HCA NEWS The biggest television show in Danish history

Read all about the fairytale extravaganza ONCE UPON A TIME..., the opening show of the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen to be held on 2 April 2005 in Copenhagen.

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 28 February 2005


Showtime: Saturday, 2 April, 2005 at 21:00 in PARKEN

- A 50-meter long red carpet with podiums on either side for the press.
- Featuring a 350-member children's choir - and a total of 600 on-stage performers.
- 900 m2 stage (80 meters wide) in the national soccer stadium PARKEN with 40,000 spectators.
- 312 m2 LED screen.
- 20 television cameras and 3 OB trucks.
- Approx. 100 costumes just for the opening and closing numbers - a total of more than 300 costumes.
- The performance will be attended by H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and the Danish royal family and Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors from around the world.
- Danish actor Henrik Koefoed in the role of Hans Christian Andersen in a number of specially-created short films conveying the author's life.

Two years in the making

It takes place on 2 April, 2005 at 21:00. The live broadcast of the biggest television show in Danish history begins at the national soccer stadium, PARKEN, in Copenhagen: The official opening show ONCE UPON A TIME..., which marks the beginning of eight months of international festivities celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen.

Nearly two years of work have gone into planning the extravaganza on the part of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR, and the Emmy-awarded British production company, Initial, considered one of the world's leading television production companies (responsible for producing e.g. The Brit Awards, The Three Tenors in Los Angeles and a wide variety of large-scale international television events).

For months on end, costume designers, seamstresses, set designers, craftsmen, producers, film workers and a creative team consisting of the director, choreographer and composer have worked hard to set the show on track. A week before 2 April performance, the entire production will move to PARKEN, where hundreds of people will work around the clock, including 20 cameramen, 130 technicians and production workers, 12 lighting technicians, 10 make-up artists, 10 dressers and approximately 600 on-stage performers. The ubiquitous chef Chili John, legendary for catering big concerts in PARKEN and the Forum, will be responsible for providing the production with approx. 4,000 meals over 8 days - with assistance from 20 kitchen workers.

The Fairytale Weekend - official events all weekend long
Starting on Friday 1 April 2005, Copenhagen will become the centre of world attention when SAS carry the many international stars, VIP guests and the Danish royal family to Denmark during the course of the day. The international press corps will begin arriving in Denmark mid-week, and by Friday Copenhagen will play host to hundreds of foreign journalists. During the weekend, police will ensure the necessary security and oversee traffic re-routing both in Odense and, on Saturday, in Copenhagen in the Kongens Nytorv and PARKEN areas, where additional travel time will be certain for those attending the show.

The Fairytale Weekend begins on Friday evening with the Danish royal family and numerous international guests attending the world premiere of the Hans Christian Andersen production Horseradish Soup and Stuffed Cabbage at a Royal Command Performance at the Royal Danish Theatre, Old Stage. Friday night also sees the premiere of Symphonic Fairytales at the Odense Concert Hall. The concert, performed by the Odense Symphony Orchestra, consists of 10 newly composed Danish orchestral pieces based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales and poems. The evening in Odense concludes with a spectacular fireworks display and light show by the French fireworks wizards Groupe F, who have been responsible for many large-scale international fireworks displays, including those at the Athens 2004 Olympics. After the fireworks, all church bells in Odense will ring to celebrate the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen.

On Saturday, the Danish royal family, VIP guests and members of the press corps will be transported from Copenhagen to Odense by special train service to attend the City of Odense Hans Christian Andersen award ceremony, including The Hans Christian Andersen Award of Euro 50,000 to be presented to American literature professor Harold Bloom. The guests will return to Copenhagen after the award ceremony to prepare for the big show at PARKEN.

Stars and royals to walk the red carpet
Danish and international stars, along with other VIP guests, will be taken by bus to PARKEN in due time for the show. They will be transported to Entrance A5, where a 50-meter long red carpet will have been rolled out in their honour. Danish national broadcaster DR1 will televise the arrival of the stars live as they give their red carpet appearances. At the end of the carpet a full-sized LEGO model of Hans Christian Andersen will great the dignitaries with a guest book to be signed by each of the arriving guests. In true Oscar style, the red carpet will be bordered by press stands, and guests already inside the stadium will be able to watch the arrivals on the big screens. A number of royal dignitaries will be present, and confirmed attendees include H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, H.R.H Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands and H.R.H. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. The last arrivals will be the members of the Danish royal family, including H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, patron of the celebrations, H.R.H. Prince Henrik, H.R.H. Crown Prince Frederik and H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary, H.R.H. Prince Joachim, H.R.H. Princess Alexandra as well as H.R.H. Princess Benedikte and H.H. Prince Richard.

PARKEN will become a fairytale universe
For the occasion, PARKEN will be transformed into a fairytale universe transporting the audience into the magical world of Hans Christian Andersen. When the audience arrives they will be greeted by an overwhelming sight - one that is likely to make them forget they're in a soccer stadium. A giant 80-meter wide 900m2 large stage will be anchored at one end of the stadium featuring a long catwalk where performers will almost seem to topple into the audience. On stage will be four 19-metre columns that resemble icicles which can be lit from both inside and outside. The four columns will play an important part in the PARKEN set design before and during the show, and will magically change to portray enormous trees in a dark forest, seaweed in the depths of the ocean, burning flames, and icicles in a snow-covered winter landscape. A giant 312 m2 LED screen at the backend of the stage will also prove integral to the event. This screen will be used as part of the set design to display patterns, forms and figures, and to show the films central to the show itself.

Furthermore, as they enter the seating area, the audience will have the opportunity to create for themselves a little extra fairytale atmosphere by purchasing a special fairytale cushion designed especially for the occasion. The cushion, which is made of red polyester satin, is in the shape of a folding book and contains a fragment of the fairytale The Princess on the Pea. A tiny green plastic pea is fastened to the back of the cushion.

120 minute fairytale
At 21:00 sharp, the live broadcast from PARKEN begins. 20 television cameras, 3 OB trucks, 20 kilometres of cable, 12 technical trailers and 24 computers will play their parts in bringing the spectacular fairytale show to viewers around the world. For 120 minutes, hundreds of performers will tell the story of Hans Christian Andersen's life and art in prose, film, dance, song and music.

The show will feature 13 Hans Christian Andersen fairytales performed in whole or in part. The television show will begin with a lavish song and dance act that takes the audience and viewers on a trip through the life of Hans Christian Andersen, where central figures from his life transform themselves into characters from his fairytales. No expense has been spared, and the opening number alone will feature performers in 92 different costumes - a total of more than 300 costumes for the entire show. 

Many of Hans Christian Andersen's most famous and most beloved fairytales will receive spectacular and visually astounding stage interpretations. Jean Michel Jarre will offer his own unique view of The Shadow in a multimedia show complete with indoor fireworks. Dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet will tell the touching love story of The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep in a heartrending pas de deux, a huge dance ensemble à la Busby Berkeley will bring Little Ida's Flowers to life, and the giant screens will rain with tulips in a new rendition of Thumbelina. In The Little Mermaid, an internationally celebrated female star - to be announced as soon as the agreement is in place - will hover over the stage with international acrobats and dancers to create the illusion of being in the ocean's depths. A giant Lord of the Dance-style ensemble with children from the Danish Royal Ballet dancers, costumed to look like pigs, will dramatize The Swineherd, while one of the show's more intimate features will be the interpretation of The Princess on the Pea narrated by a famous Hollywood actress. The other fairytales to be staged include The Nightingale, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Snow Queen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Red Shoes, The Tinder-Box and The Ugly Duckling.

Six films to provide focal point for the show
The main focus of the show will be six short films that dramatize the life of Hans Christian Andersen and provide a conceptual link to the fairytales on the stage. The films cover the entire life of the author - from his childhood in Odense and youth in Copenhagen to the tough times at Slagelse Grammar School; to his adult years filled with success, travel and unrequited love to his later years, focusing particularly on the homecoming to Odense and his tribute as honorary citizen. The films were made in October 2004 in Poland and other locations with international actors playing most of the roles. Hans Christian Andersen is played by Royal Theatre actor Henrik Kofoed, who is expected to garner international attention with his work in these films. Two years ago, Koefoed characterized Hans Christian Andersen on stage in the Royal Danish Theatre production of From the Life of the Earthworms.

Over 600 on-stage performers
A children's choir comprised of 350 boys and girls from the Danish National Children's Choir, Danish National Junior Choir, Danish Boys' Choir and the Choir of Skt. Annæ School, grades 3, 4 and 5, 30 children's ballet members from The Royal Danish Ballet, the Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe from China and a large ensemble of dancers and singers will all take the stage. Many international stars will also perform, including Jean Michel Jarre, world-famous American opera singer Renee Flemming, Safri Duo, the Italian stage caricaturist Ennio Marchetto, Harry Belafonte and Chilean author Isabel Allende. More stars will be announced shortly.

Press releases will be issued ongoing until 2 April 2005 providing news, performer announcements, information on national and international Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors, politicians and stars as well as other VIP guest and official dignitary announcements as well as potential changes and updates related to the PARKEN show.

See back:

- Fact-sheet for ONCE UPON A TIME...
- Program for Fairytale Weekend
- Profile for Ulrik Skotte, Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR)
- Profile for Initial and those responsible for the show

Show tickets can be purchased at BilletNet on +45 70 15 65 65 or www.billetnet.dk and at Billetlugen on +45 70 263 267 or www.billetlugen.dk

For more information, please contact those listed below.

Yours sincerely,

Have PR & Kommunikation
Telephone: +45 33 25 21 07

Project coordinator:
Michael Feder - Email: - Mobile: +45 22434942
Shelly Silberberg - Email: - Mobile: +45 61716470
Louise Christensen - Email:

Fact-sheet for ONCE UPON A TIME...

Technical details
-20 cameras - All 20 cameras to be used for television broadcast
-3 OB trucks
- 20 kilometres of cables
- 12 trailers for lighting, sound, screen and set design equipment, including 6 for generators, 2 for lighting, 2 for scaffolding
- 24 computers and over 100 mobile telephones

The stage
- 80 meters wide stage, 900 m2 in total
- LED giant screen monitors: 312 m2 (comprised of a total of 1560 tiles and weighing 37,180 kg)
- 1 main set design that changes appearance for 11 acts with lighting, extra set design and props
- 4 columns that are constructed to look like giant icicles. They measure 19 metres in height, 9 metres in diameter at the top and 3 meters in diameter at the bottom. They will be lit from both inside and outside. A total of 2,000 metres of fabric will be used to decorate the columns.

- Approx. 600 performers
- 20 cameramen
- 130 technicians and production workers
- 12 light technicians
- 10 makeup artists
- 10 dressers
- 92 costumes are used in the opening and closing numbers to perform Hans Christian Andersen's most famous fairytales, including 56 brand-new, custom-made costumes for Andersen's most famous characters. A total of more than 300 costumes for the show.
- 8 costumiers worked on making the costumes
Show content
- Opening number consists of 10 spectacular and dramatic interpretations of Hans Christian Andersen's most famous fairytales, including The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, The Swineherd and The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep.
- At least 7 fairytales will be performed as special numbers through e.g. music or dance
- The show also features such famous fairytales as The Shadow, The Little Match Seller and The Princess on the Pea
- 13 Hans Christian Andersen fairytales will be featured in total
- The following artists and performers have been announced: Jean Michel Jarre, the Royal Danish Ballet, world-famous American opera singer Renee Flemming, Safri Duo, the Italian stage caricaturist Ennio Marchetto, Harry Belafonte, Chilean author Isabel Allende; a children's choir comprised of 350 boys and girls; 30 children's ballet members from The Royal Danish Ballet and the Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe from China. Additional artists and stars will be announced shortly.

Children's choir
- 350 boys and girls from the Danish National Children's Choir, the Danish National Junior Choir, the Danish Boys' Choir and the Choir of Skt. Annæ School, grades 3, 4 and 5 form the choir.
- Conductor is Michael Bojesen from DR Radiopigekoret and project manager Louise Skovbæch, producer in DR.

- Filmed October 2004
- Director: Adek Drabinski
- Screenplay: John Paul Chapple
- Key roles:
 - Henrik Koefoed: Hans Christian Andersen
 - Josh Reynolds: Young H.C. Andersen
 - Malin Christensen: Jenny Lind
 - Gary Sharkey: Jonas Collin
 - David Newsome: Simon Meisling

Red carpet
- 50-meters long
- All VIP guests, such as the Danish royal family and international royal dignitaries as well as Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors
- Full-sized LEGO Hans Christian Andersen welcomes guests at the end of the red carpet
- All guests sign the guest book designed by LEGO

Artist catering
- Chili John will provide catering services for artists and backstage crew
- 4000 meals over 8 days
- A canteen will be constructed in PARKEN
- Chili John will bring all the necessary kitchen utensils
- 20 kitchen workers will assist in preparing the meals
- 20,000 bottles of soda and mineral water are expected to be served

Fairytale cushion
- The cushion is made of a folding book with front cover text reading "Once Upon a Time...". Inside is a fragment of the fairytale The Princess on the Pea, and a small green plastic pea is sewn on the back of the cushion.
- The red cushion cover is made of polyester satin with 100% polyester filling. The pillow is tied together with two white polyester satin cords. The inside text is brown and the cover text is black.
- The cushion measures 35 x 35 cm and is 4 cm deep.
- 18,000 cushions will be manufactured and placed on all seats in seating categories A, B and C. The cushions will also be available at all PARKEN stalls for a price of DKK 100 excl. VAT.

Fairytale Weekend Program April 1 - 3, 2005

(Thursday, March 31)
- World premiere of Do You Know Dizzy? at the Odense Theatre.

Friday, April 1:
- 9:00-13:30: Torben Iversen and the Hans Christian Andersen Parade will give a children's birthday party at the Odense Concert Hall.

- 20:00: World premiere of the new play Horse Radish Soup and Stuffed Cabbage at a Royal Command Performance at the Royal Danish Theatre. The Danish royal family, official dignitaries, international guests and the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors will attend.

- 20:00: Odense Symphony Orchestra concert at Odense Concert Hall. Conductor: Frank Strobel. Ghita Nørby, recitation.

- Fireworks display with Groupe F.

Saturday, April 2:
- The awarding of the Euro 50,000 Odense City Hans Christian Andersen Award. Members of the Danish royal family, Danish officials and the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors will take part.

- Sigurd Barrett will perform two family shows at the Odense Concert Hall along with the Odense Symphony Orchestra.

- Outdoor rock concert at the Amphi-Stage in Odense, where leading Danish soloists will perform new interpretations of Hans Christian Andersen works.

- Once upon a time... TV show at the national soccer stadium PARKEN  featuring international stars and attended by members of the Danish royal family, Danish and international officials, dignitaries and celebrities as well as the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors.

Sunday, April 3:
- Official reception at Copenhagen Town Hall. Members of the Danish royal family, Danish officials, and the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors will take part.

Profile of Ulrik Skotte, DR project manager for Hans Christian Andersen 2005
The Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR, is official broadcaster of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary, and Ulrik Skotte is the man responsible for TV coverage. Skotte is head of the DR Event Division and was most recently DR's "wedding general" for the royal wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
From 1998-2004, Ulrik Skotte was chief editor at  TV-Avisen, the Danish national news program.
In 2003 he became project manager for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation's coverage of the royal wedding, and in 2004 he was made head of DR Event. He is also the project manager for the large-scale DR production of the Hans Christian Andersen Once upon a time show at PARKEN on April 2, 2005. 

INITIAL (part of Endemol UK)
Emmy Award-winning INITIAL is the UK's leading producer of music entertainment and live event television. The company also has a growing portfolio of youth shows and its programmes are seen in over 100 countries.

Initial produced the UK's biggest music event - The Brit Awards (ITV) - for eight years from 1993 to 2000, producing shows featuring the cream of the British and international music scene, along with stars from the world of comedy, movies and the arts.

Initial also co-devised and produced Fashion Rocks, a fashion-meets-music spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall, and produced 46664 The Concert, a major global awareness event for Nelson Mandela's AIDS charity.

Latest productions include UK Music Hall of Fame (Channel 4; E4), The Match (Sky One) and Orange Playlist (ITV1; VH1; TMF). Other recent credits are Fame Academy and Comic Relief does Fame Academy (BBC), The Orange British Academy Film Awards (BBC One), Party in the Park (Five) and The Voice (Channel 4).

Other credits include the Q Awards for Channel 4 to Miss World (broadcast live to 75 countries) and performance specials including Joaquin Cortes Live at the Royal Albert Hall, Our Manics In Havana (C4 and international), The Three Tenors (Los Angeles), Björk at the Royal Opera House (BBC4) and Russell Watson live in Auckland (PBS USA).

The company was also behind the worldwide webcast of JK Rowling's exclusive appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for the launch of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.
Popular documentaries include the stories behind 2003's biggest movie releases, The Hulk, Terminator 3 and Charlie's Angels 2 (Five).

People behind Initial and the PARKEN show

Andy Ward, Head of Events
Andy Ward is an internationally recognised event television producer who has worked with a wide range of broadcasters and events organisations, including Fox, Fuji, Channel 4, Five, ITV, BBC, Sony Entertainment TV, BSkyB, and Channel 9 Australia. He has produced television shows with almost every major artist in the world, including Michael Jackson, Luciano Pavarotti, Madonna, Sting,  Diana Ross, Queen, U2, Sir Elton John, David Bowie, Ricky Martin, Will Smith, and The Spice Girls, to name but a few.

Before joining Initial as Head of Events, Ward produced the world's biggest-ever live television production - the BBC's 2000 Today Millennium Event, which he edited and executive produced. The international feed of the show was seen in more than 70 countries including the US, Russia, India, China, France, Germany and Australia.

Upon joining Initial as Head of Events, Andy Ward produced The Brits 2000 (British Grammy Awards) for ITV, among other productions. 

John Bishop, Producer
John has directed and produced television series and specials with Les Dennis, Bob Monkhouse, Stanley Baxter and Paul Daniels as well as over forty episodes of The Russ Abbot Show. John was also Deputy Head of Light entertainment at the BBC where, amongst other programmes, he commissioned the pilot episode of Absolutely Fabulous. More recently John produced The Millennium Concert at Greenwich for Initial Television.

David Mallet, Director
David Mallet is widely regarded as one of the best music directors in the world. Renowned not only for his music videos for David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Freddie Mercury and Janet Jackson, he has also directed numerous live events, including The Rolling Stones, U2 and Cirque du Soleil. His acclaimed work has been recognised by two Grammys (U2 and Madonna) and an Emmy (Cirque du Soleil).