Glynne Robbins' stage adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit returns to London for a second consecutive Christmas season this year. The production reopens at the Queen's Theatre on 28 November 2001, with runs also scheduled at Southsea and Leeds.

Tolkien's world-famous story is about a small and frightened Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who becomes a hero. Though Bilbo loathes adventure, he reluctantly becomes embroiled in Middle Earth's greatest adventure during which he battles against goblins, befriends elves, outriddles a cunning and dangerous dragon, and steals the ring of the deadliest of enemies, Golum.

The Hobbit, a Vanessa Ford Production, is adapted by Robbins whose stage versions of other classic children's novels include One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Winnie the Pooh and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Hobbit is directed by Roy Marsden with design by Simon Ash, music by Mark Bloxsidge, choreography by Stephanie Carter and costumes by Abigail Hammond.

A major movie version of Lord of the Rings, the cycle from which The Hobbit is derived, will be released in December. The opening film, The Fellowship of the Ring, is directed by Peter Jackson, featuring Liv Tyler, Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood. According to literary legend, Tolkien was apparently marking some school papers at the time when inspiration first struck him for the story.

- by Gareth Thompson