‘Mermaids’ make a splash for girl power

A chorus of girls from Leeds will star in a bold new version of Hans Christian Anderson's classic fairytale.
A chorus of girls from Leeds will star in a bold new version of Hans Christian Anderson's classic fairytale.
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They had famously fishy and feisty movie incarnations thanks to Daryl Hannah in the film Splash and Disney’s Ariel.

But now Leeds is set for some mermaid magic of its own.

West Yorkshire Playhouse is getting ready to present award winning theatre company Shared Experience’s bold new re-imagining of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairytale The Little Mermaid.

And the company has recruited 21 young women from Leeds aged 14-20 to be part of the show, which is simply called Mermaid.

The ladies will perform on stage, and make up a chorus of singing mermaids.

In each of the cities the 
tour is visiting, the company will similarly recruit a 
chorus of young women from the area.

Hannah Groombridge, assistant producer, said: “The girls are all so enthusiastic, having them involved has been a really lovely process – they’ve given us extra ideas to think about which is great.

“I think the girls really do feel like they’ve taken an active role in its development, which is fantastic.”

The innovative project also aims to empower the girls to challenge myths about femininity, and looks at the effect of the media on the girls’ sense of self.

Polly Teale, artistic director, explained: “In an age of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, where we are constantly looking at our own reflections, as women obsess about calories and totter around in heels, the Mermaid’s story speaks of the extreme lengths women will go to alter themselves for approval.”

The show, described as “a seamless transformation from fantasy to reality”, will be performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse from March 25 to 28.

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