Three page-to-stage productions are heading to Leeds Playhouse this spring, giving book-fans the chance to see their favourite characters in person.
As we celebrate World Book Day on Thursday (5 March), the Playhouse is asking readers to make a note in their diaries for THE LOST HAPPY ENDINGS (27 – 28 March), THE KITE RUNNER (31 March – 4 April) and HOLES (7 – 11 April).
This bestselling trio follow in the literary footsteps of OLIVER TWIST, playwrightBryony Lavery and director Amy Leach’sbold new reimagining of the Charles Dickens classic in co-production with Ramps on the Moon (28 February – 21 March).
THE LOST HAPPY ENDINGS is a new family show based on an original children’s story by former Poet Laureate and Whitbread, TS Eliot and Pinter Prize winnerDame Carol Ann Duffy.
Retold as dance theatre for family by balletLORENT, with narration by actor (and Absolutely Fabulous national treasure) Joanna Lumley, it’s the story of a magical girl called Jub who lives deep in the forest and has six fingers on each hand. Her job is to guard the happy endings to stories and fairytales. But one day a witch steals them, leading Goldilocks to change the locks on the cottage of the three bears; Cinderella’s foot to grow too big for the glass slipper; and Pinocchio’s nose to keep growing (so much so that he arrives everywhere a whole day before he sets off).
“Both as a poet and as a parent, I’ve always loved revisiting and retelling our traditional myths and fairytales,” said Carol Ann. “As we developed the story, we found we weren’t only dealing with The Lost Happy Endings, but also the alternative middles.”
THE KITE RUNNER – which is returning to the Playhouse for a third time – has been adapted by Matthew Spangler from Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini’sinternationally renowned novel, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years, was translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than eight million copies worldwide.
Originally produced by Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, this haunting tale of friendship spans cultures and continents, tracing one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. Described by The Stage as ‘the best page-to-stage show since War Horse’, it’s based in Afghanistan as it stands on the verge of war.
The third book-based production in Leeds Playhouse’s spring trilogy, HOLES is an inventive new stage show from the Children’s Theatre Partnership, Royal & Derngate Northampton and Nottingham Playhouse, based on the multi-award-winning novel and blockbuster film of the same name. Originally written by Louis Sachar, it won the 1998 US National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the 1999 Newbery Medal for the year’s most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
This thrilling off-beat comedy adventure tells the story of palindromically-named Stanley Yelnats, who is born into a family cursed with bad luck and finds himself accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Sent to a labour camp as punishment, he is tasked with digging a hole, five-foot wide by five-foot deep, every day. He is told it is to build ‘character’, but the tyrannical warden is definitely hiding something.
How will Stanley and his fellow inmates deal with her demands, her two cronies, a fearsome rattlesnake and a host of yellow-spotted lizards? And will Stanley and his new friends unearth what’s really going on?
You’ll have to put a bookmark in your current reading matter and pop down to the Playhouse to find out.
The Lost Happy Endings, Quarry Theatre, Leeds Playhouse
27 – 28 March. Press night: Friday 27 March, 7.30pm
The Kite Runner, Quarry Theatre, Leeds Playhouse
31 March – 4 April. Press night: Tuesday 31 March, 7.15pm
Holes, Quarry Theatre, Leeds Playhouse
7 – 11 April. Press night: Tuesday 7 April, 1.30pm
Box office: 0113 213 7700; leedsplayhouse.org.uk