Storyhouse has announced its 2017 Christmas show will be a stage version of Enid Blyton’s children’s classic The Secret Seven.
Chester’s £37m new cultural centre will produce the show in-house, with a run from December 1, 2017, until January 14, 2018.
Working with Enid Blyton Entertainment, Storyhouse’s award-winning team will deliver ‘a stylish new production’ of the beloved book.
Performed on the theatre’s intimate thrust stage, with evocative staging, an original acoustic score and a play that conveys the spirit of adventure, this production will express the great bonds of childhood friendship.
Enid Blyton’s famous tale of the much-loved group of child detectives will be brought to life by Storyhouse artistic director Alex Clifton and the theatre’s ensemble company.
Alex said: “We are really excited to make this announcement. Blyton is one of the world’s greatest storytellers; bringing her characters and ideas to life on our wonderful stage is a privilege. Our production is based on the first in The Secret Seven book series and will be faithful to the story but reimagined for the stage in a new and original way.”
Alex is co-founder of award-winning Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. He has directed adaptations of family classics including The Wind in the Willows, Hercules and Merlin and the Woods of Time for Storyhouse, to great critical acclaim.
During its run, the entire building will come alive with Enid Blyton’s work as the library spaces which weave their way around the building are filled with material and images from the world of The Secret Seven.
That’s because Enid Blyton’s publisher, Hodder Children’s Books, will be stocking the theatre’s children’s library with the late author’s books.
Karen Lawler, of Enid Blyton Entertainment, said: “Storyhouse is an innovative and exciting partner, whose commitment to storytelling is clear in everything they do. We are thrilled to be partnering with them on stage and in their library space to bring The Secret Seven to Chester for Christmas 2017.”
Sarah Maxfield, area director North, Arts Council England, commented: “It is fitting that Storyhouse’s first Christmas show is based on the work of an author celebrated for her storytelling. I’m sure that The Secret Seven will delight children and adults alike and bring new audiences to experience everything that Storyhouse has to offer.”
Opening on Thursday, May 11, after a decade-long absence of a city centre cinema and theatre, Storyhouse is the UK’s largest regional arts project to open this year.
It opens with a run of four home-produced shows, performed in rep, by a company of 26 – the largest rep company in the UK outside of the RSC, National Theatre and Globe.
Storyhouse has been carved out of the Grade II-listed shell of the former Odeon cinema, alongside a new brick and translucent glass extension.
The Storyhouse library, restaurant and independent cinema are housed in the former Odeon’s streamlined art-deco interior. The uniquely flexible 800/500 seat auditorium, 150-seat community studio, called the Garret, and fourth floor bar, are housed in the extension.
Tickets for The Secret Seven are £26 for adults and £19.50 for under 26s.
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