Grimm Tales

Adapted by Carol Ann Duffy and dramatised by Tim Supple

Totton: Wednesday 14th March 2007

Shaftesbury: Saturday 28th April 2007

Directed by David Penrose

The first round of the All England Theatre Festival (Western Area, Southern Division) is usually held at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton. Bench Theatre first entered the festival competition in 2006 and has been a regular contributor ever since. This year, the second round (Southern Division Final) took place in Shaftesbury.

AuthorsCarol Ann Duffy and Tim Supple

Carol Ann Duffy CBE, FRSL (b 1955)

Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow but her family moved to Stafford when she was six. She was initially educated at Stafford Girls' High School and her first poems were published at the age of 15. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed poet laureate in May 2009 (she is the first woman to hold the position). Her poetry collections include 'Standing Female Nude' (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; 'Selling Manhattan' (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; 'Mean Time' (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and 'Rapture' (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence, in an accessible language that has made them popular in schools.

Tim Supple

Tim Supple works mainly as a theatre and opera director, but has also directed films for television and adapted novels for the stage, mainly using his distinctive physical theatre techniques. He is best known for staging a unique multi-lingual production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in India for his company, Dash Arts which was commissioned by the British Council in 2006. The set, which consisted of bamboo scaffolding and ladders, swathes of red fabric and ropes, enabled the cast to ascend and descend it in a fluid and athletic way. The production went on to tour the rest of the world.

PlaysGrimm Tales

Duffy's adaptations of the classic Brothers Grimm tales, were dramatised by Tim Supple for the Young Vic and first performed in 1994, although not published until 2003. The entire ensemble included Hansel and Gretel, The Golden Goose, Ashputtel (a variant of the Cinderella story), A Riddling Tale, in the tradition of puzzle riddles, The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage, Iron Hans, The Lady and the Lion and The Magic Table, the Golden Donkey and the Cudgel in the Sack, however, for this production Bench Theatre chose to perform only two of the stories.


Ashputtel is the German name for Cinderella - a well-known classic folk tale of a young woman who is victimised and despised by the daughters of her father's second wife. One of the most popular versions of Cinderella was written by Charles Perrault in 1697. The popularity of his tale was due to his additions to the story including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of glass slippers. It was widely believed that in Perrault's version, Cinderella wore fur boots ("pantoufle en vair"), and that when the story was translated into English, vair was mistaken for verre (glass), resulting in glass slippers and that the story has remained this way ever since. Another well-known version was recorded by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century. In this version, the stepsisters try to trick the prince by cutting off parts of their feet in order to get the slipper to fit. The prince is alerted by two pigeons who peck out the stepsisters' eyes, thus sealing their fate as blind beggars for the rest of their lives.

The Lady and The Lion

The story follows the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and confronts the disintegration of a marriage. It bears similarities to Beauty and the Beast, but the Lady and her husband the Lion, an enchanted prince who assumes human form at night, enjoy a loving relationship which she travels the world to restore when he is bewitched by a mysterious princess.

The Bench Competition Entry

Grimm Tales Certificate

This one-act playlets were staged at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton as part of the first round of the All England Theatre Festival 2007 competition. As the Overall Winning play, the production advanced to the Southern Division Final in Shaftesbury on 28th April 2007 (where Alice Corrigan took Robyn Hunt's roles).


The Older SistersLorraine Galliers
The Younger SistersCharlotte Self
The Mother
Dragon Princess
Robyn Hunt
The PrincesPhilip Gyngell
The FathersTerry Smyth
Sun, Moon and Wind
Emily Tipper
The Stepmother
The Lady
Julie Wood


Director David Penrose
Stage Managers Jaspar Utley
John Wilcox


The NewsAnon

Double delight for theatre group

Havant-based Bench Theatre, which won The News Guide award for best amateur production in November, has now swept the board in the Totton Festival of Drama, a regional round of the All England Theatre Festival. The Bench production of two Grimm Tales 'Ashputtel' and 'The Lady and The Lion', was the overall winner, also taking the adjudicator's award, and Julie Wood was named best supporting adult player. The production will now go forward to the Southern Division Final at Shatftesbury on April 28.

The News, 18th March 2007

Production Photographs