Queensland Ballet’s Greg Horsman has created an immersive live theatre experience for children and the young at heart that brings story, ballet and symphonic music together, to capture the Wolf who is causing havoc in the countryside.
Peter and his friends Bird, Cat and Duck will come to life through dance as they try to capture the Wolf who is causing havoc in the countryside. Original score composer Sergei Prokofiev’s music lends itself to dance, from the trilling of the flute as the bird, to the grumpy bassoon for the grandfather. The ballet pays homage to the 1960 season of Peter and the Wolf, choreographed by QB Founder and former Artistic Director, Charles Lisner OBE. However, Greg’s challenge has been to add to the story to create a 50-minute-long production.
“All of the narration that people know and love will be in it, but there’ll be additional narration because of the extra story elements which I’ve added, all told through ballet,” Greg says. Greg worked with the Jette Parker Young Artists to bring the classic fairy tale to life. He took a few liberties in extending the story, which has been given a modern twist and includes a scout adventure with Peter and his grandfather to the zoo.
And he’s collaborated with inhouse QB creatives, including Music Director Nigel Gaynor who arranged the scores, Head of Wardrobe and Resident Designer Noelene Hill, and external Set Designer Joshua McIntosh of The Little Green Road to Fairyland fame.
The original score runs for around 20 minutes, so Greg needed almost twice the amount of available music to fill the production.
“After I’d settled on what I wanted to do with the storyline, I needed more music. I wanted to use Sergei Prokofiev because he wrote the original Peter and the Wolf suite,” Greg says.
“I did a lot of research and found that the composer had written music for children, composed the year prior. It was a piano score, and I found the music within that fitted perfectly.
“My process is to spend a lot of time sorting out the music, putting it into an order and then I take it to Nigel (Gaynor) to arrange for a small ensemble.”
Greg envisions that this production will feature a woodwind quintet with all the instruments required to play the animals, plus a violin for Peter, a piano and percussionist.
Prokofiev’s work was written as an introduction to the orchestra for children, which fits perfectly with QB’s My First Ballet series, set to inspire today’s young and curious young minds.
“Producing arts specifically for young audiences is so important to Queensland Ballet. And not to build the audiences of tomorrow, but creating art for children to enjoy at the age they are right now is the key. They really respond to it - and this one-act ballet lends itself beautifully to a young audience, with a few jokes intended for the adults.
“One of the things that I love about Toy Story and Shrek is both adults and children in the audience enjoy the story. They might both get different things out of it, but they both enjoy it,” Greg says.
Peter and the Wolf will charm audiences of all ages as they venture into the captivating world of one of the world’s most loved fairytales.