Modern-day Robin Hood comes to PAC
This isn’t your grandma’s Robin Hood, though she might have wished it was.
The Niagara theatre for young performers will dust off the classic adventure Dec. 14 in a contemporary setting, with brand new music, themes and characters. Oh, and this Robin is a girl. Played by Naomi Shad, she fights for a group of children who are living in a deforested Sherwood Forest after their parents were sent to a barren wasteland by the Sheriff of Nottingham for opposing development on the land.
Hillstrom insists the story wasn’t inspired by the ongoing battle to protect the Thundering Waters wetlands in Niagara Falls from a $1.5-billion development. The theme is universal, she says, and the young cast has responded to it. “The kids love it because there’s so much there for them to grasp,” she says. “They get this. They completely understand how important the world that they know around them is. They want to ensure it’s still going to be there.”
Directed by Hillstrom and written by Niagara playwright/ director Lezlie Wade, the show follows the format of previous Yellow Door productions by matching the youthful cast with experienced actors. This time, they’ll be working with veteran Shaw Festival performers Jenny Wright and Bill Vickers.
About 37 youths round out the cast, aged 10 to 18. Sydney Cornett will play Maid Marion.
The score is by composer-inresidence John-Luke Addison, a former music director with the Shaw Festival. The play is funded by a grant from Niagara Investment in Culture.
Hillstrom says switching the main character’s gender gives
the play a “fun” new perspective.
“What has taken over the piece are very strong female roles and a very strong female presence,” she says. “Not that there aren’t young men in the show — there are, and they are important — but it is about the strength these women bring to this group of children living together.
“For our young people now, at least the young people that I work with … this isn’t anything out of the ordinary. The young guys are completely accepting of this.”
The show is intended for ages five and up.
Makeup artist Jeanette Ward fixes actor Abby Bullett’s makeup while Luc Cormier looks on at the Yellow Door Theatre.