On Friday December 1st the Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) in conjunction with Bad Hats Theatre launched their production of Narnia.
Inspired by C.S. Lewis’s classic book series known as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” MTYP and Bad Hats invites audience members to slip into the wardrobe and enter a world of fantasy; seeing Narnia through the eyes of the four Pevensie children. With the Lion Aslan acting as their guide and advisor while coming head-to-head with the evil White Witch who rules Narnia in a state of perpetual Winter where there is no Christmas.
This is a terrific holiday musical adventure that is sure to entertain children of all ages from 5 to 95.
Bad Hats Theatre is a company based in Toronto, but this is by no means MTYP's first time working with this outstanding ensemble. The two organizations have collaborated on productions of Peter Pan in 2019 and later, Alice in Wonderland in 2022.
Narnia is a new commission from MTYP. As MTYP Artistic Associate Sarah Flynn explains. “They have such a stellar background of creating these incredible musical theatre performances for young people…so we thought what better way to do that then have them premiere it hear in Winnipeg for us.”
The musical Narnia centers around C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.” There are seven books that make up the Chronicles of Narnia series but Bad Hats decided to focus on the plot line of the first book the Lewis wrote for the series. However some of the concepts and ideas from all of the books make their way into the musical, as Flynn states, “It definitely takes motifs and concepts and ideas from the entire C.S. Lewis series.”
One of the things that makes this production extra special is that the music that is performed is played by the performers on stage. All of the music was written by Landon Doak who is Music Director for Bad Hats Theatre. As Flynn Explains, “Bad Hats always does this thing in their shows where the artists playing the roles and acting on stage are also playing all the instruments. There is piano and violin, guitar and bass and cajone and trumpet…there is a whole whack of instruments…it’s incredible!” Many of the actors on stage are also end up playing multiple instruments.
All of the actors and musicians on stage for Narnia are top calibre performers both from Winnipeg and Toronto. This combined with the fantastic production and stage elements provided by Bad hats Theatre are sure to make this production extra special for anyone wanting to explore their inner child and hopefully move from a land of winter to a land of spring.
Narnia as presented by The Manitoba Theatre for Young People runs until the 23rd of December. For more details visit MTYP’s website.