The Bristol Old Vic production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS A new musical play with book by Helen Edmundson and songs by Neil Hannon, based on the book by Arthur Ransome comes to the West End for a 5-week Christmas run, prior to UK tour.

Vaudeville Theatre, 15 December 2011 – 14 January 2012
Suitable for 6yrs+

The critically acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, a new musical play with book by Helen Edmundson and songs by Neil Hannon, comes to the West End this Christmas for a strictly limited 5-week run, presented by the National Theatre and The Children’s Touring Partnership. Tickets are on sale from Monday 25 July for performances at the Vaudeville Theatre from 15 December – 14 January (press night: Monday 19 December.)

Based on the much-loved book by Arthur Ransome, this delightful and imaginative production is directed by Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and co-director of the National Theatre’s Tony Award-winning smash hit War Horse. SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS has music and lyrics by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and is written by Helen Edmundson, who adapted the National’s Coram Boy.

All aboard The Swallow! Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies.

An action-packed musical adventure for the whole family (ages 6+), SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination.

SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS opened at Bristol Old Vic in December 2010 for a sell-out run and was a critical and popular hit; it was originally developed at the National Theatre Studio. Following its run at the Vaudeville Theatre, the production will embark on a UK tour (dates to be announced on 1 September; for more information please visit www.swallowsamazons.co.uk).

The director of movement is Toby Sedgwick, who won an Olivier Award for War Horse; with set design by Robert Innes Hopkins, costume design by Robert Innes Hopkins & Liesel Corp, musical direction and arrangements by Sam Kenyon, lighting design by James Farncombe, sound by Jason Barnes and additional musical arrangements by Andrew Skeet.

Published in 1930, Swallows and Amazons was the first in a series of twelve books by Arthur Ransome (1884-1967). Set in 1929 in the Lake District, it tells of the school holiday exploits of the Walker and Blackett children and their sailing dinghies – the Swallow and the Amazon.

Helen Edmundson’s many adaptations include Coram Boy, which played two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre, and Anna Karenina, Mill on the Floss, War and Peace, Gone to Earth (Shared Experience). Other work includes The Clearing (Bush Theatre), Mother Teresa is Dead (Royal Court), and a version of Calderon’s Life is a Dream (Donmar). Her new play, The Heresy of Love, opens for the RSC at the Swan in February 2012.

Neil Hannon is a singer, lyricist and composer. Although he is best known for writing, recording and performing as The Divine Comedy, he has also written extensively for TV and film, including the music to Father Ted and The IT Crowd. He has collaborated with everyone from Michael Nyman to Tom Jones, and his cricket-themed project The Duckworth Lewis Method was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. Swallows and Amazons is his first venture into the world of musical theatre.

Tom Morris was appointed Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic in September 2009. As Associate Director of the National Theatre (2004 – 2009), he developed and co-directed (with Marianne Elliott) War Horse which is currently running in the West End and on Broadway, where it received 6 Tony Awards; and co-directed Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Previously he was Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre from 1995 to 2004. He sits on the board of Complicite and is Chair of the JMK Trust.

Established in 2010 and led by independent producer Fiery Angel and Chichester Festival Theatre, the Children’s Touring Partnership receives generous support from Arts Council England. Their inaugural production, Goodnight Mister Tom, premiered at Chichester in January 2011 and subsequently toured the UK for fourteen weeks. The Children’s Touring Partnership will be presenting the tour of Bristol Old Vic’s stage adaptation of Swallows and Amazons throughout spring 2012.

Release issued by: National Theatre press office

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