Page 1

The Snow


By Hans Christian Andersen ~ Adapted by Tyler Monroe ~ Directed by Allegra Libonati

THE TOOLKIT Welcome to The Snow Queen! In this magical holiday adventure, you’ll team up with Gerda on an adventure to rescue her best friend, Kai, from the clutches of the wicked Snow Queen. Contained in this Toolkit is everything you need to get ready for your journey to the frozen lands of the North.

Who (or what) is the Snow Queen?


Gerda’s Friends and Foes 3 Hans Christian Andersen: The Fairy Tale King


Gerda’s Greatest Ally... 6 Backstage Word Search 7 Discussion Questions 8


Who (or what) is...

the Snow Queen?

In the fairy tale, The Snow Queen, a girl named Gerda and her best friend, a boy named Kai, live next door to each other in a small village. One cold day, the Snow Queen-- a magical creature who controls the winter— kidnaps Kai as he’s out playing in the snow. Her enchanted mirror, which reflects the Snow Queen as a beautiful young woman, has been broken. She forces Kai to labor all day and night, putting the pieces of the mirror back together. Gerda, meanwhile, tracks the Snow Queen’s sleigh from the village, through the forest, across the frozen tundra, all the way to the Snow Queen’s huge ice palace. In order to save Kai, Gerda needs to challenge all the forces of winter...but she won’t do it alone. The power of friendship— the only thing that can melt the coldest ice— helps Gerda every step of the way. Read on to learn about the people and creatures who live in the world of The Snow Queen.


Gerda’s Friends and Foes There are many characters in The Snow Queen. Some help Gerda on her journey to the North, while some stand in her way. In the A.R.T. play The Snow Queen, nine actors play over twenty different roles! Below, learn about some of the important characters in the story.


The hero of The Snow Queen. She is brave, kind, and loyal to her friends. She loves to grow flowers, especially roses.


Gerda’s best friend. Kai is a math genius and an expert at puzzles.


A sorceress who controls the winter. She is vain, proud, and if she had her way, it would be winter all year long. She is depicted as a huge puppet.


A kind and gentle reindeer, and the Robber Child’s pet. When he meets Gerda, he swears to protect her.


The stubborn, spoiled Princess and her surprisingly relaxed husband, the Prince, live in a magic castle that brings their dreams to life— as dancing shadows on the castle wall. They will need to be convinced before helping Gerda.

ROBBER CHILD The daughter of the Robber Queen of the forest. She’s a wild ragamuffin who loves to play (roughly) with her collection of pet animals.


An old witch who lives in a small house surrounded by a beautiful garden. She wants a daughter more than anything in the world.


A helpful— but sometimes hard to understand— bird who used to serve the Prince and Princess.


A mischievous, evil creature who stole the Snow Queen’s enchanted mirror and broke it into a million pieces. He loves to play tricks on humans.

Actor: One who portrays a character on stage. Role: The particular character or characters played by an actor.


Hans Christian


The Fairy Tale King

Learn more about the author of the original fairy tale, The Snow Queen.

Hans Christian Andersen has become a household name partly due to The Walt Disney Company’s animated films of his fairy tales-- including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor’s New Groove (inspired by The Emperor’s New Clothes). However, the artists at Disney aren’t the only ones who have been inspired to adapt Andersen’s tales. The Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress was based on The Princess and the Pea, Warner Bros. released an adaptation of Thumbelina, and The Snow Queen has been adapted into over a dozen movies and numerous theatrical events, from plays to operas to dance pieces. Andersen’s fairy tales are so popular that they have been translated into more than 150 languages. Despite Andersen’s success, his childhood wasn’t so happy. He was born in 1805 to an impoverished shoemaker and washerwoman in the small village of Odense, Denmark. Andersen was drawn to theater from a young age, but his mother wanted him to earn a stable living. When he found employment in a factory he continued to pursue his passions by entertaining his coworkers with his beautiful soprano voice. In his spare time he put on plays in the puppet theaters he created at home. 4

Adapt: To rewrite or retell an old story in a new form (to turn a book into a film, for example).

Because he couldn’t afford to attend many professional shows, he would sit outside the only theater in his town, reading the programs and making up stories in his mind. At the age of fourteen, with barely any money, he set off for Copenhagen to realize his dream of becoming an actor. He didn’t find success as a performer, but in Copenhagen young Andersen met Jonas Collin, a director of the Royal Theater, who would become Andersen’s sponsor and father-figure. Andersen wrote constantly. In school he was told that he needed to focus on his studies and forgo his creative writing. This prompted Andersen to be more secretive with his journals. Throughout the course of his life, he wrote travel diaries, novels, poetry, and at least fifty-one theatrical works, including operas, musicals, and play scripts. However, he is best known for his fairy tales, of which he wrote well over 160. Andersen’s wildly imaginative landscapes appeal to children, while subtle social and cultural references draw adults in to his stories as well. This ability to write simultaneously for children and their parents has helped keep his fairy tales popular for over a century.

Script: The written part of the play; includes all the dialogue that characters speak, stage directions and actions.


Gerda’s Greatest Ally is


Help Gerda in her quest to find Kai! At certain parts of the story, Gerda will encounter a problem or enemy that she can’t defeat on her own. When she asks for help, that’s your cue. The Grandmother and Grandfather will give you hints on how you can pitch in. Don’t be shy! You’ll also need two special props for the grand finale. At the end of this Toolkit, you’ll find two patterns. Copy the Rose Pattern on RED paper. Copy the Snowflake Pattern on WHITE paper. Follow the instructions on each to make your very own rose and snowflake. Watch this instructional video on YouTube at: Remember to bring your props to the show!


Prop: An object that is used by actors on stage.



Can you find the following theater words in the puzzle above? Hint: Some of them are backwards!




1. Read the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. What are some differences between the story and the play on stage at the A.R.T.? 2. Discuss the theme of childhood and growing up in The Snow Queen. 3. What character did you identify with the most? Why? 4. Why do you think the enchanted mirror is the Snow Queen’s most prized possession? What is your most prized possession? 5. What makes a good friend? Who are your best friends? 6. Why did the creators of The Snow Queen use puppets to show certain characters? 7. Discuss the use of music in The Snow Queen.

Image Credits Page Page Page Page Page 8

2: Dulac, Edmund, The Snow Queen on the Rooftops 3: Dulac, Edmund, Gerda and the Reindeer 4: Hansen, Constantine, Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen (1836) 5 (left): Dulac, Edmund, The Snow Queen 5 (right): Appleton, Honor, It Was The Snow Queen

Supervising Editor: Brendan Shea



Contributors: Brendan Shea, Liana Stillman Learn more at:


Profile for American Repertory Theater

The Snow Queen Toolkit  

This Educational Toolkit contains everything you need to prepare for Gerda's arctic journey in the A.R.T.'s "The Snow Queen." Includes fun...

The Snow Queen Toolkit  

This Educational Toolkit contains everything you need to prepare for Gerda's arctic journey in the A.R.T.'s "The Snow Queen." Includes fun...