#Iris10: Q&A with Much Ado and Hansel & Gretel director Amy Draper

This year’s Hansel & Gretel director Amy Draper is not a first-timer at Iris – she directed last year’s wildly successful production of Much Ado About Nothing too! Rounding off #Iris10 in 2016, here’s a Q&A with Amy talking all things gingerbread houses and Shakespeare in the gardens.


When/how did you get involved with Iris?

I’d worked with Iris regular Anne-Marie Piazza a number of times and she put my name forward to direct the 2016 production of Much Ado About Nothing. I met with Dan, chatted theatre and Shakespeare, and the next thing I knew it was the wettest July on record* and we were having loads of fun devising outdoor farce.


What’s your best memory of Iris Theatre?

Working with a fantastic cast and laughing through a technical rehearsal week spent in wellies and waterproof trousers.

What does Iris Theatre mean to you?

It was the first time I’d directed an outdoor promenade production, so Iris represents that first opportunity.

How are you finding the process of directing this year’s family show compared to last year’s Shakespeare?

It’s so far a totally different process as I am working with Dan on the story and script. Last year I spent this time editing the text of Much Ado and working out the multi-roling. I now know the space, which makes conceptualising ideas easier and there is a shorthand, but a family show is a different beast to a Shakespeare comedy! However, the jist is the same: keep it pacey, entertaining and find inventive ways to move the audience around the gardens. It’s always about clear storytelling.

What about Hansel & Gretel are you most excited about?

Apart from the full-size edible gingerbread house (?!) I am most excited about exploring the world of fairy tales in such a beautiful setting. The stories we’re looking at are pretty sinister! I’m also looking forward to casting, which is always one of my favourite parts of the process.

Sum up Iris Theatre in three words!

Noise from piazza! No, on a serious note, generosity, inventiveness and risk-taking.

Tickets for Hansel & Gretel are on-sale right now!