Carol Ann Duffy.
Photograph: Murdo Macleod for The Guardian
British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has set herself a new project – to write her first ballet based on the fairy story of Rapunzel
. Duffy, who was named a poet laureate in 2009, has promised that her ballet will stay true to the original and far darker story written by the Brothers Grimm.
'Fairy tales are strange and familiar, frightening and reassuring, and provide a map of childhood which we can use as adults to remember who we are,' Duffy said
. 'Their retelling and reinterpretation is part of the lifeblood of literature.'
The ballet has been commissioned by Sadler Well’s Theatre in London, who recently received a £600,000 ($900,000) grant from the Monument Trust. Choreographed by Liv Lorent, the production will be aimed at a family audience.
The cast will feature eight professional dancers as well as many young children, and hopes to explore the dark themes of the original tale which tells of a young couple who are forced to give their baby daughter to a witch who keeps her locked in a tower before a handsome prince attempts to rescues her and gets blinded in the process.
Also taking part in the project is costume designer Michele Clapton, best known for her work in television series Game of Thrones
, as well as composer Murray Gold whose most recent work includes Doctor Who
'It's the dream team,' artistic programmer and producer at Sadler’s Wells Emma Gladstone said
. 'Liv Lorent has been thinking about this project for some time, and when we first talked about it these are the people she really wanted – and amazingly we've got them all.'Rapunzel
was first published in 1812 in a collection of fairy tales book by the Brothers Grimm. Recent adaptations of the story include Disney’s animated feature Tangled
, which takes a far more light-hearted approach to the tale.
'Most of us remember Rapunzel’s hair and the tower, but we’re a bit hazy on the rest of the story,' Lorent said. 'It’s been told again and again. But we’re telling an older, slightly darker version, more akin to its Grimm tale origins.'
Similarly, Gladstone believes that this new production will provide something out of the ordinary - a darker ballet for children.
'There's so little ballet of substance for children, and this – with all the elements of body change, of puberty, of the awakening of desire – is a story full of potential,' she said.
The ballet will premiere at the Durham Book Festival in October and will then proceed to tour UK before opening in Sadler’s Wells in March next year.