The new musical adaptation of the Thomas Hardy classic Tess of the D'Urbervilles will receive its world premiere at the Sheffield Lyceum this September before a short regional tour and West End transfer. The JFK Repertory Production runs at the Lyceum from Monday 6 September to Saturday 18 September and continues to Norwich and Manchester. It is expected in the West End in November although a venue and opening date have yet to be confirmed.

Based on Hardy's love story, first published in 1891, Tess of the D'Urbervilles takes place in fictional Wessex where the beautiful Tess Durbeyfield, a peasant descended from an aristocratic family, embarks on an intense but ill-fated love affair with Angel Clare that ends in betrayal and murder.

The role of Tess is the largest female role ever created for musical theatre and, consequently, will be shared by two actresses, Philippa Healey and Poppy Tiernay, who will perform on alternate evenings. They are a joined by a cast of 25 including Jonathan Monks as the romantic Angel Clare and Alasdair Harvey as the villainous Alec D'Urberville.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles is composed by Stephen Edwards with lyrics by Justin Fleming. It is directed by Karen Louise Hebden and co-produced by Sheffield Theatres and Durbeyfield plc.