A new stage production of The BFG will embark this December on a major UK tour, timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original publication of the much-loved Roald Dahl children's book of the same title. The stage BFG will play a Christmas season at the Warwick Arts Centre from 1 December 2001 to 5 January 2002, before visiting more than 30 other venues around the country up to August 2002.

Regularly topping polls of the best children's fiction in the world, The BFG, or Big Friendly Giant, is Dahl's enchanting story of young orphan, Sophie, who is snitched from her bed and whisked off to Giant Country by the 15-ft BFG with a jumbly way of talking.

The BFG was the first Dahl story reworked for the stage by David Wood. Since that 1990 production, which played two seasons in the West End, Wood has also found success with theatrical versions of Dahl's The Witches and The Twits. Wood returns to direct the new production of The BFG.

Also returning to The BFG is Anthony Pedley, who will reprise his stage role as the giant, a role he originated in the 1990 premiere. Pedley is joined in the cast by Karen Briffett, Glen Hill, Anthony Hoggard, Verity Anne Meldrum, Carolyn Murray, Rebecca Rainsford and Grant Stimpson.

The BFG is designed by Susie Caulcutt, with music by Peter Pontzen, lighting by Jeanine Davies and sound by Mike Furness. The musical supervisor is Jonathan Rutherford and the musical director is Andrew Higgs. The tour is produced by Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Ltd.

One of the world's best-loved children's writers, Roald Dahl's many other books include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Danny, the Champion of the World, The Gremlins, Tales of the Unexpected and Matilda. The author died in 1990.

Following Warwick, The BFG will continue to Aberdeen, Llandudno, Bromley, Stoke-on-Trent, Richmond, Brighton, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Woking, High Wycombe, Southampton, Edinburgh, Bristol, Salford, Wolverhampton and Nottingham, with further summer 2002 dates to be announced. It will also have a limited run in London at Sadler's Wells Theatre from 12 to 16 February 2002. The BFG is appropriate for children aged four and upwards.

- by Terri Paddock