West Sussex theatre company This Is My Theatre are on the road with two productions in the build-up to Christmas, The Snow Queen and a revival of their popular take on A Christmas Carol.
In her first shows for the company, Jennifer Biggs, from Warsash in Hampshire, is looking forward to playing Gerda in The Snow Queen.
Dates include November 24, St Wilfrid’s Chapel, Selsey.
“I have worked with Ethan and Simon in the company before,” says Jennifer. “They have both been involved with the company pretty much from day one. I went to drama school with both of them, at Guildford School of Acting. I trained with them and I did a couple of productions with them after we graduated. Ethan then set up a theatre company where he wrote a couple of plays that we performed. We took one of them to Edinburgh which was brilliant, and I loved working with them. Sarah Slator, the company owner and director (of This Is My Theatre), came to see it a couple of years ago, and I met her. She seemed really lovely and said some very complimentary things about the piece we did.”
And so Jennifer found herself suggested for The Snow Queen: “I met up with Sarah for a coffee and I just loved the way she explained how the whole company was run. It sounded so wonderful. I just liked the way that it almost sounds like a family the way it is organised. We all live together in her house, and we do the rehearsals for two weeks. It is a really good way to get to know each other really well. I know the cast already and have obviously worked with two of them before, and I like that human aspect to it all. We work hard during the day and we socialise together in the evening. As an actor, it makes it a really good process to be involved with. It is really good to have that connection and bond with the people that you are also on the stage with in character.”
In the show, Jennifer will be Gerda: “Growing up, Gerda is best friends with Kai. They are inseparable, like siblings. They do lovely things together like watering the roses and telling stories to each other, but then during the snow storm, Kai gets a shard of glass in his eye and in his heart. There is a goblin-type character that creates this mirror that distorts all the good in the world and turns everything evil. It falls from heaven and the story goes that if you get a shard of glass in your eye or in your heart, it turns you a bit evil as well. Kai is a lovely enthusiastic young boy but turns into a nasty prankster who is just concerned with being mean to people all of a sudden.
“He is off sledging one day and his sledge gets attached to what ends up being the Snow Queen’s sledge and she takes him off and kisses him on the forehead which turns the rest of his body frozen. Gerda goes off to find him despite him having been, for the past however many months, no longer the Kai that she knows and loves. She goes off on this mission to rescue him and bring him home. She is a very determined and loyal girl, and that’s one of the things that really drew me to this character. She stays loyal to him and is very dedicated to her cause. And I also like the fact that it is the female going off to rescue the male. Usually it is the other way round!”