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Modern spin on classic fairytale to be Christmas star in London

Arts

Christmas at London’s Southbank Centre will have a distinctly Australian flavour this year. Performers from South Australia’s Windmill Theatre and State Theatre Company will present Rumpelstiltskin at Queen Elizabeth Hall as the centrepiece 2018 Christmas show.

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The adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairytale, Rumpelstiltskin, co-written by Rosemary Myers and Julianne O’Brien premiered at South Australia’s Dunstan Playhouse in 2016.

The production received rave reviews nationally and sold out performances throughout the season. The team behind the production have since spun gold to land the prime spot in London.

Rumpelstiltskin will play a four-week season in the 915-seat theatre at the recently redeveloped Southbank Centre, from 13 December 2018 to 6 January 2019. Organisers are expecting thousands to attend the 30-show Christmas pantomime.

“At its best, theatre pushes the limits of what we think of as possible – wonder, excitement, spectacle and mischief can have such an impact on the audience,” says Senior Programmer for Performance and Dance at Southbank Centre Rupert Thomson.

“This wonderful adaptation of the Rumpelstiltskin story masterfully achieves all these things and more, in a spectacularly visual production we are delighted to be premiering for UK audiences at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.”

Paul Capsis as Rumpelstiltskin in the South Australian production that will play in London in December. Picture: Shane Reid.

A contemporary take on the classic fairytale, the Myers/O’Brien musical adaptation features a Rumpelstiltskin who, instead of spinning gold, is an up-and-coming fashion designer, who wants to work with the King of Fashion design.

Starring Australia’s ‘King of Cabaret’, Paul Capsis, as the protagonist imp, the production is a bold, brightly coloured, eccentric theatrical experience.

The flamboyant reinvention was awarded Best Show – Musical/Opera at the 2017 Adelaide Theatre Guide Curtain Call Awards and was nominated for two 2017 South Australian Ruby Awards, including Best Work.

State Theatre Company Executive Director Jodi Glass says the upcoming performances at the iconic London venue was a source of enormous pride for both companies.

With a strong reputation for their development of new theatre for children, teenagers and families, Windmill has fast become one of the leading exporters of arts and culture to the world – having delivered 225 live theatre performances to audiences across 46 cities in 2017 including Beijing and Shanghai.

Paul Capsis as Rumpelstiltskin in the 2016 Adelaide premiere. The South Australian production will play in London in December. Picture: Shane Reid.

South Australian theatre has a strong, international reputation for quality productions, and the originality of and excitement of their voice. The London run of Rumpelstiltskin follows the international success of the two companies’ co-production of Pinocchio at the New Victory Theatre in New York in 2015.

“What I think distinguishes South Australia is we have three extraordinary companies making work for young audiences – Windmill, Patch, and Slingsby,” says Glass.

“The fact that those three companies make work that internationally, people beg to see, is a wonderful thing for our state. To see works of scale touring outside of South Australia is really significant for the Arts here,” says Glass.

The Windmill Theatre Co. and State Theatre Company co-production of Rumpelstiltskin runs from 13 December to 6 January at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre.

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