Story behind a new style of Cinderella

Ian Kershaw - who has adapted the story of Cinderella for the Dukes Theatre, Lancaster photo by Darren Andrews
Ian Kershaw - who has adapted the story of Cinderella for the Dukes Theatre, Lancaster photo by Darren Andrews

You may think it’s all over - but it’s not.

The pantomime season continues well into January - with the Duke’s at Lancaster laying out the red carpet for Cinderella until January 10.

For its award winning writer Ian Kershaw the show has been a very special present for his daughters; the modern take on the much loved story was inspired by them.

He said: “In the conventional story, I think Cinderella is quite a wet character but I wanted to write her as a girl who likes climbing trees and sees the world through the same eyes as my daughters who are 13 and 10.”

Although a well established stage, radio and television writer, Cinderella is the first Christmas show he’s attempted.

Ian was also keen to impress his actress wife, Julie Hesmondalgh, best known for playing Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street.

:“I went back to the original fairytale and took elements that excited me and removed bits that didn’t,” said former actor Ian, whose work includes episodes of Holby City, Eastenders, Casualty, Shameless and Death In Paradise.

Earlier this year, he saw his film Castles In The Sky, starring Eddie Izzard as the father of radar, broadcast on BBC2.

Ian also wrote the Radio Academy awardwinning Lost and Found starring Tom Courtney and his new radio comedy series Cleaning Up is due to air on Radio 4 in early 2015.

What he’s produced for the Dukes is the story of gutsy teenager, Ella, who lives on a Northern farm with a stepmother and sisters, recently relocated from Essex, who make her life a misery.

Performed in The Round at The Dukes, Cinderella also features animal puppets which delight the audience as do the catchy songs which Ian has written the lyrics for – another first for him.

Although he now has a successful career as a writer, Oldham born Ian didn’t visit a theatre until he was 21: “I saw Richard Harris in a play and that was it. The very next day I packed in my job as a joiner and enrolled on a performing arts course,” he said.

After training at The Royal Welsh College Of Music and Drama, Ian worked as an actor, mainly on television, before becoming a writer and he’s never looked back.

He has co-written The Mill for television with Debbie Oates, who wrote The Dukes’ previous two festive productions and it was Debbie who introduced Ian to Joe Sumsion who has directed Cinderella.

To book tickets, ring The Dukes’ box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org