Disney will venture out of London for the first time later this year when it takes its multi award-winning hit Beauty and the Beast on the road.

The musical, based on Disney’s 1991 animated film of the same name, opens at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre on 6 November 2001 for four weeks before transferring to the Hippodrome in Bristol for a four-month run from 7 December 2001 to April 2002. Those will be the first dates in what is intended to be a major UK national tour. Further venues and casting details have yet to be announced.

Beauty and the Beast - a fairy tale about a young girl Belle who, by falling in love with a ghastly beast, unlocks the handsome prince inside – was Walt Disney Theatre Productions’ first musical to be presented in the UK. It opened at the West End’s Dominion Theatre in May 1997 and went on to win the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

The musical continued at the Dominion for three years, announcing its closure just weeks before the opening of Disney’s current monster hit, The Lion King, which continues to play to sold-out houses at the West End’s Lyceum Theatre.

Beauty and the Beast is still playing on Broadway where it is now in its eighth year. Worldwide, it has been seen by more than 17 million people.