Get ready to immerse yourself in an immersive theatre event via Zoom next week (July 16-18), when Bark At A Crow and MXB Studios join hands to present Ashputtel.

Based on the original 1812 European fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, it tells the fantastical story of Ashputtel, a girl reduced to poverty and servitude by the manipulations of her new stepmother and stepsisters.

No, this is not Cinderella as you know it, because assisted by a mysterious half-bird, half-tree forest creature, she is able to break free, run to the palace and attempt to win the heart of the Prince.

It may be a traditional tale, but it cleverly mixes the original text with modern language and 21st century references. In fact it goes a step further and invites the audience to enjoy an immersive experience – viewers can take centre stage at various points, videos will be on and microphones will be unmuted. The audience will be asked to assist Ashputtel to complete her tasks, party at the palace and, maybe, also get even with her greedy stepsisters.

London-based actress Venetia Clark essays the lead role of Ashputtel.

The show is created in Dubai and is supported by Dubai Culture. “The cast is based in London and Dubai; and thanks to the online platform, we can perform with actors based on two continents,” says Shereen Saif, a Dubai-based actor and dancer who plays the mystical Bird Tree.

Artistic director

Liz Hadaway’s previous UAE productions include Gatsby: The Immersive Experience on board the iconic QE2 in 2019, Immersive Macbeth, which toured across the UAE as part of the UK/UAE year of cultural collaboration in 2017, and Immersive Romeo+Juliet on the roof of the Mall of the Emirates as part of the global Shakespeare400 celebrations in 2016.

There will be two shows each at 4pm and 9pm (UAE time) on Thursday and Friday (July 16 and 17) and one show at 9pm on Saturday (July 18).

Tickets, available at, are priced at Dh75 for one Zoom code. This means any number of people living in a household can watch and participate for the price of one ticket.

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