Created by The House That Dan Built, Tender Young Creatures is a live theatre installation focused on the experiences of young women walking at night.
Devised by Natalie Richards, Danielle O’Keefe and the 16 young women who first made it, Tender Young Creatures melds elements of the Red Riding Hood story into an immersive work of theatre and a reclaiming of space.
Dressed in white wearing reversible capes (red on one side, white the other), the performers take the audience on an indoor exploration of contemporary anxieties experienced by young women in a city where to walk alone provokes disapproving glances at best. At worst, it attracts the attention of the wolves of the world.
Singly, in small groups, or as a unison choir, the performers – aged between nine and 17 – move around the space, dividing it, infiltrating it, filling it with their enigmatic presence and their singing voices. Using small torches, they create simple shadow plays on walls and on themselves. Projected images and title cards alert the audience to changes in episode that might not otherwise be apparent.
Sometimes the performers appear to ignore the presence of the audience, or treat them as parts of the set. At other times, a cast member will approach a member of the audience and whisper a fragment of a story, fixing them with a gaze that demands acknowledgement.