Creating family theatre is nothing new for Nicolas Hanson. Creating a world of giants, however, presents a new challenge.
Hanson, who teaches two courses in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) for the University of Lethbridge's Department of Theatre and Dramatic Arts, directs The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) by Roald Dahl. Adapted for the stage by David Wood, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is scheduled to appear nightly, Feb. 10-14 in the University Theatre, at 7 p.m., with a matinee at noon on Saturday, Feb. 14.
"Audiences can expect an action-packed hour at the theatre, with dynamic performances and comic antics," promises Hanson. "Creating a world of giants has provided a playful challenge for the design and technical faculty and staff, who have been busy constructing puppets, masks and stilts for our energetic cast of student actors."
Hanson's TYA courses see his students perform at local elementary schools on a regular basis but he wanted to provide a true theatre experience for children and this performance serves that purpose.
"After five years of taking students from my TYA courses out to perform for more than 10,000 young people at local schools, I wanted to create an opportunity for children to experience the magic of visiting our University Theatre with its array of technical wizardry," Hanson says.
People often believe that performing for children is easy but Hanson explains that's a fallacy.
"Our actors are quickly learning that young people have sophisticated artistic tastes and that keeping hundreds of children engaged requires limitless energy, genuine sincerity and a keen ability to harness the power of juvenile imaginations," he says with a smile.
With sales of 100 million books, Roald Dahl is one of the world's most popular authors. From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to James and the Giant Peach, Dahl's imaginative narratives and eccentric characters charm children while engaging adults at the same time.
The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) has become one of Dahl's endearing classics with its creative combination of fantasy elements, such as giants with contemporary concepts like helicopters. Despite its setting in a comic and colourful world, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) exposes some sincere elements of our real world; namely, the way we treat people who appear physically different.
The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is truly family-oriented theatre that can be enjoyed by everyone aged five to 105. All audience members, regardless of age, must have a ticket, which can be purchased from the U of L Box Office, weekdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., or by calling 403-329-2616.
Tickets are priced at $15 for regular admission and $10 student/senior. Patrons are encouraged to get their tickets early to avoid disappointment.
A complimentary shuttle bus will transport theatre-goers from the north parking lot to the theatre entrance.