutti?

Yellow Is the Colour of Sunshine, a play about feelings and communication by Brendan Murray, and then an eight-week tour of the USA with Underneath a Magical Moon by Mike Kenny. So lots of plans.

Sum up Snow Queen in three words

Moving, fun and magical.

Don’t miss the show when it arrives at York Theatre Royal later this month!

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