Children's festive staple The Snowman will return to the West End in December for a ninth consecutive Christmas season. It will have a limited run, once again care of Sadler's Wells at the Peacock Theatre, from 6 December 2006 to 7 January 2007.

This year, for the first time, simultaneous stagings will also be mounted at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre (13 to 30 December 2006) and back at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (5 to 28 January 2007), where the production originated.

Based on Raymond Briggs' original illustrated picture book, The Snowman, also famously made into an animated cartoon, tells the story of a little boy who builds a snowman in his garden.

When the snowman comes to life, the boy invites him into his cosy home and, in return, the snowman takes the boy on a magical flight into his own wintry world where they meet his friends the penguins, reindeer, foxes and other snow people as well as the abominable Jack Frost and, of course, Father Christmas himself.

The musical stage adaptation of The Snowman is directed by Bill Alexander, choreographed by Robert North, designed by Ruari Murchison and features Howard Blake's music and lyrics, including "Walking in the Air", which reached number 3 in the UK charts when sung by choirboy Aled Jones in 1985.

First published in 1978, Briggs book was re-released in 1998 in celebration of the story's 20th anniversary. The Snowman has been translated into 13 different languages.

- by Terri Paddock