Wee Red to Thrill Youngsters

A modern-day version of the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood is to be presented at a series of venues across South Tyneside.

Wee Red and Her Wolf will be part of the Cultural Spring’s Bite-Size Theatre commission which will deliver four short pieces of theatre, new writing and participatory arts experience that will tour community venues across the borough in the coming weeks. The Cultural Spring, an Arts Council England funded project, aims to increase participation in the arts in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Wee Red will be the first of the four pieces to be delivered, and will be playfully told by its writer Laura Lindow at Whitburn Parish Hall (February 24 at 12.30pm); South Shields Scout Hut (February 25 at 12 noon); Jarrow Hall (March 10 at 12.15pm); The Customs House (March 11 at 12 noon) and Bilton Hall Community Trust (March 25 at 11am).

Wee Red is being produced by Natalie Querol, from The Empty Space: “Laura and I first started talking about reworking a fairytale about three years ago. We wanted to update a traditional story to make it more relevant to young people today, and with Wee Red we’re looking at those first moments when a young person is away from the watchful gaze of a parent or guardian and needs to take responsibility for themselves,” she explained.

“It’s the story of Wee Red, her over-protective brother Ivar, who runs a soup factory, their grandmother Granny Gonk, and, of course, The Wolf,” said Laura, who won critical praise recently for War of the Worlds, a touring production she wrote for Northern Stage.

“Wee Red is written for young people aged seven and above, and their families, and we’ve not sanitized the fairytale for young people – it’s not a ‘vegetarian’ ending,” Laura added.

The performance will be accompanied by a soundscape created by local musician Katie Doherty, who has been working in collaboration with young people at workshops across South Tyneside.

“It’s a funny, engaging story and the accompanying music and sound effects will play an important part in the telling of the story,” explained Laura.

“Ivar is very interested in health and safety, while Granny Gonk prefers allowing people to explore their own boundaries, allowing wild things to be wild. Our story doesn’t say which approach is right or wrong, just that knowledge provides protection against dangers,” she added.

Each of the four bite-sized theatre pieces includes a meal, with the hour-long performances timed at lunchtime or teatime to incorporate a meal.

“Once our story has been told Laura will enjoy a bowl of Granny Gonk’s soup and cheese sandwiches with the audience,” explained Natalie. “We’ve worked with the Cultural Spring to identify some interestingly different venues – one of the main principals behind the Bite-size project is to ensure the performances are easily accessible within communities, and there will be no barriers preventing anyone from attending.”

The other three shows are Best in the World, a tale of personal achievement told through the world of darts; The Annual Walter Plinge Memorial Lecture in which Eric MacLennan explores true and not-so-true South Tyneside stories, and Becoming Scheherazade, a play incorporating some of the Arabian Nights stories with the real story of one family’s migration from Iraq to England.

For more details and to buy tickets, please click here.