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Magical Nights at Glade Cultural Center — Meet Artistic Director Jodie Brooke

At the heart of this story is a cross generational friendship with one character who exists in time and another character who is timeless.

Starting November 29th and running through January 6th, expectant mother Jodie Brooke gives our community the gift of wonder usually only on reserve this time of the year for children who await Santa. Her bestowal comes in the form of “The Enchanted Forest”, a stunning family-friendly contemporary immersive theatre experience at Glade Cultural Center.

“The Enchanted Forest” is an extraordinary multi-sensory light, dance and theatre installation that invites audiences to experience a magical winter forest that winds in and around Glade Cultural Center building itself. Audience members walk on lighted paths, sit in an outdoor chair grouping and even participate in a community arts project as they move through an interactive world of lights, acrobats and dancers while a story of timeless friendship and the magic of nature is imparted by a charming owl/human character.

“Jodie Brooke has created a reverential experience for The Woodlands to enjoy this holiday season,” says Lisa Fuller Harra, President of The Glade Arts Foundation. “In this show, she wraps us up in a warm woodsy winter blanket of emotional delight, celebrates the beauty of love and friendship and creates memories that will last a lifetime.”

Originally from London, Brooke, a resident of The Woodlands since 2014, has recently partnered with Glade to bring diverse theatre programming to our community. “The Enchanted Forest” is this powerful duo’s grand debut.

No stranger to theatre, Brooke is the former Artistic Director for Terrible Enfants Theatre Company for Prohibition Theatre in downtown Houston, where she facilitated the successful expansion of show programming and launched 2 new theatre production companies: Playhouse on the Prairie, which has already delivered over a year of interactive family theatre starting with its smash hit “Alice!” (based on the book by Lewis Carroll) and Long Island Boys, an acrobatic and cirque-focused theatre troupe of all-male performers. Previously, Brooke was an Assistant Director at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival after obtaining degrees in Theatre Making from the University of Leeds, UK and The University of Lisbon, Portugal. Subsequently, Brooke worked alongside Harold Pinter and The Belarus Free Theatre as Assistant Festival Director for “50 Years of Performing Pinter.” While assisting the Director of New Writing for The West Yorkshire Playhouse, she directed “One Bed Flat” by Portuguese playwright José Maria Vieira Mendes and “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler at The Leeds City Varieties Music Hall to sold-out crowds.

When asked what inspired “The Enchanted Forest”, Brooke explained as a young child her mother brought her to a wonderful production of “Alice in Wonderland” at their local arts center. It was a very different kind of theatrical experience for her unlike traditional productions like the Nutcracker performed in large seating capacity venues. In this very stylized production of “Alice in Wonderland”, however, Brooke was instructed to walk around outside with a small group of audience members. Suddenly, the Cheshire Cat literally leapt out of a tree and she could see this character was clearly a costumed actor. She could also see the incredibly complex gestural movements the performer used to convey meaning being in close proximity to the actor. She was instantly smitten with this intimate type of a theatrical experience.

“I loved seeing the inner workings of theatre itself during the performance—the lights, rigging and the discovery that people were performing as animals,” says Brooke. “It was my first peek at the machine of theatre behind the curtain and I have been magnetically drawn to it ever since.”

“The Enchanted Forest” delivers all of that kind of magic and so much more. Thematically, it evokes memory and nostalgia—those childhood experiences that shape you into who you become as an adult. At the heart of this story is a cross generational friendship with one character who exists in time and another character who is timeless. Profoundly, at the end of the performance, the audience is led to a custom-built stunning steel sculpture of trees that feels like a modern ode to traditional Chinese Wishing Trees and becomes part of the experience itself.

With Brooke’s bold and beautiful “The Enchanted Forest” she shows how we can still emotionally connect to our loved ones who no longer inhabit the earth in ways that channel both awe and wonder. This show is a gem. Don’t miss it!

All performances are stroller and wheelchair accessible. They also have several sensory-friendly performances where the sound will be turned down, and the lights will be up with extra helpers on hand. Tickets are$35 per person. Children 4 and under are free. Audience check-in times are between 5-9pm and each show lasts 70 to 90 minutes.

Reserve your tickets HERE.