While Chichester Festival sets Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories to music (care of Stiles and Drewe), Northampton’s Royal Theatre is preparing a new stage version of Kipling’s best-known children’s classic this summer.

Adapted and directed by Rosanna Lowe, The Jungle Book runs at Northampton until 10 July 2004 and then visits Oxford Playhouse from 13 to 17 July ahead of Christmas run at Warwick Arts Centre from 25 November 2004 to 1 January 2005.

A moonlit night. The wolves are howling. Into their cave comes a laughing child with a bloodthirsty tiger hot on his trail. So begins Kipling's classic tale of Mowgli, the boy taken in and raised by wolves.

For this new staging, Low has drawn on Kipling’s original pair of short story collections, The Jungle Book and The Jungle Two, first published in 1894/95, as well as the little-known The Jungle Play, undiscovered and unpublished until 2000. The cast features Arnie Hewitt as Mowgli, with Jude Akuwudike, Anjali Jay, Alex de Marcus, Georgina Roberts and Miltos Yerolemou.

Meanwhile, another production starts this week at Oxford Playhouse ahead of its own tour, including a limited engagement at London’s Barbican Centre as part of BITE:04 (Barbican International Theatre Event).

Amajuba Like Doves We Rise is an intimate portrayal of growing up in South Africa, conceived and written by Yael Farber (whose Woman in Waiting transferred from Edinburgh to the West End in 2000) in collaboration with the cast.

It runs at Oxford from 29 June to 3 July 2004 before visiting the Barbican Pit (12 to 17 July), Truro in Cornwall (21 to 24 July) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (6 to 30 August). The Oxford Playhouse production is presented in association with Arc Productions and Mmabana Arts Foundation.

- by Terri Paddock