The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Rose Theatre Kingston

Summer is almost here, and thoughts of Christmas are probably the furthest thing from most people’s minds as they look forward to sunny days and BBQs in the garden. Yuletide plans are being made though, as the Rose Theatre demonstrated this week with the announcement about their seasonal show for this year.

The Rose Theatre, situated in the London borough of Kingston, stages a family Christmas show every year, starting in 2008 with the classic seasonal tale of A Christmas Carol. Since then they have continued to produce a series of excellent annual productions for Christmas audiences, including Treasure Island, a musical version of The Three Musketeers, The Snow Queen and Cinderella, and last year’s production of The Snow Gorillas was highly successful. Now the theatre is looking ahead to the coming Christmas period in which the ever-popular children’s classic The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe will be taking to the stage in a whole new production.

The Rose Theatre will present Theresa Heskins’ adaption of the C.S. Lewis novel which featured as one of seven in the Chronicles of Narnia series and is probably the best known of them all. First published in 1950, the fantasy adventure story follows the four Pevensie children who are evacuated to a house in the children during the Blitz and there discover a magical wardrobe which transports them to a place called Narnia, a land frozen in perpetual winter which is ruled by the evil White Witch.

Heskins received permission from the author’s estate to create a new, original version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and her production, which she also directed, was first seen on stage at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2009. Featuring Jack Blumenau, Clara Darcy, Antony Eden and Pam Jolley as the ‘Sons of Adam’ and ‘Daughters of Eve’, the show received glowing reviews with Laura Clarkson’s set design being a common point of praise from the critics.

No names have yet been announced for the cast, but the theatre will be holding open auditions for local children aged between 11 and 18 years to join the Rose Youth Theatre and also perform in the show alongside the professional cast. The Rose Theatre’s production is set to be directed by its director of learning and participation, Ciaran McConville, who said of the 2014 Christmas show: “This is a much-loved story and whilst we must hold on to the heart of it, we want to blow away any cobwebs and bring a family of children to this stage who take us on an extraordinary adventure of the imagination.” He went on to say that: “This promises to be theatre at its most involving and exhilarating – when you leave at the end of the show it will be like stepping back out of the wardrobe.”

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe opens at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on 4th December 2014 (previews from 28th November) and runs over the Christmas period until 4th January 2015.

Before then, audiences can enjoy the theatre’ summer production of Grim: A New Musical which makes its world premiere at the venue on 20th July 2014.

By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)

Thursday 22nd May 2014

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