Christopher Hampson: 'The Snow Queen is one of Andersen's weirder stories which is great for ballet'

Scottish Ballet bring one of Hans Christian Andersen's classic tales to life

From Frozen to Narnia, there's no shortage of stories inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. The latest of which is choreographer Christopher Hampson's new version for Scottish Ballet, a show that aims to make Andersen's rather convoluted narrative much more linear.

'The original is essentially Hansel and Gretel in the snow,' says Hampson. 'Like Gretel, the character of Gerda has to go through lots of different trials to get her friend Kai back, with an evil female character that she needs to do battle with. But The Snow Queen is one of Andersen's weirder stories, which is great for ballet because there are lots of problems and gaps for us to fill.'

Hampson worked closely with acclaimed set and costume designer Lez Brotherston, not only to give this new adaptation a distinctive look and feel, but to work out a scenario that helps us understand the Queen's actions. 'One of the problems was why is the Queen so evil?' says Hampson. 'So we decided to start the ballet with the Queen and her sister living in an isolated ice palace. The sister sees her future in the enchanted mirror and leaves the Queen alone. She smashes the mirror in a rage and spends the rest of the story trying to get her sister back. Essentially, it becomes a story between three women: the Snow Queen, her sister and Gerda.'

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 7–Sun 29 Dec; Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 3–Sat 18 Jan.

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