Norwich’s puppet theatre gears up for new version of Red Riding Hood

A much-loved classic folk-tale is set to come to life as a director whose career started at Norwich Puppet Theatre 30 years ago returns to the venue.

The puppet theatre's production of Red Riding Hood is the venue's first major show produced independently since 2008 and signals a new phase in the life of the theatre.

It also sees the return of Peter O'Rourke who began his career working as a puppeteer at Norwich Puppet Theatre nearly three decades ago.

Since then he has been involved in a variety of projects in the role of puppet maker, collaborating with and working for many renowned companies, including Spitting Image.

Mr O'Rourke's adaptation of Red Riding Hood, written by Tim Kane with music composed by Ben Glasstone, goes back to the roots of the original story of Little Red Riding Hood, the Grandmother's Tale.


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Starting off with a grandmother telling her granddaughter the story of Little Red, the story takes some unexpected turns as the little heroine, with some help from two washer women, pits her wits against the wolf she encounters in the dark forest.

Mr O'Rourke, who made all the puppets himself, said: 'It's nice to be invited back, it's a lovely theatre, everyone is really warm and welcoming and there's a lovely feeling to the place.

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'My first thoughts on being invited were to ask Tim and Ben if they would like to collaborate on this project – I have worked with them on other shows and have always had a good working relationship them and value their skills.

'People can expect a lot of fun from the show. We've tried to get the right level of light and shade to the narrative and Little Red is much more pro-active and able to deal with the situation.'

The show features 18 puppets made especially for the production and expert puppeteers Shane Connolly and Zannie Fraser. The scene is set through a series of simple shapes which enable the audience to use their imagination and there are a number of songs which add humour and vibrancy.

Puppeteer Ms Fraser, who also started her career at Norwich Puppet Theatre nearly 20 years ago, said: 'I wanted to do this production because all of the puppets are so wonderfully made, there's beautifully composed music and its strongly directed.

'It's a very interesting version of the story and it's got a lot of depth to it. There are songs, a great deal of variety and some serious moments.'

The show will open with a special gala performance on the evening of Saturday, December 17 and then will run from December 19-31, excluding Christmas Day.

There are shows at 2.30pm each day plus a baby-friendly performance at 11am on December 20 and an 11am performance on Christmas Eve.

Tickets: adult �7, child �5, concessions �5.50, family �20 and Go4less child �3.

To book, call 01603 629921 or go to www.puppettheatre.co.uk.

Are you helping to promote Norwich's cultural venues? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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