Rapunzel Reimagined – Coming to Leeds Playhouse 5 and 6 April

The classic children’s tale, with beautiful new words by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, presented by leading dance theatre company balletLORENT, comes to the Courtyard at Leeds Playhouse.

Natalie MacGillivray. Credit Neil Ferry.

The tale is told of Rapunzel becoming trapped in the tower, hiding her beauty from the world, because her hair grows so long. A Witch and her Creatures are the only company she has until a Prince is attracted by her sweet song.

Leading actor Lesley Sharp narrates. The Northern Sinfonia provides the music and a world-class collaboration of creatives provides unmissable dance theatre.

Liv Lorent MBE, Choreographer and Artistic DIrector: “In our version, the Wife and her Husband are key to our interpretation of this famous tale. In the original story, the couple who so desperately wanted a child that they stole the Witch’s rampion (a beautiful wild flower), frequently disappear from the story once their baby is taken. In our retelling, the rest of the story is told through the eyes of the parents who sustain themselves with fantasies of what could be happening to Rapunzel. In the story they write, her strong resolve allows her to escape the captivity of the Witch’s adoration and the dreaded tower, and her tenacity saves her life. Rapunzel is a role model for many of us – she’s so much more than her hair.”

Amongst the company is Leeds dancer Gavin Coward, who trained in the City with Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Since joining balletLORENT in 2001, he has become Creative Partner, taking lead dance roles, collaborating on the community cast and learning programmes and the Youth Academy.

This production includes a community cast at each venue on the tour, and in Leeds, community cast members will be children from Richmond Hill Academy School, four babies, toddlers aged 1 – 3 and their professional dancer mothers. Liv Lorent, a mother of two, casts some performers who are returning to work, in consideration of early motherhood, the effects of pregnancy and those of having given birth.

Toby Fitzgibbons an Virginia Scudelletti. Credit Luke Waddington.

James MacGillivray, Education and Projects Manager, balletLORENT: “This project aims to support dance artists who are new parents and are looking for an opportunity to return to the stage. We are not expecting or asking for any particular level of technical dance ability. The work requires performers who are uninhibited, creative, able to embody character, and who are comfortable to engage their young child in a safe and creative environment.”  

Credit Luke Waddington

Natalie MacGillivray danced with her baby, Aiden, then aged 17 months, in the premiere and is now playing Rapunzel at the Playhouse. Natalie:  “It’s always about the children being themselves. We would never encourage them to do anything they didn’t want to do. Instead, it’s about creating a performance around what they are interested in that day.”   

Leeds Playhouse
Box Office 0113 213 7700


Cover photograph Gabriela Wieckowska. Credit Luke Waddington.

Leeds Living