Saturday, 31 December 2011

"Ten Best Theatre" in The Independent: Hansel & Gretel

It was great to see Hansel & Gretel listed in The Independent as one of the "Ten Best Theatre" shows today.

Wishing everyone a very happy new year, and we look forward to celebrating the start of 2012 with the final four shows on Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 January in Cambridge!

If you are elsewhere in Europe though, there is still plenty of time to catch our co-production with Kopergietery in Ghent. Twist is playing at the venue throughout January, and you can then catch it on tour - click here for more details!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Four star review from The Guardian for Hansel & Gretel

“A folksy affair, done with just the right touch of nastiness and warm-hearted playfulness… much to enjoy for all members of the family”★★★★ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

We have had a brilliant time making and playing Hansel & Gretel to thousands of school children and families throughout the run so far at The Junction, Cambridge.

On a bumper show day of 3 shows to packed audiences, Director of Hansel & Gretel, Alex Byrne reflects on the experience:

We have been thrilled at the amount of newspaper coverage for the show, and really chuffed at a four star review in The Guardian for Hansel & Gretel:

For the full review, please click here

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Opening night & the first set of reviews are in for Hansel & Gretel!!

Yesterday marked another big milestone for us – opening night for Hansel and Gretel in Cambridge. Setting the stage, the theatre foyer was transformed into a winter wonderland complete with fake snow, pine cones and real gingerbread (this is Hansel and Gretel after all!) meanwhile the scent of mulled wine filled the air teasing guests, press and audience goers who had assembled for the show ...

This morning we woke to the first set of reviews for the show. Here are some of our favourite quotes...

“With its European folk songs, physical inventiveness and clever use of puppetry... this is far from being a traditional panto”
Andrew Aldridge, The Stage

“This is one magical journey worth making in all weathers and will warm the heart on even the coldest December night”
Glen Pearce, ***** Public Reviews

"A deeply funny fairytale, tinged with pathos... the perfect embodiment of less is more"
Eleanor Turney, A Younger Theatre.

“A magical show which ventures deep into the traditions of storytelling, Hansel and Gretel is a delight for all ages and an intelligent alternative to the gaudy glitz which can often obscure the humble wonders of Christmas”
Jennifer Shelton, Cambridge News

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Guardian theatre tips - Hansel & Gretel

We were really pleased to be mention in Lyn Gardner's tips for The Guardian on shows to see in the week coming up, and an image from the show for Hansel & Gretel:

Can't wait until we open on Wednesday 7th in Cambridge!

Final rehearsals for Hansel & Gretel (UK)

We did a run through of the show today - its shaping up to be a great show, but still needs a bit of editing to make it around 60 minutes running time. A few shots below from the run through:

Hansel & Gretel with their Father (and Stepmother)

Hansel collecting pebbles to find their way home

Explaining the plan to Gretel....

Finding their way back home

In the Witch's House

Hansel being fattened up to be eaten!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Twist/Guttens hemmeligheter in Gent

What have we been up too in Gent lately:

Dagfinn has tried out how to start the day inside a carpet. It might look like that he will be there when the performance open.

Lenka and Helder in music rehersals:

Add Image

Katja have been playing a lot with cardboard:

And so have the actors:

And how to open a letter without no one noticing:
And trying out costumes:

Cutting hair:

Participating in nice receptions:

And playing with pyroeffects:

In a few days we will move out of the rehearsal space and into the theatre. Check back for more posts very soon.

Posted by Kjell Moberg. Co - Artistic Director NIE

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A gingerbread house

This is the model of our gingerbread house. Any ideas about how we can make smoke come out of the chimney??

Rehearsals start next week in Cambridge.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

More Hansel and Gretel Blog

There is a special blog for Hansel and Gretel - you can see more here:

Design meeting for Hansel & Gretel

Today we had a design meeting with Steffi who is designing the set and costumes for the show.

We also had a look at the next version of the puppets of Hansel and Gretel that we will be using for some parts of the show and I think they look really good.

Steffi had made a small set model working on our ideas about trees and branches in a forest. We also talked about some ways of using projections as part of the set.

Things are really moving on now, we also talked a lot about costumes and how the design will be used to tell the story....

More soon - the show is getting closer and closer, and tickets are selling fast!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad by Alex Byrne


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Minnenes Museum Day 1

Iva, Guri, Kai Kenneth and Marie in first days of rehearsals.

The lunchroom in Dikemark. The space we are working in is the community center inside the grounds of what was former Norway biggest mental hospital. Nowadays its only the most dangerous patients left, and of course us…..

Elke and Kieran decided to go to get a table tennis table and stopped by in our house. My two kids did not want them to leave. More on table tennis in the next post.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Museum of Memories

While we wait for the welders we decided with Elke and Katja to make a room in cardboard. This is half a day of work showed in 9 minutes. Next week there will be actors as well!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Hansel & Gretel: set design

Alex met with Steffi today (our set designer and one of the performers in Hansel & Gretel performing this Christmas at The Junction) to talk in detail about ideas for the set design. We will transform the theatre into a forest so we are currently talking to local tree surgeons about using bits of cut-off branches in our set. Steffi has also been working on some beautiful puppets which we use in the show:

Here they are in our office at The Junction, Cambridge with a head still to be added to little Hansel!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Back in the south.

After an amazing time in the north we made it back to Oslo. We used today to do some planning for the next stage of development on North North North and on some NIE future projects.

We also managed an hour of fishing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Made it back

We made it back to Oslo without seeing a polar bear. The NIE van will now nurse us home.

We are headed south south south.

Alex and Kjell.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Friday, 2 September 2011

Last day in the town at the end of the world

North North North

It really feels like this town is at the end of the world - it is the last stop on the plane route - you can only go back from here or head out on foot for the north pole.
This is the hut on top of the hill behind Longyearbyen

And this is part of the glacier with a huge crevasse

This kern is at the top of the hill behind Ny Byen where we stayed.

We want back to museum this morning and I got a book about the various (and mostly disastrous) balloon missions the north pole.

Our plane has landed now so off we go back to Oslo.

The Abandoned Pyramiden Mining Town

On Thursday we went to the abandoned mining town called Pyramiden. It used to be a thriving Russian colony with hundreds of miners and a fully working community with a school and a clinic and all that stuff.

The Russians left in January of 1998, they left almost everything behind including lots of personal stuff - I think there was a tight limit on the amount of stuff that they could take with them, they had only a weeks notice of the decision to move them out. They left all of the mining gear and the buildings have been empty since then. Our guide Victor told us that many buildings were now locked up because too many people had taken souvenirs away with them.
We got there in a small Arctic Circle boat that Victor drove, that meant back into full exposure suits and a very cold and windy hour out on the Fjord.
The mine is a beautiful location with a view of a huge glacier just across the water but the mine itself must have been big, ugly, noisy complex when it was working, now it looks a bit forlorn.
You can see here it was quite a big complex - with its own farm for pigs and chickens and cows, a school and a swimming pool, there are still a few people staying there to look after visitors and they run a small bar....
The walk into town from the old dock took about 5 minutes.

Victor told us that this was a dangerous place because bears could sometimes be in between the buildings or around the mine and you could not see them coming in the same way that you can in open country. He carried his gun all the time. We did not see a bear, just lots of seagulls who seemed to have taken over some of the buildings.
The mine was once the pride of the Soviet system and a very popular place to work because the pay was good and the people were well looked after.

In the main square there was a children's area next to the school and an area of grass that had been shipped in from Siberia and planted here - this grass does not normally grow here (at least thats what Victor told us)
The square had a number of monuments with a kind of arctic, communist feel.

And was overlooked at the top by this bust of Lenin - looking out to the east over his Polar domain.
The sports hall was huge and impressive given the size of the community and also housed a big cultural / performance space as well.
There was also an impressive swimming pool.
Some of the buildings still had lost of stuff left inside, these are pictures of the some of the mine staff, there we also shift books and all sorts of papers in this machine room.
My favourite were the safety posters in the access walkway, some had been stolen but there were still lots left - maybe some one out there can translate this one for me?

We made it back to Longyearbyen by about 4pm. The way back was much harder in the small boat as the weather was getting worse and the wind made the weaves much bigger. Winter is coming very soon to Svalbard. Victor told us to come back in March or April to see the frozen sea and the snow.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Barentzberg - the Russian Colony

Today we went to Barentzberg - the Russian mining town about one and a half hours by boat from Longyearbyen.

It is a working mine town and everyone who works there is employed by the mine company -even the girls working in the hotel bar. The people working here get all the meals and other needsprovided by the company, so it is a small society without any cash because there is nothing to buy.
It has a proper old soviet feel - like going back to the 1980's in the middle of Russia. The people that we met were really nice to us although most of them seemed to be down the mine. We did not get time to see the most northerly pig farm in the world but we did see lots of other stuff.
This is the school - which is painted to look like Noah's ark

This is a painting of a forest to remind the workers what a forest looks like.

This is a sculpture about the future, in front of one of the mine administration buildings.

Kjell and Alex