Spotlight on: Rebecca Cook
We’re delighted to be shining the spotlight on Rebecca Cook, Director of our upcoming Junior Youth Theatre show, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Interview with Rebecca Cook
What made you choose The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as this year’s Junior Youth Theatre production?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a classic story with timeless themes of courage, bravery and friendship. The story has captivated audiences since it was first published in 1950 and its themes are still relevant today. With a wide range of characters and magical creatures, there is something for everyone in the Youth Theatre to perform and get their teeth into!
It has been so much fun to bring this story to life with the Youth Theatre, as the story allows them add their own ideas and make the characters their own.
Tell us about your vision for this production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
I really wanted to create an immersive and engaging experience that brings the world of WW2 Britain and Narnia to life. The classic novel captures the imaginations of its readers vividly and that’s how I wanted an audience to feel watching the show – both children and their grown-ups! From the beginning of the rehearsal process, we aimed to have a mix of comedy, drama and adventure. I think this is one of the many strengths of the Youth Theatre, that they are able to perform the wide variety of creatures of Narnia, bring the fear of the White Witch but also the innocence of Lucy and evacuee children.
What is it like to work with a cast with an age range of 4 – 14?
Working with the Youth Theatre is always extremely exciting and rewarding. They bring lots of energy, enthusiasm and ideas to each rehearsal and are brilliant at working collaboratively. One of the joys of working on such a big production is seeing the older ones become role models for the young years. Working with such a fantastic group of young people allows for a lot of learning and growth, as they are often eager to try new things in a supportive environment with their peers. It really is a privilege to be a part of!
What has been the highlight of the rehearsal process so far?
This is such a tricky question as there have been so many! I guess a main highlight has to be the team we have involved, in particular for our Sunday rehearsals. We are so fortunate to have the wonderful Lisa Fraser leading the dance routines and Livi van Warmelo & Màth Roberts leading the singing. Sunday rehearsals are always special as our two casts work together to learn new material. It is wonderful to be able to provide an opportunity to learn skills in these areas as we don’t normally cover them in our regular Youth Theatre sessions.
As well as having a wonderful team in the cast and practitioners, we also have a brilliant creative team from costume to set to lighting to sound. They all bring innovative ideas and all work incredibly hard.
Everyone’s energy, enthusiasm and commitment has been inspiring and I am so excited to see the performance on stage. I think they have all created something truly special.
What have you learned from directing other Youth Theatre productions that you will implement in the process of staging The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?
I have learned that the Youth Theatre will always surprise me! They always work incredibly hard, bring such creativity and need to be challenged! Before rehearsals, we had a term to learn the story and workshop the text. This time was invaluable to experiment with ideas, try new styles and see what works (before working towards the real thing!) By having a relaxed, fun environment, students who may have seemed quiet to begin with blew me away in the auditions! And they continue to push themselves throughout the whole rehearsal process.
Do you have a favourite character in the story?
This is again a very tricky question! I love the curiosity and bravery of Lucy. I love the sassiness of The White Queen. But I also love the comedy between Mr and Mrs Beaver! So I guess… no, I don’t have a favourite character as it’s too hard to choose!
What can audiences expect from this interpretation of C.S Lewis’ classic tale?
I think the audience can expect a high-energy show that combines comedy, music, dance and a little bit of magic! The show is made up of some very talented performers supported by a very talented creative team to bring the world of Narnia to life.
Finally, Edmund was ready to abandon his siblings for Turkish Delight, but what treat would you abandon your family for?!
Ha ha! I personally hate Turkish Delight so I’ve never understood Edmund! My treat would have to be Jaffa Cakes!
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Courtyard Junior Youth Theatre present a brand-new production of CS Lewis’ timeless tale this Easter.
During a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy ventures into an old wardrobe, only to find that a magical kingdom lies on the other side. As she steps through the wardrobe, she discovers the mystical land of Narnia, where Lions can talk, Fauns make tea, and it is always winter but never Christmas.
Join Lucy and her siblings Edmund, Peter and Susan as they help Aslan, Mr Tumnus and even Father Christmas in a quest to defeat the Evil White Witch. Will the children ever return home through the wardrobe? Or will they be stuck in Narnia, in eternal winter forever? Featuring original music, spectacular costumes, and plenty of Turkish Delight, this family show will entertain audiences of all ages!
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is on from Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 April.