Alice in Wonderland
World Premiere! Featuring 19 original songs.
Adapted for the stage by PETER HINTON
Music by ALLEN COLE
Based on the book by LEWIS CARROLL
Directed by PETER HINTON
Musical direction by ALLEN COLE
Choreography by DENISE CLARKE
Set designed by EO SHARP
Costumes designed by WILLIAM SCHMUCK
Lighting designed by KEVIN LAMOTTE
Projections designed by BETH KATES and BEN CHAISSON
Sound designed by JOHN LOTT
Conducted by PAUL SPORTELLI
“I’ve never seen a rabbit with a pocket watch before … or a waist-coat pocket to take it out of, for that matter.”
On a summer day in 1862, ten-year old Alice and her two sisters were told a story about a little girl, a white rabbit and a trip down a hole into an astonishing world. The tale of Alice’s adventures underground became one of the best-selling books of all time and this beloved story is brought to life in a newly commissioned adaptation, written especially for the Shaw acting company. Delight in the stunning visuals and theatrical magic as we meet the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle and the Queen of Hearts and watch Alice try to make sense of this world of grown-up nonsense. A magical, musical experience for adults and children alike!
“Three years ago, Peter Hinton came to me with the idea of adapting Alice in Wonderland specifically for our company. I was thrilled. We assembled a crack creative team who have since worked tirelessly – meeting, workshopping, rethinking, recreating, re-workshopping … and on. The result is a beautiful piece of theatre that merges a deep love and knowledge of the Victorian period with striking, innovative contemporary technology – truly a feast for all members of the family.” —JM
ASL performance: Sunday June 12, 2pm
This show is recommended for ages 8+.
Running time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including one intermission.
Original Music and Music Director
Assistant Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Mr Reginald Hargreaves
Mr Aubrey Harcourt
Queen of Diamonds
Miss Agnes Grace Weld
King of Spades
Queen of Hearts
King of Diamonds
Queen of Spades
King of Hearts
Knave of Hearts
150 years since its first publication, Alice’s adventures continue to inspire, delight, confound and amaze both children and adults. It has been endlessly studied and analyzed and artists of all kinds continue to want to re-tell this story in new ways. From the beginning, it was a ground-breaking book – a children’s story told almost for the first time from the point of view of the child rather than the adults. And it was not a story about how good children ought to behave with moralizing, adult narrators. Rather, Carroll told the story from the point of view of a smart, strong-minded girl who, when she falls down a rabbit hole, Alice must, on her own, face the nonsense of the grown-up and Victorian world of Wonderland.
What readers of the original story may not know as much about is the book’s author – Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. He was born in 1832 at Daresbury, Cheshire. He went to Christ Church, Oxford where he became a Senior Student and lived there for the rest of his life. He was a Mathematical Lecturer and was admitted to deacon’s orders in 1861 but did not proceed to priest’s orders, likely due to a speech impediment. He was a noted photographer, a prolific diarist, letter-writer and pamphleteer; and although in some ways reclusive, he had a wide range of acquaintances in literary and theatrical circles. His two most famous books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1872), were inspired by his friendship with Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church.
When Alice Liddell was 10 years old, she and her two sisters – older sister Lorina and younger sister Edith – went on a boat trip with Dodgson and the Rev. Robinson Duckworth (a name worthy of Wonderland) and on that trip, Dodgson told them the story he called “Alice’s Adventures Underground” (which he invented on the spot). As a grown-up Alice later recalled, “I think the stories he told us that afternoon must have been better than usual, because I have such a distinct recollection of the expedition, and also, on the next day I started to pester him to write down the story for me, which I had never done before. It was due to my ‘going on‘ and importunity that, after saying he would think about it, he eventually gave the hesitation promise which started him writing it down at all …The result was that for several years, when he went away on vacation, he took the little black book about with him, writing the manuscript in his own peculiar script, and drawing the illustrations. Finally the book was finished and given to me. But in the meantime, friends who had seen and heard bits of it while he was at work on it, were so thrilled that they persuaded him to publish it.”
The process of adapting this book into a play at the Shaw Festival began five years ago when artistic director Jackie Maxwell and director Peter Hinton began a conversation about a play to do at The Shaw that was inclusive of children that adults would equally enjoy. As Alice in Wonderland is the second most published book in all languages after the Bible, this story clearly appeals to many. The idea of adapting Alice for the Shaw Festival seemed like a natural fit, with its Victorian setting. And you cannot look at the lifespan of Bernard Shaw without running into Carroll at some point. One of Charles Dodgson’s dearest friends was the actress Ellen Terry, a great associate and champion of Shaw. It was her enthusiasm for the “Alice” books that led to the first stage adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1886. The production was directed by H. Saville Clarke (and authorized by Dodgson himself) and began the long and spectacular history of adaptations of the stories for the stage and other media.
In a story where a girl grows and shrinks from 28 feet to 8 or 9 inches, cries a pool of tears that both she and animals must swim in, and a huge game of croquet is played with flamingo mallets and hedgehog balls, a top design team must be involved in the making of the production from the start. Designers Eo Sharp (set), William Schmuck (costumes) Kevin Lamotte (lighting) and Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson (projections), together with Peter Hinton (who both wrote the adaptation and will direct the production) have been at work looking at how to tackle these challenges and what kind of world Alice’s adventures will take place in. Staying true to the Victorian world the story was originally set in will be central to the production while, at the same time, looking at how modern technology can help bring this fantastical story to life. Music will also be central to the production and our production includes 19 original songs by Allen Cole. The story included many songs – many of which were popular tunes of the day, and some, like “Twinkle Twinkle little bat” take familiar children’s songs and turn them into Wonderland nonsense. But many others will be original compositions by Allen, using lyrics from the book.
May 18-20 and September 28-30
Calling all theatre lovers! Meet the creative minds behind theatre-making at the Shaw Festival, from play selection to play direction. Includes: four plays, three lunches, presentations, and parking. From $395.
How Did You Do That?!
May 27 – August 26
Following Friday matinees of Alice in Wonderland, join us for a chat with a member of the creative team. Learn how the stage magic comes together to tell a story. Complimentary.
Learn from the pros! All workshops led by Shaw artists and professionals. One workshop: $55; all three workshops: $150.
Alice Backstage Tour
July 7, 14, 22, 28 and August 5, 12, 18, 26 | 11am
Follow the white rabbit down the hole to explore the world backstage at the Festival Theatre and learn about Alice in Wonderland. Fun for the whole family. $10. $5 with ticket to a performance.
Book Beyond the Stage events at 1.800.511.7429.
Shaw Acting Camp
August 2-12, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm
Presented by Shaw Festival and Carousel Players for ages 10 to 13 years
Working with Shaw Festival professionals, participants will sharpen their performance skills through fun workshops and scene study. Classes held at Carousel Players in St Catharines. To register, call Carousel Players 905.682.8326 ext 22 or email email@example.com
ALICE BACKSTAGE TOUR
$10. $5 with ticket to a performance.
ALICE PICNIC LUNCH
MAD HATTER TEA PARTY
$40 per person; $25 for kids under 12.
The very chic and modern, four-diamond, five-star hotel in the heart of Niagara wine country directly across from the Outlet Collection at Niagara.
1.800.263.5766 or 905.688.2550
From $179 – Package includes:
- Superior accommodations
- $20 breakfast credit
- A bottle of VQA wine to welcome you upon arrival
- NEW! In celebration of the world premiere of Alice in Wonderland, sign your children up for an Alice-themed kids program for $10 per child. Exclusive to White Oaks.
SHOP THE SHAWP at the Festival Theatre!
It is brilliant, creative theatre! Thank you Shaw Festival for reminding us how important it is, how wonderful it is, to imagine. – Facebook
Don’t miss it! Totally amazing and absolutely stunning!
Wow … the costumes and effects were amazing.
… the scenery, the music, the actors, and the costuming people and everyone was absolutely superb!!
Everyone owes it to themself to venture down the rabbit hole at The Shaw’s new magnificent production of Alice in Wonderland.
Bring your children, bring your grandmother, bring anyone you can – but see it!
The show was fantastic!! Loved it! Alice was excellent and the Queen of Hearts was perfect!
To say that it was outstanding is an understatement! It was “over-the-top” fabulous from the sets, the technical devices, the incredible costumes to the superb acting!
Alice in Wonderland was incredible! The set and visuals were breathtaking!