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Sweetie Pie

Also available as an interactive theatre play session 'A Walk in the Woods' with

A playful exploration of the familiar story of Hansel and Gretel taking a leap from the reality of many family situations into the fantasy of a gripping adventure story. Carefully crafted to delight young children and their families through its visual charm, and to touch people of all ages on a variety of levels, DNA take a child-centred approach to create an unusual and engaging version of this popular fairytale.

Sweetie Pie has at its heart the modern dilemma of children in single parent families today. Kes and Lily, played by puppets, love their father but Lily will not accept Dad's new girlfriend Lizzie and tries to convince Kes of Lizzies evil intent by playing Hansel and Gretel with him. In a series of transformations, children and parents are taken on a wondrous and chilling adventure into the heart of the woods where a witch lives in a gingerbread house.

Hannah Ringham in Sweetie Pie

Hannah Ringham (pictured right) starred with Adam Bennett in this production.

This production is a contemporary treatment of Hansel and Gretel using rod puppetry, object theatre, physical performance and an unusual adaptation of Victorian paper theatre. Sweetie Pie has an original musical score by Jon Owen.


At a recent 'Enchanted Worlds' exhibition of art and artefacts inspired by fairy tales at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, the set, puppets and props were featured. Here is the transcript of the audio commentary.

"Dynamic New Animation (usually known as DNA) is a well-known puppet theatre company based here in Preston. This is one of their sets for a modern adaptation of the Hansel and Gretel story they call Sweetie Pie. They use it to explore the issues of jealousy and mistrust that can occur in today's single-parent families between children and their parent's new partner.
In the DNA version of the story, the two children are called Kes and Lily. They live with their father, whom they love, but they don't get on with their father's new girlfriend Lizzie. Lily is especially upset and believes that Lizzie has evil intentions towards them. Lily tries to convince Kes that she is right and role-plays Hansel and Gretel with him to show the parallels that are happening. As the play unfolds both adults and children go into the woods, where they meet the wicked witch in her gingerbread house - which you can see here.
In the original Brothers Grimm version of the story, the children's real mother who wants to get rid of them. In later versions it was a step-mother. In either case, the evil mother goes against the nurturing maternal ideal of western culture. In academic analysis of the story, the wicked witch is thought to represent the evil mother and so, by vanquishing the witch, the children are overcoming problems they've faced at home."

Amanda Draper
Keeper of Fine Art




Workshop Information

A workshop for up to 20 children making gingerbread men and houses can accompany this show.

Booking Information

Ages Suitable for four to seven year olds
Running time 50 minutes
Suitable venues For theatres and arts centres
Availability not currently touring
All text and images © Dynamic New Animation 2005