For thousands of years fairy tales have been passed down through generations to nourish imaginations and teach us important life lessons. To mark National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, a film expert at Edge Hill University explains why these classic stories never lose their magic when it comes to modern storytelling.
Andrea Wright, a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, said: “From childhood to adulthood, fairy tales can still fascinate us. They may have been around for thousands of years in different forms, and scattered all over the globe, but they still have a peculiar power to engage readers, listeners, and audiences.
“One of the reasons that fairy tales endure is because they have continued to evolve and develop. They can become relevant to new generations and each new teller of stories brings their own creativity and perspective.”
According to Andrea, tracing the roots of fairy tales to their folk lore origins has proven a point of debate for many experts.
She said: “Historians and critics frequently disagree as to their origins. You will find lots of different answers, even a simple search of one fairy tale on the internet will throw up a confusing range of ideas and answers. In some respects, of course, where they come from is unimportant and may indeed take away some of the magic. What is important is that we continue to tell them.”
In her current research, Andrea is interested in how the fairy tale has been absorbed into the popular imagination through film and television adaptations. Her research focuses on puppeteer and filmmaker Jim Henson and how, although he is most famous for the popular television series The Muppet Show, he was also responsible for considerable innovation in screen fairy tales.
She added: “Importantly, telling a fairy story, whether you do it through spoken or written word or though other creative media, is about making a connection with your audience and igniting their imagination. The possibilities are endless. In our current circumstances it is perhaps even more important than ever to take part in things we can share and enjoy.”
Edge Hill’s Department of Creative Arts offers industry relevant programmes in animation, film and television, which provide rich academic experience underpinned by staff research. With a Film degree, students can gain practical experience writing, shooting and editing in the industry-standard TV studios.