Following the sell-out premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome and their regional tour back in 2018, Open Theatre Company return to the Patrick Studio to open their 2020 UK tour of The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel from Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 February 2020.

For the last 30 years Open Theatre has been working with young people with learning disabilities (YPWLD)s, creating quality theatre, film and outdoor events which reflect and celebrate their unique creativity. Open Theatre are an Associate Company of Birmingham Hippodrome; The Hippodrome Associates programme supports exciting established artists and companies to achieve their artistic ambitions by helping them to develop their work into a larger scale, explore new areas of practice and reach new and wider audiences. Each relationship is bespoke, created in response to the shared ambitions and priorities of Birmingham Hippodrome and the Hippodrome Associate.

Richard Hayhow, Director of Open Theatre Company, said; “We’re excited to be opening our national tour of The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel in our associate venue before its extensive tour across the UK. The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel allows us to support and develop the career pathways of our performers, but what’s more to showcase their talent and reflect and celebrate their unique creativity.

“With this national tour we aim to realise and celebrate the extraordinary creative potential of people with learning disabilities. We are committed to challenging preconceptions about disability and to demonstrating new artistic possibilities. We will be bringing a further two ‘Twisted Tales’ over the next three to four years, which will also tour across the UK. We hope to celebrate the artistry of performers with learning disabilities and the vital contribution that can make to the existing arts scene in this country.”

Chris Sudworth, Director of Artistic Programme at Birmingham Hippodrome said; “Birmingham Hippodrome have had a long-standing relationship with the excellent work of Open Theatre and we are extremely proud to have them as one of our Associate Companies. To see this production, which has been developed alongside Birmingham Hippodrome, now heading out on a nationwide tour means more people than ever will see the work of this extraordinary company and we are proud to have supported their journey.”

As one of the region’s leading promoters of Learning Disabled Arts, Open Theatre believe that a major barrier YPWLDs face is the perception that they will never be able to produce work of the same quality as their non-disabled peers. It’s a perception Open Theatre intend to change with The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel! The show is co-produced by Birmingham Hippodrome and sees Open Theatre collaborate with award winning MBD to create no ordinary fairytale.

The odd twist adds a bit of drama to any story, so audiences should prepare to meet a flustered storyteller and a mischievous mockingbird as they follow Hansel and Gretel deep into the forest. All is not what it seems, as the characters start to tell their own version of this peculiar adventure.

Live music, hilarious performance and a mesmerising design ensure that this play will entertain and amuse the entire family. The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel is directed by Esther Simpson, features a soundtrack by Charles Craggs and designs by Kate Unwin and is suitable for anyone aged 7 years and over.

The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel is Open Theatre Company’s first show in the ‘Twisted Tales’ trilogy, and features five actors with learning disabilities with others working backstage In this way Open Theatre believe they have a chance to shift perceptions regarding what YPWLD can achieve and to increase access to the arts, both for the performers and for their audience members.

Following the opening at the Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio next month The Twisted Tales of Hansel and Gretel will tour regionally and nationally before concluding at the Guilbenkian in Canterbury on Saturday 02 May 2020. Relaxed Performances are being offered at the Hippodrome and at the majority of venues on tour. Relaxed Performances are perfect for a child experiencing theatre for the first time and/or children and families who might benefit from a more chilled-out environment for whatever reason, including those with an autism spectrum condition or learning disability. Visual Story Guides and accessible literature are available to support the audiences’ enjoyment and comfort whilst within the venue.

Open Theatre presents The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel at Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio from Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 February 2020, for more info and to book click here.