Interview: Liv Lorent (MBE) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Following the award-winning and critically acclaimed Rapunzel, Snow White, and Rumpelstiltskin, balletLORENT is bringing a brand new fairytale to Northern Stage 31 October – 2 November. Choreographed and Directed by their Artistic Director Liv Lorent (MBE) and written by former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, The Lost Happy Endings is a call to action for young people to trust the beauty of their imagination.

The story follows a magical girl called Jub whose job it is to guard the Happy Endings to stories and fairytales. But one day a Witch steals them and destroys our beloved bedtime stories, leaving it up to Jub to save the day (or night in this case). We caught up with Liv to find out more about their upcoming production for ages five and up.

How did this collaboration with former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy come about and what was it like working with her?
This is our fourth time working together, and since 2012 we have created new versions of Rapunzel, Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin. Carol Ann Duffy is one of the best people we have ever worked with, and she continues to be full of insight into the human heart and chooses the most perfect words to inspire our productions.

In the story, the happy endings of children’s stories are stolen from them. Is this a cautionary message with real-world implications that you hope both children and parents will take notice of and take action?
In The Lost Happy Endings, there is the protagonist Jub who treasures fairy tales and bedtime stories and is the keeper of their Happy Endings. There is the witch, who believes that hard truth is better, and she desires to burn the Happy Endings. It’s been fascinating to work with a story that encompasses both of these extremes. Many of us wrestle with how much fantasy and reality we want to live with, and what we want to offer our children! 

One of the main characters is a magical girl called Jub who lives deep in the forest and has six fingers on each hand. Can you tell us more about her?
She has a childlike confidence that she can make everything alright. She represents each and every one of us who has ever had to wish ourselves out of a terrible situation and decide to save the day. Which one of us has not wished to be able to make everything better for people that we care about?

How do you go about applying music and choreography to a written story?
The music is all written by Murray Gold and edited by Jack Sugden, and while initially responding to Carol Ann’s words, the music is finished in response to the choreography. Then the words are entwined into the sound score to complete the fullest experience for the audience.

Imagination is a key element of this tale. With the consumption and bombardment of entertainment and information that children experience in this day and age, do you think that the imagination is under threat? 
This story champions imagination, creativity and authorship, which are skills for life, whatever we do. I think children are so amazing and most are naturally creative given a chance. Whether through music, art, performing, sport or craft, most children have an innate ability. It’s up to us to spot it and give them opportunities to develop their strengths.

You will be joined on stage by 18 local children aged 7-10, some of whom have been selected through a 6-week schools project in areas of socio-economic inequality. How important is it for companies like yours to keep reaching out to communities who might not feel like arts and culture is accessible to them and do you think more should be done as a whole?
There are too few opportunities. There are so many talented, deserving and enthusiastic children and yet far too few chances to participate. The arts can be a safe place for many of us that for whatever reason feel that we don’t quite fit into ordinary life and expectations. The doors have to be open to the next generation who are going to be the creative artists of the future, and they need to know that this artistic world exits as a place of celebration of the unique, and also as a potential way to make a living. 

 

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