The Journey to Hansel & Gretel - 2021 Review

Insane Root Theatre CIO is a Bristol Born Theatre charity, formed in 2020, our aim is to reimagine classic plays and stories by presenting them in unusual locations. We are passionate about regional theatre and locally made work, offering opportunities to local artists and those with a strong connection to the area.


In 2020, we brought together a brilliant new board of Trustees to set up our new charity https://www.insaneroot.org.uk/our-people and then started to plan for a new immersive show, no mean feat in the height of a pandemic!


Our goal has always been to transform special sites which are nestled within a community into performance spaces, reimagining old stories for a new audience. So we have had shows at the old lido in Easton, the caves under the suspension bridge and St Johns on the wall crypt in town. Then in early 2021 the idea of putting on an extraordinary retelling of the classic fairy-tale Hansel and Gretel at Arnos Vale Cemetery Woodlands came to fruition.

As Chair, after such a testing year with the pandemic and restrictions, I wanted to pay a massive personal thank you and tribute to Hannah Drake and Justin Palmer, the two founders who have had the vision, drive and ambition to cast, direct and produce this magical showing of Hansel and Gretel at Arnos Vale in December 2021. This resulted in the most amazing run at this iconic Cemetery with over 200 performances!

L-R: Hannah Drake, Vanessa Moon, Justin Palmer


Also a huge recognition to the writer Saikat Ahamed, who brilliantly captured the bond between brothers and sisters, sprinkled with a lot of humour and love.


From the setting up of our charity in 2020, it has been such a proud time for me to be involved and I wanted to thank each and every one who has supported the theatre company and been on set, from the cast, production team, stewards, front of house staff, to the amazing board of Trustees as well as Arnos Vale itself.

Some of the Hansel & Gretel team!


Moving forward, we are a young charity, but with a solid foundation and ambitious plans for the future. These include a summer season of Shakespeare, a large scale family festival, and deeper work on outreach and offering opportunities to the people of this wonderful city. Our mission is to strive to inspire the next generation of artists and creative entrepreneurs through our work placements and mentoring opportunities. We believe the arts have a powerful role to play in education and are committed to sharing our work with local schools through workshops, collaborative projects and school ticket discounts. We value teamwork, curiosity and integrity, and endeavour to make our work accessible to all.


We would love you to join us on our onward journey as we scope out new venues and ideas for our next show and we do need and value your support: so please follow us on twitter and Instagram and we really hope to see you at our next show. Watch this space to see what delights await!


Vanessa Moon

Production photography by Jack Offord

Backstage photography by an enthusiastic team member...

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