Keith Gallasch

Cameron Goodall, The Snow Queen

Cameron Goodall, The Snow Queen

Cameron Goodall, The Snow Queen

Windmill Performing Arts is an important new Adelaide-based national venture with international ambitions. The company’s Creative Producer Cate Fowler has had a long and significant history of creating and developing festivals and performances for young people in Australia. Fowler expertly brings together different creative teams for each of the company’s productions. The latest is a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen celebrating the 200th anniversary of the writer’s birth. The concept for the show came from Wojciech Pisarek, the creator of the show’s virtual world, who writes, “The Snow Queen is a ruler of virtual reality and computer games rather than snow, frost and ice. We show 2 journeys and 2 different ways of gaining experience and knowledge. Gerda goes through the real world, Kay [a boy] through the virtual. It is not about which one is better, it is about a balance between them.” Based on his PhD research at Flinders University (see RT#52, p32 for a detailed account), “5 years of experimentation”, Pisarek says, “are to be tested for the first time in a commercial theatre production. The Snow Queen character is purely digital. Some characters will have both physical and virtual representation. All the 3D characters and the digital environment will run in real time–nothing is pre-recorded.” Pisarek describes this as “a scary exercise–we will have 2 independent computer set-ups to run the show, in case one crashes.” The Snow Queen is directed by Julian Meyrick, written by Verity Laughton, designed by Eamon D’Arcy and Mark Thompson, with music by Darren Verhagen. The eagerness of Windmill to engage with new technologies in works for new audiences is a sign of a healthy embrace of innovation.

The Snow Queen, Adelaide Sep 26-Oct 4; Sydney, Apr 22-May 9 2004

RealTime issue #57 Oct-Nov 2003 pg. 29

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 October 2003