Following its London premiere as part of the National's Transformation season in summer 2002, Trestle Theatre Company, the physical theatre ensemble famous for its use of masks, this month launches a regional tour of The Adventures of the Stoneheads. The tour opens tomorrow, 4 February 2003, at Chester's Gateway Theatre.

When the magical Stoneheads arrive on the shores of Britain, they have one simple desire: to survive. Strangers in a strange land, it is love that will see them through, but love is tested to destruction in this epic family saga, exploring the experiences of refugees. Following Chester, The Adventures of the Stoneheads continues until 1 March to Wolverhampton, Eastleigh, Canterbury, Birmingham and Bury St Edmunds.

Later this spring, Trestle is back on the road again, with another tour of their acclaimed Island, inspired by a newspaper report about the remains of an old lady that were found on a traffic island in the West Midlands. Originally devised and performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000, the production, directed by Trestle artistic director Toby Wilsher, had an extensive tour in 2002.

This year, it returns on the heels of a month-long Dutch tour. Island's 2003 UK schedule opens 2 April at Darlington before continuing until late May to 17 further venues with additional dates still to be confirmed.

Masks, puppetry, animation and live music have been the Trestle troupe's stage hallmarks in recent years since its formation in 1981. Following an award from the Arts Council Capital Lottery Fund, the company has established a permanent operating base from a converted chapel in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

- by Terri Paddock