Large-scale UK arena tour Batman Live, which brings the Caped Crusader to the stage for the first time, launched the production today with a press event in central London ahead of their world premiere at Manchester's MEN Arena on 19 July 2011.

The plot, written by Allan Heinberg and based on an original story by comic book legends Stan Berkowitz and Alan Burnett, will focus on the life of Batman's sidekick Robin, a circus performer called Dick Grayson who loses his parents to organised crime.

Adapted from the DC Comics, Batman Live faithfully tells the comic books' stories of Robin’s search for justice. The quest leads him to follow in the footsteps of his hero, the mysterious vigilante known as the Batman – much to the dismay of his protective guardian, millionaire Bruce Wayne – who secretly happens to be Dark Knight himself.

Following its Manchester launch the show will visit Newcastle, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham and Dublin, the ending its run at Belfast's Odyssey Arena prior to touring North America in summer of 2012.

Speaking at today's launch Nick Grace, executive producer of the stage show said: "Batman Live will be a totally unique experience. This is not a musical but a high quality live show with a thrilling Batman story, filled with action, that will appeal to adults, teenagers and families. Batman is more than a comic book character, he’s a cultural phenomenon and we are proud to have this opportunity to be involved with one of the most popular DC Super Heroes in the world today."

The live show will feature a number of familiar DC Comics characters including Police Commissioner James Gordon and Bruce’s trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth facing off against villains including the Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler, Two-Face, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. The story will take place in several settings which will be familiar to comic book fans, including Gotham City, Wayne Manor, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum, all brought to life with "impressive stunts, pyrotechnics, illusions and video screen sequences."

As well as unveiling a number of artist's impressions of what the arena-filling set design will look like, producers also revealed that the show will feature a brand new Batmobile designed by Brabham Formula One Team and McLaren Racing car designer Gordon Murray.


The cast of Batman Live


An artist's rendering of the set design for Batman Live

Batman Live will have circus sequences created in association with Circus Space, the UK’s National Centre for the Circus Arts, with aerialists Juliette Hardy-Donaldson and Bryan Donaldson acting as circus consultants.

The show is produced by Warner Bros Consumer Products, DC Entertainment and Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions. Batman Live has set design by Es Devlin, music composed by James Brett, sound design by Simon Baker, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, video direction by Sam Pattinson, costume design by Jack Galloway.