Video: How does our 'Secret Garden' grow?

by John Moore | May 01, 2017


Here is an inside video look behind the making of the DCPA Theatre Company's The Secret Garden,’ from the vantage of Director Jenn Thompson and Scenic Designer Wilson Chin.

The Secret Garden is the classic story of the 10-year-old orphan girl doomed to a life of isolation with her uncle in England - until she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden. 

The Secret Garden Jenn ThompsonChin said he thinks of The Secret Garden as a journey from dark to light, and that is reflected in his scenic design when Mary emerges from what he calls "the scary haunted mansion" she lives in to the long-dormant garden.

"Sometimes we kind of blind the audience when going from dark to light so that when you see that light you feel the warmth. You feel the life," said Chin. You really feel like there is hope from grief." 

Thompson says she wanted her entire production to feel like a dream, "like it was in perpetual motion." 

Because the story is told almost entirely from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl who rarely leaves the stage, Chin said, that is reflected in the perception and scale of his design. Chin set out to make things feel "as operatically large as possible," he said, "so that you can imagine how scared that kid must feel." 

Although the perception of The Secret Garden is that this is a kids story, "it really isn’t," Thompson said. "It’s certainly about kids, and it is a great family show. But this story has some serious, grown-up and deep themes. And I think it will make for a lot of beautiful, interesting conversations."

Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore.

Video: Your first look at The Secret Garden

Photos: Your first look at The Secret Garden

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

The Secret Garden: Ticket information
The Secret GardenThe beloved classic blossoms anew in this enchanting musical full of beautiful melodies. When young Mary uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to revive the beauty that once flourished.
Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman; music by Lucy Simon;
based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Through May 28
Stage Theatre
Denver Performing Arts Complex
303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE


Previous coverage of The Secret Garden:

Five things we learned at first rehearsal
Five things we learned at Perspectives
2016-17 season: Nine shows, two world premieres, return to classics

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ABOUT THE EDITOR
John Moore
John Moore
Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.