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THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF NILS – AN INTERNATIONAL MULTIMEDIA THEATRE PROJECT

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08/11/13

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#011

[ DESERT RUNNERS MOVIE ]

Our adventures in animation continue with Andy, Emily and Mike contributing both traditional hand-drawn 2D animation and new-fangled 3D CGI to a musical version of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. It is an adaptation of the famous Swedish children’s fable that is currently being staged in Wuhan, China, where it is already receiving great reviews.

This brand new musical re-imagines the famous Swedish tale of a boy who goes on a flying adventure with animals that teach him about the world around him; a century-old coming-of-age fantasy story. Nils is one of the best-loved pieces of fiction in Sweden; the image of him soaring through the sky even appears on their 20 Kroner note.

[ AN INTERNATIONAL THEME FOR THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF NILS ]

For this production the story has been translated into a spectacular musical in Mandarin. There are lavish costumes, singing and dancing from the young cast while the updated story sees Nils traveling all the way from Sweden to China to give the story an international flavour.

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is a full multimedia theatre production, which is where Draw & Code come in. We have provided interactive animated sets that are projected across the stage to create a dynamic environment for the actors to work within. This kind of set up is something that our art director Andy Cooper has plenty of experience having worked on various multimedia stage shows including the Liverpool Capital of Culture opening ceremony back in 2008.

[ TALENTED MINDS BEHIND TRUE MULTIMEDIA THEATRE ]

The sequences assembled here at our humble Liverpool studio were a combination of traditional 2D animation and glorious 3D; the former were penned by Andy Cooper and Mike Snowdon (that’s one of their early sketches over the sheet-music from the show) while the latter was created by our talented 3D artist Emily Cheung. These 3D elements provide more detailed performer interaction between the actors and their environment, helping to create depth in the gorgeous world that Nils is traveling through. This is a lot more than simple static scenery; it is integral to the story and allows the director to take the audience into scenes that would once only have been possible on the big screen.

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is an international collaboration with Australian director David Freeman at the helm alongside Chinese-born director and producer Shuang Zou from filmmakers Lanterna Vision. She was responsible for developing the concept and script for the stage, along with liaising with ourselves here in Liverpool. The music was composed, arranged and conducted by the renowned John Cameron. Acclaimed Australian theatre designer Dan Potra created the physical set and costumes while Draw & Code’s ‘animated set’ was a co-operative effort with London-based Italian Marco Devetak also of Lanterna Vision.

[ TALENTED MINDS BEHIND TRUE MULTIMEDIA THEATRE ]

The sequences assembled here at our humble Liverpool studio were a combination of traditional 2D animation and glorious 3D; the former were penned by Andy Cooper and Mike Snowdon (that’s one of their early sketches over the sheet-music from the show) while the latter was created by our talented 3D artist Emily Cheung. These 3D elements provide more detailed performer interaction between the actors and their environment, helping to create depth in the gorgeous world that Nils is traveling through. This is a lot more than simple static scenery; it is integral to the story and allows the director to take the audience into scenes that would once only have been possible on the big screen.

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is an international collaboration with Australian director David Freeman at the helm alongside Chinese-born director and producer Shuang Zou from filmmakers Lanterna Vision. She was responsible for developing the concept and script for the stage, along with liaising with ourselves here in Liverpool. The music was composed, arranged and conducted by the renowned John Cameron. Acclaimed Australian theatre designer Dan Potra created the physical set and costumes while Draw & Code’s ‘animated set’ was a co-operative effort with London-based Italian Marco Devetak also of Lanterna Vision.

The show opened this week and has already been compared to The Lion King (wow!) and the multimedia element has been singled out for praise, which we are delighted about. The performance environment has been described as “ingenious stage design and rich multimedia presentation” that enables the relatively small stage to feel like “infinite space”. The young cast and the creative choreography were also singled out for praise in what is a rare event; a Broadway style modern musical being conceived and staged in China.

Suffice to say that we will not be going to see The Wonderful Adventures of Nils in the flesh, which is a shame. The track records of the global collaborators behind the scenes will ensure it’s a great show. Let’s hope that Nils can fly back over to Europe in 2014 so we can go and enjoy it too!

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