The Secret Garden



I have decided to do this as a ballet. After researching it a little I have discovered that it has already been adapted into a ballet a handful of times, so I will be listening to the music of these adaptations to gain inspiration and to help me to visualise my own story. The themes of this book are very strong. There is obviously huge running theme of rebirth and new beginnings for both the garden and also the characters. As well as this the book teaches us of how damaging a secret can be, and how things only improve once these secrets become no more.

The garden in the book has a very magical element to it for many, and I wish to bring this magic to life by crossing the story with the flower fairy books. These magical characters will come alive in the garden when the children start to tend to the garden again. These characters will embody the children’s love of the garden, while also giving the garden a voice of its own within the ballet.

The original book was written and set in the 1910’s and I have decided that I want to keep my ballet set in the time period the book was intended for. Where I have made changes however, is with Colin’s character. Instead of the boy just being sickly and neglected, I have imagined him has autistic. I feel as though this makes a lot of sense for his character because at this time autism is not something that people would have understood, so the way that they treat Colin is probably very similar to the way they would have treated someone with autism. Other ways that the story lines up with this slight change is that using the outdoors in a common way that parents with autistic children use to help bring there children out of themselves, because of the calming environment.

The ballet is going to be from the perspective of Colin, and how he sees the world and the people in it. The people caring for him don’t understand him, and he in turn doesn’t understand that. This is what I want to focus on. I want to experiment with his different emotions and look at the different ways he would feel toward different characters; this will be the basis for my textile research. I want to focus on Colin’s relationship to faces, as like many people with autism, this is an aspect of everyday like that is hugely challenging. I want to look at different ways that I can convey Colin’s emotions towards others onto the costumes of the different characters.

For my colour scheme I want to take inspiration from the garden itself, I will be researching exactly what flowers and plants would be living in there at the different seasons then it will be from this that I will take my inspiration for both colour and shape. I feel very adamant at this point that I don’t want to make the costumes ‘floral’ at all; I want to look more at the graphic lines and bold shapes.

The ‘Flower Fairy’s’ are going to be visual representation of the gardens flowers, they wont be ‘real’ fairies but instead a way of showing the wonder that Colin is seeing in the garden. They will also be an important part of the set as they will be how the audience is shown that the seasons are changing.

I will be designing for the three children, a Flower Fairy to represent each changing season, the father and Nurse maid and the late mother (who will be a representation of the garden)