Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, a complex tale of power, jealousy and manipulation has been reimagined by the Shropshire-based theatre company Here to There Productions.
Following a near sell-out run at the Coach House Theatre, Malvern in 2023, Hedda will play at venues across the UK this spring. Luckily for Mancunian theatre lovers, this fascinating new version stops off at Contact Theatre for six performances this April.
We love that such a relatively small theatre company has taken on one of Ibsen’s dramatic masterpieces with such aplomb. Written by Here to There Productions’ Company Director, Andrew Whittle, the company’s inaugural production of Hedda was hailed a triumph by both critics and audiences; the play’s themes – power and influence, patriarchy and the desire for control – feeling as resonant now as when it was first performed in the 1890s.
Arriving home after a long honeymoon, Hedda finds herself trapped in a marriage she does not want. Wedding for financial security, not love, and living in a new home that they cannot afford, she feels stifled.
Brought up in a sheltered environment by a single parent, Hedda has yearned for years to grasp life by the throat and embrace every opportunity. However, now she feels confined; buried alive knowing she has years of tedious, intolerable life ahead of her. Battling to break free, she manipulates those closest to her. However, in a world ruled by men, there can be no victory for Hedda.
Most pleasingly, Andrew Whittle has adapted Ibsen’s original piece to incorporate contemporary language – meaning a modern-day audience can access Ibsen’s work with fresh eyes. Captivating. Beautiful. Powerful.