The walls of the Colyer-Fergusson Gallery are currently inviting visitors into a world of darkness, as the space presents for the first time some of the designs and the artwork leading into (and forming part of) a reimagining of the tale of Hansel and Gretel, which Goldfield Productions brings to Colyer-Fergusson in a few weeks’ time. A unique combination of live music, puppetry, projection and shadow-play, the performance brings to life a new take on the classic Brothers Grimm tale by the poet Simon Armitage, with a score by composer Matthew Kaner; the exhibition offers an evocative glimpse into the visual world in which the production takes place.
The display presents the work of artists Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Phil Cooper and Peter Lloyd, which charts the development of the design of the stage presentation, and includes some of the original drawings for a picture-book commissioned from Hicks-Jenkins by Random Spectacular, which turned out to be the starting-point for the whole project. Hicks-Jenkins also designed a cut-out-and-assemble toy theatre on the theme of Hansel & Gretel for Pollock’s Toy Shop in Covent Garden, and original gouache paintings for the toy theatre also feature in the exhibition.
The artworks occupy a wide range of media, from photography, drawing and painting, collage and paper cut-outs, including work by the Whitstable-based painter, Phil Cooper, reflecting his contributions as model-maker and scenic artist to the production.
The exhibition also features the work of paper-cut artist Peter Lloyd, who made the silhouette animation puppets of the Witch.
For the first and only time during the touring production, both the performance and the artwork which informs it are presented together on the University’s Canterbury campus, an enticing visual odyssey which hints at a fascinating performance which will fill the concert-hall on Sunday 21 October.
You can find out more about Hicks-Jenkins’ four-year project on Hansel and Gretel over the artist’s blog here. In the meantime, the gallery is open during normal working hours including at weekend; admission is free, and there is disabled access.
Hansel and Gretel (a nightmare in eight scenes) is presented by the Music Department in partnership with the Canterbury Festival; find out more about the performance here.
Clive Hicks-Jenkins : www.hicks-jenkins.com
Phil Cooper : www.phil-cooper.com