Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

“So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things were really impossible!”


It’s the middle of summer and although Christmas is the last thing on most people’s minds we’re already planning our Christmas show! This year we will be putting on Alice’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland, and although it is based on the classic novel that we all know and love, this will be a retelling with a wintery twist.


We’re right at the start of the production process, so before we meet Alice and explore our Winter Wonderland through this series of blog posts, let’s look at Lewis Carroll’s original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


Lewis Carroll, actually named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, most notable for his successful writing career, was also a mathematician, logician, and photographer. He has been dubbed as the Einstein of the ‘literary nonsense’ genre; his whimsical, quirky and eccentric writing style has inspired our Christmas show, which draws inspiration from both novels.


The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland originated in the mid-nineteenth century, on a boat trip, where a little girl named Alice Liddell, daughter of Lewis Carroll’s friend Henry Liddell, asked Carroll to tell her a story. What then emerged were the beginnings of one of the most influential and iconic tales of all time, and when Carroll’s friend George Macdonald presented the incomplete manuscript to Macmillan Publishers, Carroll’s story transformed.


Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland, a fantastical place with talking animals. The adventure unfold as a dream-like series of nonsensical scenes, in which Alice is questioned by a Caterpillar, has a tea party with the Mad Hatter and plays a chaotic game of croquet with the Queen of Hearts. To top it all off, Alice is betrayed by her body which grows to the size of a giant at the most inconvenient of times and gets her into lots of trouble.


After the success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Carroll went on to write the sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Alice walks through a mirror to an alternative land, laid out like a giant chess board. The narrative is more structured than in the previous novel, in that the Red Queen challenges Alice to play her way to the eighth rank of the board to be crowned queen. On her way she meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, the White Queen and the Red Knight. The world is vividly imagined by Carroll, with its own folklore, such as the poem about the Jabberwocky.


We will be reimagining this childhood favourite story for Christmas, so expect tea parties, the White Rabbit and magical potions… with a few of our own ideas thrown in too!


Our next blog post will be from Craig Morrow, Artistic Director for Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Producer for Alice’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland. Craig will be blogging about what excites him as a theatre producer and some of the decisions made, and considerations involved, in our production.


Caitlin Clark, Arts Marketing Intern

Our New Season is Here!

As I type this, our new season brochure is at the printers and the shows will be going on sale shortly – it certainly is a busy time of year!


Following the success of last year’s The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, which played to a sell out crowd, we wanted to visit another magical land that appeals to both boys and girls. Because we’re exploring these stories at Christmas it also feels right to introduce a festive element to the proceedings, and like many great winter myths we’ve introduced a villain with a dastardly control of the elements – Jack Frost.


Dominic Symonds, our director from last year, is back in the hot seat but this time he’s writing the script as well. He’s done a really clever adaptation of the story, taking the structure of Through The Looking Glass and fusing it (or should I say freezing it) with Jack Frost’s plans to stop time and transform Wonderland into an icy kingdom. If you’d like to find out more about Lewis Carroll and the original stories, read Caitlin’s blog post.


Can Alice find the White Rabbit, defeat Jack Frost and get back home in time for Christmas? We’ll have to wait and see but I think, with our expert creative team on-hand to realise Dominic’s artistic vision, the audience is in for a real treat as we bring the play to life.  Without giving too much away, we’ll be using the whole theatre for the performace, and I mean the whole space, right the way up to the roof, exploring the potential for flying actors through the auditorium…. It’s this flexibility as a venue that really excites me as a theatre producer, as it gives us a unique opportunity to engage with audiences in a way that is different to more traditional productions.


Once again we’ll be turning the space into an in-the-round theatre which adds to the intimacy of the performance and places you right at the heart of the action. It’s a challenge in terms of visual effects as there’s nowhere to hide anything, but it’s one our production designer Myk Hoyle is excited to get his teeth stuck into and we’ll be posting initial designs on the blog very soon, along with costume and make-up concepts from Helen Symonds.


Indeed, up until now it’s all been about the early stage prep work, but now it’s all systems go, as the cast start rehearsing from September (which will come around very quickly).


The cast is made up of final year undergraduate Drama students studying Theatre for Young Audiences, with the Christmas Show providing a unique opportunity for them to perform within a professional environment prior to graduation. They all auditioned for a role back in Easter and they really are a talented bunch. We’ve already had a photoshoot with Naomi French – who plays Alice – and I’m sure you’ll agree that she definitely looks the part already! You’ll get to hear from some of the cast about their experience on the blog once rehearsals start.

Naomi French as Alice in photo shoot for Alice's Adventures in Winter Wonderland.
Naomi French as Alice in photoshoot for Alice’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland.


In the meantime do check back here regularly as we upload more sneaky peeks behind the scenes and interviews with the creative team.


I hope you enjoy following our blog in the run up to Christmas. Please share your feedback, thoughts and questions in the comments section on this blog.


See you soon!

Craig Morrow, Producer

Artistic Director for Lincoln Performing Arts Centre