Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan



Alice Through the Looking-Glass begins previews The Avon Theatre

Alice Through the Looking-Glass - Stratford Festival

Twenty years after its Stratford première, Alice Through the Looking-Glass returns to the Avon Theatre in a spectacular new production directed by Jillian Keiley, Artistic Director for English Theatre at the National Arts Centre, and designed by award-winning designer Bretta Gerecke. Lewis Carroll's classic story, adapted for the stage by Stratford native James Reaney, begins previews on Wednesday, April 30.

Ms Keiley and Ms Gerecke make their Stratford debuts with this production. While staying true to the spirit and joy of the original story, the pair push the boundaries of the creative process to create an exhilarating theatre event. A visual masterpiece, the production features a stunning set and extraordinary props, including bubble balls, confetti cannons, mini parachutes, sparklers, bouncy horses, bubble machines and other surprises.

"As children take inspiration from their own lives, Bretta and I have planned a world as created by the child Alice - full of bicycles and toy wagons, kites and chessboards," says Ms Keiley. "But since this world is through the looking-glass, bicycles have giant trees growing out of the handlebars, red toy wagons inspire a flotilla for the Queen's entrance, and the kings and queens of chessboards join all the characters from Alice's mounds of books. Our goal is to tap into that wonderful world of seven-year-olds, where anything is not only possible but likely, and the only thing you can reasonably expect is the unexpected."

Exploring the farthest reaches of Alice's imagination will be a fun way to delve into this season's theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

"A child's imagination is perhaps the ultimate example of a mind pushed to the edge, and Alice's imagination is the most eccentric of them all," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. "With the show's flamboyant design, magnificent artistry and delightful audience interactions, this show is an ideal introduction to the stage for young audiences."

"After years of wanting to see Jillian at the Festival, I'm so proud to have her here at last to direct Alice Through the Looking-Glass. And designer Bretta Gerecke is one of the most gifted and imaginative in the country. I was fortunate enough to work with Bretta on my production of Enron at Theatre Calgary in 2012, and to have her here now means so much to me. I can't wait to see the audience's reaction to the endless list of theatrical tricks these two have up their sleeves."

Trish Lindström    Cynthia Dale   Dion Johnstone      Tom McCamus Brian Tree

Audiences can look forward to seeing iconic characters played by many Festival favourites, including Trish Lindström as Alice, Cynthia Dale as the Red Queen, Dion Johnstone as the White King, Tom McCamus as the March Hare and Brian Tree as Humpty Dumpty.

In addition to Ms Keiley and Ms Gerecke, the artistic team includes Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell, Composer Jonathan Monro, Sound Designer John Gzowski, Dramaturge Bob White, Fight Director John Stead and Choreographer Dayna Tekatch.

"In creating this production, the artistic, performing and production teams reached deep inside to find their own seven-year-old selves," says Ms Keiley. "They pulled those little imps out to invent, paint, sing, dance, learn, build, and make each other laugh. It's that seven-year-old 'you' that we welcome to come out and play with us today."

The movie is available on DVD and video. Alice Through the Looking-Glass opens on May 31 and runs until October 12. For tickets, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit stratfordfestival.ca

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