One poisoned apple, several well-known fairytale characters and generous portions of cake can be found at The Tramshed in the run up to Christmas, writes Holly O’Mahony…
This comes by way of resident company Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre (GLYPT), who are currently staging their Christmas show, Mike Kenny’s adaptation of Snow White, at the venue. Never ones to tread a tired track, GLYPT have sprinked the Grimms’ fairy tale with their own brand of magic, bringing silliness, new characters and even a new opening scene to the production.
“Programming the Winter Festive show is one of the most enjoyable tasks of the year and we always try and take the audience in a slightly different direction,” says GLYPT’s Artistic Director Jeremy James. “We have actually never before produced what might be considered a more traditional Christmas pantomime story,” he says. The company’s Snow White is also not a pantomime, but bears similar traits in terms of storytelling form and presentation.
Jeremy has worked in community theatre – specialising in creating shows for families and young audiences – for over 30 years, and has been GLYPT’s Artistic Director for the past 15 years, nine of which have been spent at the company’s current home, The Tramshed in Woolwich.
“Ours is very much a fun and unusual take on the Snow White story,” Jeremy says. “We meet Beryl and Bijou, two twin sisters who are hard at work in their kitchen. It’s they who create the story world of Snow White using the pots, pans and anything else they can get their hands on to tell the story.” Also new to the production – and sure to delight sweet-toothed audience members – is the hefty amount of real, edible cake involved – and yes, audience members are invited to take a slice. (No, don’t worry, it’s not poisoned.)
The creative team – two actresses, a designer, a musical director and James himself – spent three intense weeks in a studio creating the production, jointly forming its story and adding in a spattering of festive touches. “It’s been lots of fun and lots of hard work but as ever, very enjoyable for all,” says James, for whom a key part of creating a great children’s show is ensuring there are enough jokes that make the adults laugh, too. “There is always a lovely moment when mums and dads start laughing at jokes that their children maybe don’t quite get, and you can see them wondering what the adults are laughing at. Then, of course, the same thing happens the other way around.”
GLYPT’s Snow White has been up and running since December 8, playing to school groups mid-week and to families on the weekends. If you and any little ones in your care are yet to see it, the show continues to run until this Sunday, December 23. Just remember: dodge the poisoned apple and take no notice of the mirror spouting out who’s the fairest of the land, but do treat yourself to a slice of cake – it’s Christmas after all.
Snow White is on at The Tramshed, 51-53 Woolwich New Road, London SE18 6ES.
Select dates from December 8 – 23, performances at 2pm and 5pm.
Admission: £10/£8 concessions and children.