Why You Won't Want to Miss Northern Stage's Spellbinding New Show The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Putting a modern spin on a classic tale, Northern Stage are bringing a spellbinding show to Newcastle this Christmas. We catch up with the team behind The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Hatty Rabbit thought she was just a normal Geordie lass – but she couldn’t have been more wrong. In this show, which is made for all the family, she embarks on a magical adventure through the streets of Newcastle (but not as you know them) on her quest to become The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Filled with original music by Katie Doherty, puppets, and plenty of magic, it’s a must-see show this Christmas.
‘Hatty is born on Christmas Day under the shadow of Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge, the last and the smallest of 13 children,’ says writer Laura Lindow. ‘Little does Hatty know she is in fact destined to become The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. And, even more than that, she holds the future of all the world’s magic in her unsuspecting and usually very ordinary-seeming hands, as a long-whispered prophecy creaks into life.
‘We follow Hatty’s adventures through her upbringing with spoilt ex-child star Aunt Primula Fudge, her school days at the Bish-Bash-Bosh Boarding School for Challenging Children, to her (shshsh!) Magical Apprenticeship and (don’t tell!) eventual realisation of her future and ultimate reckoning – a battle to save the world’s magic from the evilest of clutches. Hatty’s adventure bounces along with the warmest heart, sparkling with the most mystical magic, and hooting with belly laughs to offer up a festive treat for our most welcome and most Christmas-iest audiences to share (that’s you!).’
Beth Crame is playing the role of Hatty, who is sometimes referred to as Hatty Rabbit because of her large ears. ‘Hatty is 12 years old and probably one of the unluckiest girls in the world,’ Beth says. ‘Nothing seems to go her way! Bright ginger hair, big red glasses and an unusual dress sense: Hatty is the North East’s unlikely hero. During our tale, we see Hatty go on an incredible journey of self-discovery and acceptance. Through the help of some friends (and some not so friendly faces) Hatty soon realises that she does have a place and that it’s okay to be a bit different – she might even save the world.’
Laura says one of the best things about writing The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is that it doesn’t actually exist as a story as such. ‘It’s actually an 18th century poem by a writer called Goethe,’ she reveals. ‘When you say the show title, lots of people think of the Mickey Mouse sequence which appeared in Disney’s Fantasia, where an apprentice (Mickey) defies a great sorcerer and loses control of the magical forces he has cheekily summoned. Cue mop-mayhem as the workshop comes to life and turns against the trainee magician! I’ve imagined what would happen if our central character was as unlike a stereotypical great sorcerer as Goethe’s!
‘What if, with our hero, we discovered an alternative Newcastle? One hidden under the paving stones, through the cracks in the brickwork and behind hidden doors. Look again, and the Grainger Market transforms into The Stranger Market, selling all kinds of magical ingredients and supplies. I had great fun dreaming and imagining, weaving actuals in with what ifs. The result is our story, with Goethe’s timeless themes of power and entitlement at heart, but very much born and rooted in the North East, speaking to present hopes and dreams where enchantment just might hide in the middle of the everyday, and true magic can and must belong to us all.’
Composer and musical director Katie Doherty believes there’s plenty to learn from this new production. ‘I think all of us think Newcastle is a magical place but this story will show you more magic in this city than you ever dreamed possible – you just need to know where to look! I think the magic of Christmas is finding sparkle and joy in the ordinary and sharing that with the people you love. This story brings people together to believe in something wonderful and perhaps come away believing in the magic inside all of us a little bit more too.’
‘There is a festive feel, lots of laugh-out-loud moments (for the grown ups too), and an important message to take home – that everyone is special and nobody is a nobody’
Director Maria Crocker promises audiences can expect all the festive fun, songs and action from last year’s production, but says that this year they’ve made it even more spectacular. ‘There will be new scenes, new music, new performers, new puppets and even some new magic!’ Maria adds. ‘You can expect wizard hats, magic wands, flying mops, bubbles, sparkles, spells and mischief, all taking place in the most magical city in the world – Newcastle!’
You can bring the whole family along to see the show, because Maria says there’s something for everyone. ‘We welcome audiences of all ages [recommended age: five and over],’ she adds. ‘As you follow Hatty on her journey, you’ll experience lots of larger than life characters, songs to keep your toes tapping, animals brought to life through puppetry, strange and colourful worlds and plenty of chances to shout out and join in.
‘There is a festive feel, lots of laugh-out-loud moments (for the grown ups too), and an important message to take home – that everyone is special and nobody is a nobody. If you have a magic outfit at home, or a wizard’s hat, or a magic wand, we encourage you to wear it to the theatre to add to your magical experience.’