The first UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind opens at Plymouth Theatre Royal on 13 September 2001. The musical will then call at up to 16 further venues, taking the schedule through to May 2002.

Whistle Down the Wind, written by Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman, was originally tried out in Washington DC during 1997. It opened at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre on 1 July 1998, before closing two-and-a-half years later on 6 January 2001. Based on the 1961 film about three children who discover a stranger in their barn who they believe is Jesus, the show featured over 120 youngsters during its run.

Alongside breaking existing box-office records at the Aldwych, Whistle also provided a number one chart hit for Boyzone with No Matter What. Other featured songs include the title track and The Vaults of Heaven. The show was seen by over 400,000 people in its first year and was also the only major West End show ever to feature live snakes. Lloyd Webber’s co-writer Jim Steinman had previously composed for, and worked with, such artists as Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler.

The production is directed by Bill Kenwright, with design from Paul Farnsworth and choreography by Henry Metcalfe. The musical director is David Steadman, with lighting design courtesy of Nick Richings.

Following the Plymouth opening, the show calls at Glasgow, Bradford, Cardiff, Birmingham, Oxford, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Aberdeen, Manchester, Southampton and Bristol. Three slots, one in November 2001 and two in April 2002, are still to be confirmed.

- by Gareth Thompson