Enchanting festive family tale heads to Washington

Mark Pearce, Paula James and Mei Mac in Snow Child
Mark Pearce, Paula James and Mei Mac in Snow Child
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Snowflakes will fall on Arts Centre Washington for an enchanting tale of family, love and the power of dreams.

Aimed at children aged three and over and families, Snow Child promises to transport audiences to a winter wonderland via inventive storytelling.

Emma Reeves

Emma Reeves

It’s from the pen of Olivier-nominated playwright Emma Reeves, who adapted the tale for the stage.

“When they came to me with the idea I thought it sounded like a really perfect Christmas show,” she explained. “It’s a lovely idea, but it appeals on deeper levels too.

“On the surface it’s a magical show, but it also has a lot to say too, about families and the difficulties of being in a family and the reality of that.”

The tale is brought to life by Tutti Frutti Theatre Company.

It’s set as the first snow falls when a lonely couple, who watch the village children play, yearn for a child of their own. They build a small figure from the ice and snow, and wish hard until the strength of their longing brings the magical snow child to life before their eyes.

As she dances in the wild landscape and talks with the animals, she brings joy, fun and laughter to the whole village. But as the seasons turn, the audience find out whether the Snow Child and her parents will live happily ever after.

Emma said: “It appealed as a story because it has heart and depth and it was a story I felt I could engage with. I felt for the characters and felt it was a story that says something.

“Director Wendy Harris approached me with her plans for adapting the old Russian tale, The Snow Child and I was instantly intrigued and could see how it could form the basis of a show which addressed fundamental questions about parents and children and, generally, what it means to be human. Like all the best legends, there are many versions available, some of which end happily, others not so much. But the central story is always there – two parents who yearn for a child so much that their very love and desperation wills her into being, and a child who loves her parents but doesn’t understand them – and vice versa.”

And she says children make for a very honest audience.

“Children have a very truthful reaction. It’s very gratifying. There’s some lovely moments in the show, when the snow’s being blown and the children really respond to that,” she explained.

Emma added: “Going to the theatre is a very important, special experience for children. To actually have real actors perform live for them is a very exciting experience.”

Last year Emma Reeves adapted Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather for the stage and was subsequently nominated in the Best Entertainment & Family category at the 2015 Olivier Awards. Emma has also written some episodes for the forthcoming television version of Hetty Feather.

•Snow Child is at Arts Centre Washington from December 1-5. Tickets are £11 for adults and £10 for children from www.artscentrewashington.co.uk or Tel. 219 3455.