29 Mar 2012
India calling: will Trestle be touring the Unicorn’s stunning Snow Queen to India this Summer?
I had a delightful time, as Movement Director, collaborating with director Rosamunde Hutt on the Unicorn’s 2011 Christmas show, The Snow Queen, set in India. Trestle has developed an Indian influenced physical theatre language, following our Indian/UK collaboration in 2006-7. Rosamunde asked me to bring my experience of interpreting classical Indian movement into contemporary character work and physical storytelling to the Unicorn process.
Drawing on Indian dance (mudra hand gestures), martial arts (kalaripayattu), rasas and archetypal characters, we created a world for The Snow Queen in which a contemporary teenager could exist alongside a classical goddess and an ancient tree.
Indian based writer Anupama Chandrasekhar created a compelling version of the Hans Christian Anderson tale translated into an epic journey from the southern most tip of India up to the Himalayan Mountains. The British Council’s ‘Connections through Culture’ scheme made this commission possible. I first met Anupama in Chennai, her home city, in 2002, when I was researching young people’s theatre in India for the Unicorn (at the time I was Unicorn’s Associate Director). Anupama shared a spark of interest in writing for children and families and I was so pleased to work with her a decade later on her fabulous first script for young audiences.
Ten thousand people saw the production at the Unicorn Theatre, which was a resounding success, and there has been great interest in touring the show to India. The leading South Indian Hindu Metro Plus Theatre Festival has invited the production to Chennai and Coimbatore in August 2012. There is also the possibility of touring to Mumbai and Bangalore.
Trestle, with our experience of touring and international collaboration, has become the leading UK partner for the potential tour. We are planning, fundraising and negotiating along with the British Council in India & the UK and the creative team to make this adventure possible; taking the piece to the writer’s home would complete this cultural connection. The production really could encourage new writing for young audiences in India and inspire more touring of thrilling young people’s theatre internationally. Soon we will know if it is going ahead…..