Breaking Stepmother Stereotypes

Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel & Gretel... We all know a tale that features an evil stepmother with the viscous intention to cause their stepchildren misery and despair.

In Wicked Stepmother?, Franziska Droll and Daiva Ivanauskaite explore the depiction of stepmothers in traditional tales and modern context, shining a light on their notoriously bad reputation in an evening of stories at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Thursday 28 March.

Daiva and Franziska explore how the role of stepmother is misunderstood across nations and cultures to challenge stereotypes of women in fiction and stories.

The storytelling performance will showcase a selected mix of traditional stories and songs, from North America to Japan, interspersed with personal anecdotes which look at binarism through the eyes of a modern woman.

“The stepmother has been the villain for way too long! It is time to drag her out of the shadows and bring her into the light!” (Franziska Droll)

Amongst the tales on offer, Daiva will be showcasing the Lithuanian folk tale, 'Sigutė', which planted the root for her seeing stepmothers only represented as wicked, plus there’s a chance to hear a rarely heard and surprising Celtic tale, 'Gold Tree and Silver Tree', featuring an evil mother but some unexpected and inspiring female camaraderie.

With familiar elements to the classic Snow White tale but much older, it’s very likely that Jakob Grimm discovered the story and changed it, so Franziska will bring the old characters to life with a few shocking twists in the tale.

“I’m excited to present this storytelling performance on an untouched topic that is personal to me. As a stepmother myself, I was empowered to find good stories beyond embedded folklore stereotypes, where the stepmother is a hero or mentor who transforms her fear and insecurity into loving family relationships.” (Daiva Ivanauskaitė)

Wicked Stepmother?
Thu 28 Mar | 7.30pm – 9.30pm | £8 (£6) | 0131 556 9579


Lindsay Corr is Marketing & Communications Manager for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS), which is based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.