The Festival Theatre is delighted to reveal a spectacular family show for Christmas – a major new production of the award-winning musical The Secret Garden.
Based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel, this much-loved tale is brought to life with the enchanting music of Lucy Simon (sister of singing legend Carly Simon) with book and spellbinding lyrics by Marsha Norman. The show, which won two Tony Awards when it opened on Broadway in 1991, received a triumphant revival from the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2000 and now becomes the latest in a line of exciting new in-house productions from the Festival Theatre.
First published in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel continues to appeal to readers of all ages and regularly appears in the Top 10 of all time favourite children’s literature. In a sad and lonely house on the Yorkshire moors, the melancholy routine of a family in mourning is turned upside down with the arrival of a young orphan, Mary Lennox. When the curious child discovers the key to the hidden door of a secret walled garden, a long-locked away magic is released, changing the lives of all, forever.
“It’s just a garden. But all I would ask is never, never to leave.”
Anna Linstrum, who has worked on high profile West End shows such as The King and I (Royal Albert Hall) and The Sound of Music (Edinburgh Playhouse and London Palladium), as well as directing the North American premiere of The Sound of Music in Toronto, will lead the creative team. Set and Costume Designs will be provided by Francis O’Connor, a regular creative contributor to shows at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s favourite Casting Director, David Grindrod, who recently made an appearance on the hit BBC television show Over the Rainbow, will be overseeing casting for the show.
This will be the second in-house Christmas production from the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh following the success of The Corstorphine Road Nativity last year. The Secret Garden will be appearing at the theatre for five weeks from Thursday 9 December 2010 to Saturday 8 January 2011, before embarking on a UK tour. Then, at the invitation of Canada’s most prolific theatre producer and theatre manager David Mirvish, The Secret Garden will transfer to the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Canada.
John Stalker, Chief Executive of Festival City Theatres Trust said:
“We are thrilled to have been granted the rights by Lucy and Marsha to create a new production of The Secret Garden. It represents an essential treat for all our family audiences this Christmas, something for all ages to enjoy together.
“It is a pleasure to make something very special for our local audiences. I am honoured that our home grown production has been invited to play in Toronto’s majestic Princess of Wales Theatre by David Mirvish. A show made around the corner now being seen around the world! This is great news for Scottish theatre.”
Meanwhile, there are plenty of other exciting shows to whet the appetite this season. With a huge variety of dance, drama, comedy, music and events, we hope there is something to suit every taste…
We have a thrilling dance programme this spring with the Scottish premiere of Wayne McGregor’s award-winning Entity for Random Dance arriving at the Festival Theatre in May. This is followed by the renowned Brazilian dance company Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, which returns with its latest work Cruel later in the month. The talented Irina Kolesnikova will be reprising her performance as Odette Odile in Swan Lake, while the “bad boy of ballroom” Brendan Cole will be putting audiences through their paces with his exciting new show in June. Scottish Ballet kicks off the autumn season with three unique pieces including a world premiere from San Francisco choreographer Val Caniparoli. Dance sensation Havana Rakatan will transport all the passion and spirit from the streets of Cuba to the Festival Theatre in October, followed by the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with the company’s 50th anniversary tour. Featuring some of the world’s hottest DJs, B-Boys and street-dancers, Blaze also bursts onto the stage in October with a high-energy show to delight dance junkies and newcomers alike while Breakin’ Convention, the hip-hop spectacular, returns to take over the stage and foyer at the Festival Theatre for two nights in November. The Richard Alston Dance Company returns in November with a brand new work and a revival of the iconic Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms.
Plays and Comedies
At the Festival Theatre we have a variety of plays and comedies to entertain audiences throughout the summer months. The 25th anniversary production of Stepping Out appears in May starring ex-Corrie villain Brian Capron and 60s legend Anita Harris. This is followed by the ultimate feel-good show, Girls Night Out, which promises to have audiences laughing their socks off and dancing in the aisles. The cult 80s romantic classic When Harry Met Sally comes to the Festival Theatre in June starring Hollyoaks actress Sarah Jayne Dunne and Coronation Street star Rupert Hill.
Over at the King’s Theatre, following a record-breaking sell-out week in 2008, the fabulous Calendar Girls returns for a two week run in September with a star-studded cast lead by Elaine C Smith. This is followed by Punk Rock, an exciting new play by the writer of Pornography and On the Shore of the Wide World Simon Stephens. Nina Bawden’s best-loved classic
Carrie’s War is brought to life by actress Brigit Forsyth in a new production arriving direct from the West End. Peter Hall’s production of the Alan Ayckbourn play Bedroom Farce comes to the King’s in October, followed by the stage adaptation of the now popular television series Lark Rise to Candleford. 2 Pianos 4 Hands charts the journey of two aspiring concert pianists as they work and play their way towards achieving their dreams while Enron, the theatrical sensation that took Broadway and the West End by storm last year, appears at the King’s in November.
There is plenty to entertain younger audiences and families this season. Edinburgh Gang Show returns to the Festival Theatre in June with Billy Elliot -The Musical followed by the National Theatre of Scotland production of JM Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, directed by John Tiffany and written by David Greig. Scotland’s favourite children’s entertainers The Singing Kettle bring some Highland fun and games to the Festival Theatre in July with Calamity Castle while Room on the Broom, adapted from the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson, promises to brighten things up in October with a fabulous new production.
Glee fans will be delighted to see Don’t Stop Believin’, an all new music and dance show featuring songs from the hit TV programme, bursting onto the Festival Theatre in September. Back by popular demand, the Dundee Rep Theatre production of Sunshine on Leith returns in October with over 20 classic Proclaimers’ hits, such as Letter from America, I’m On My Way and I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). And, the irresistible story of the wooden puppet who longs to become a real boy is brought to life in Opera North’s The Adventures of Pinocchio – a musical treat for all the family.
Spectacular Shows and Events
Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell brings his brilliant story-telling talents to life illustrating his new book What The Dog Saw in May. A highlight of the theatrical calendar, the glittering ceremony for the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland returns to the Festival Theatre for a second year in June. In August the legendary Kris Kristofferson presents his latest album Closer to the Bone, while acclaimed writer and comedian Stewart Lee hosts a one-off night of variety with some very special guests. The fun continues with the Comedy Gala in aid of Waverley, hosted by Kevin Bridges and featuring an all-star cast, while the utterly barmy Ben and Xander will be recreating their most popular characters live on stage in The Armstrong & Miller Show at the Festival Theatre in October.
Jack and the Beanstalk
King’s Panto dream team are reunited this year as Andy Gray rejoins Allan Stewart and Grant Stott in Jack and the Beanstalk. Featuring magnificent scenery, beautiful costumes, an abundance of comedy and a larger than life beanstalk – plus one very mean giant at the top – this is a Christmas treat for all the family. And, with ticket prices to suit all pockets, you won’t have to sell the family cow to enjoy this spectacular King’s pantomime.