Daniel Jenkins, director of Gretel and Hansel and father of two
The Little Company’s next production in March 2019, Gretel and Hansel, is based on the beloved Grimm Brothers fairy tale, but features a pair of very real siblings who fight over almost everything. We catch up with director Daniel Jenkins and find out what it’s been like working on this play and how he has drawn from his own experience as a father of two children.
What inspired you to direct Gretel and Hansel?
Hansel and Gretel is such a well known classic fairytale, and has always been a favourite of mine. From very young I remember being excited by the children’s journey through the forest, their delight at finding a house made of candy (every 5 year old’s dream!) terrified of the witch, and overjoyed when they were finally safe back home. It's a fairytale with a little bit of everything, humour, excitement, suspense, happily ever afters and of course candy!
The original Grimm Brothers’ fairytale Hansel and Gretel is so well-known. Are there any challenges you face in bringing Gretel and Hansel to life?
Our version is quite different from the original in that it tells the story from Gretel’s point of view. We stick to the traditional plot, with the forest, candy house and witch, but our focus is very much about siblings and how sharing the love of a father and mother can be difficult. Most children enjoy play-acting or performing stories for each other and their parents, in our version Gretel and Hansel do just that by re-enacting their story in many creative and imaginative ways. The challenge has been making sure that the story contains the thrill and excitement of the original whilst still making it fun and entertaining for our young audiences, and I’m sure our audience will enjoy joining Gretel and Hansel on their adventure, knowing of course that our heroes will be safe and everything ends happily ever after.
Tell us more about the actors playing the roles of Gretel and Hansel?
I’ve been lucky to cast two wonderfully talented and inventive actors. Both Joshua and Tia have great chemistry and from the very first rehearsal were playing and laughing together. They have such great energy and have really brought Gretel and Hansel to life with humour, sensitivity and fun.
So, Gretel and Hansel is a story about a jealous sister and her self-centred brother. Can you share with us your feelings and thoughts as a father to two young children while directing this play?
As a father of two (my son Dylan and daughter Lily) I know about sibling rivalry all too well. Luckily both my children get along well and are very supportive and encouraging of each other, most of the time! Of course they still need reminding sometimes. What’s been lovely for me working on this show is that it has reminded me as a parent to be patient and supportive of my children. To remember that they both need equal love and support often in different ways, and to help them to build their relationship too. That communication is vital in any relationship and to find time to sit down and share our thoughts as a family and really try to listen and support each other.
Why should parents bring their children to watch Gretel and Hansel?
Gretel and Hansel will be a fantastically fun show for children to enjoy, full of humour, suspense, action and excitement. Oh and did I mention candy! :) For children with or without siblings, it's a show about acceptance, getting along with each other, families and love. With a wonderful happy ever after to finish with.
Gretel and Hansel opens 13 March 2019, so get your tickets here and treat the whole family to a heartwarming tale of discovery and family unity. Enjoy 15% savings when you buy a Family Package of 4, or if you’re a PAssion CArd member, use it to enjoy a 10% discount!