The Dewdney Players are gearing up for the premiere of their latest production: Hansel and Gretel.

They'll be gracing the Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) stage once again, this time with a unique take on the Grimm Brothers tale.

Director Kelly Kozak, who has adapted Charlotte Chorpenning's stage dramatization of the fairy tale, says it doesn't stray too far from the story we're all familiar with, though there are a fair few unique elements to this version.

"There are a lot of other characters that are introduced who weren't in the original story. In the original, it's basically Hansel, Gretel, mom, dad, and the witch. So, Hansel and Gretel now have friends, there are elves, there's a fairy, and there's a character named Ole, who is actually a Danish folklore character."

She says they had no shortage of interested local actors to fill the cast, which includes a few new faces.

"We had such an amazing turnout with auditions. We didn't really know what to expect, but we really pushed getting the word out there to schools and dance studios, so we had a fantastic turnout. My cast has just been really incredible. A lot of first timers with Dewdney, and not only children. One of the adults, it's their first time with Dewdney, and another couple of young adults. Great to see new faces and new talent come our way."

Dewdney Players Hansel and GretelThe show's cast features a few fresh faces as well as some actors you may already be familiar with from past Dewdney Players productions.

Tonally, Kozak describes the show as fairly lighthearted and somewhat comedic, with elements that will appeal to viewers of all ages.

"It has some interesting things that adults will understand and find funny and things for kids as well. It kind of incorporates a lot of different fantasy elements without getting scary. There are mysterious elements to it, it kind of takes you through a bunch of different worlds. It doesn't really take place in any one particular time frame or geographical area, it's kind of left up to the imagination of the audience where it takes place. Who I kind of imagined it is that this forest is a portal where different worlds can collide."

This will be Kozak's directorial debut with the Dewdney Players, though it's her fifth production overall, having appeared on stage in a few prior Dewdney plays.

She's also lent her experience in costuming to the production, having previously worked with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

While Kozak credits set designer Dale Fea with bringing the fairytale setting to life, producer Ed Sands says Kozak had a role to play in that too.

"She and her husband Mark have been absolutely instrumental in getting the set built. It's an aggressive set because you have the village, the house, and you've got the forest, the witch's hut, and the oven. You've got so many visuals that you need and so little space to do them on at the RPAC, so they've come up with some really ingenious designs and beautiful plants."

Sands is excited for local theatre fanatics, who don't normally have something to watch at this time of year.

"I do anticipate this one to be a well-sold show... We haven't done a summer shop for a few years, so this one almost satisfies that summer show, youth-oriented production, we hope a lot of kids come out to see this one."

With her previous work with the Dewdney Players having been in shows geared more toward adults, including the 1930s detective parody Bullshot Crummond and the Shakespeare plays Twelfth Night and Henry V, Kozak is hoping Hansel and Gretel will appeal to a wider, more family-oriented group of theatregoers.

"I'm excited to bring this show to Okotoks because not everybody is into Shakespeare, and not everybody is into tragedies. I'm excited to see if this brings us more regular audience members. It's kind of amazing to me when I've talked to people when I was acting in shows and people would say 'Oh, we didn't even know there was a community theatre in town.' It's getting the word out, getting people aware that we are here and then bringing them more shows that interest a wider audience. I think this is a show that anybody can enjoy, regardless of age."

Hansel and Gretel runs from April 26 to May 11, with 10 shows across three weekends. 

Tickets are available on Showpass.