RED RIDING HOOD

“The sun is always shining, the animals are disappearing and something in Little Wood is calling for help… Could Stratford-on-the-Down be facing some kind of natural disaster?”

‘who needs glass slippers or magic lamps when a show is as inventive as this one? … a great big glitterball of joy”
★★★★★ Sam Marlowe THE TIMES

“Miller’s take on this evergreen fable is an absolute delight… Pure magic’
★★★★★ Paul Vale THE STAGE

 

COMEDY, FAMILY AUDIENCE, FULL-LENGTH PLAY, LGBTQ+ THEMES | 7 or more performers

Read an extract from RED RIDING HOOD here

Want to perform or produce RED RIDING HOOD?

first performed by Raphael Bushay, Ashley Goh, Jodie Jacobs, Luke Latchman, Phil Nichol, Kirsty Whelan and Elise Zavou
and musicians James Doughty, Sara Farina and Perry Melius
with Anna McGarahan and Bola Okun

book and lyrics by Carl Miller
music and lyrics by Robert Hyman
directed by Robert Shaw Cameron
designed by Jean Chan
lighting design by Rick Fisher
sound design by Helen Skiera
movement director Ingrid Mackinnon
musical director James Doughty

additional credits below

MY RED RIDING HOOD JOURNEY

THE LEARNING AND PARTICIPATION TEAM AT THEATRE ROYAL STRATFOD EAST ASKED ME SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WRITING OF THE SHOW

There are many different versions of this story in which a child meets a hungry beast in the forest, is eaten, and then escapes. The first one I know of with the title Red Riding Hood is French, from over three hundred years ago, but there are stories with similar elements going back even further from China, Germany, Palestine, Turkey and many other countries. I wanted to write a version which would make Red an active child hero at the heart of the story, so I was interested to see how different versions treated her character. Some make being gobbled up a punishment for a girl who ‘strays from the path’ but I got more interested in those which explored a child’s ingenuity and generosity.

As this is the first time I have written a pantomime (although I had seen lots at the Theatre Royal and other theatres), I also researched the way this type of show has developed. Although it is now seen as a quirky British type of theatre, its roots are deep and wide, traced as far back as masked theatre in India a thousand years ago and Jewish acting companies in medieval Italy. I needed to create opportunities for song, verbal humour, physical humour, spectacle and audience participation to be true to expectations of what a ‘proper’ pantomime might be.

THEMES AND CONTEXTS

Climate change, family relationships and gender all emerged as themes which interested me. The centre of the story is the encounter between Red and Wolf – a human and an animal. I was interested in how the story perhaps had roots in competition between humans and animals for food. That connected with the current climate crisis, which poses humans important questions about how we share this world with other species (and each other).

I first came to pantomime at the Theatre Royal with my parents, and later with my own son. The idea of family – particularly of children’s relationships with parents – seemed a theme which would connect for the varied ages of the people coming to see the show. So I created the character of Wolfie, whose relationship with his dad mirrors Red’s relationship with her mum. There is also a rich tradition in pantomime of exploring gender as performance, with ‘cross-dressed’ characters like the Dame and Principal Boy. From my experience as a gay man, writing a range of characters who don’t all conform to narrow ideas of what gender identity should be was a fun and important part of the writing.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WATCH YOUR SCRIPT COME TO LIFE IN THE REHEARSAL ROOM?

One of the great things about writing a play is that actors make the words you have written on a page come alive. They can make them funnier, or more moving, and often discover things I did not consciously intend – which usually makes things better! I really enjoy how the other creative people involved in the production – director, set, costume, lighting and sound designers, composer, choreographer and others – have brilliant skills that can make things which start as words on a page become magical moments.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE REHEARSAL ROOM?

A lot of it is to be encouraging, particularly as once we are in rehearsal the clock is ticking and everyone has a huge amount to do in limited time. Sometimes it can be helpful to explain elements that aren’t entirely clear from the script (although I also need to try and make sure it makes sense before we start rehearsal!) I often see points where I feel I can make the writing stronger by making things shorter, but I have to be careful not to interfere too much and give the actors too many changes to learn.

first produced by Theatre Royal Stratford East

assistant director T D Moyo
casting director Jacob Sparrow
production manager Owen Donkin
costume supervisor Verity Sadler
company and stage manager Simon Perkins
deputy stage manager Mary O’Hanlon
assistant stage manager Sophie Alice Cooper
stage management placement Phoebe Francis
props maker Rosheen McNamee
wardrobe manager Alice Basaral
dressers Sydonie Paterson and Manisha Sondhi
head of stage Dominic Kelly

stage deputy Daniel Steward
head of lighting Deanna Towli
senior technician lighting and video Jamie Haigh
follow spot operators Tom Mychreest and Tom Wortley
lighting technician placement Jayden Hendricks-Kynaston
sound no 1 / head of sound Jeremy George
sound no 2 Ryan Jones
production sound engineer Marcia Roach
programmer Imogen Clarke
stage crew Roma Radford
set build Visual Scene and Theatre Royal Stratord East
scenic artist Jasmine Haskell

photographs by The Other Richard