As previously tipped (See The Goss, 20 Oct 2003), the upcoming stage adaptation of movie musical classic Mary Poppins will open first in Bristol ahead of London.

The co-production between impresario Cameron Mackintosh and Disney Theatrical Productions will run at the Bristol Hippodrome from 28 September to 6 November 2004 (previews from 15 September) before transferring to the West End's Prince Edward Theatre, where it opens on 15 December 2004, 40 years after the premiere of the film (See News, 20 Oct 2003). Bristol tickets go on sale today for groups of ten or more, while full public booking will open in February 2004.

The new stage Mary Poppins is based on the stories of PL (Pamela) Travers and Walt Disney's 1964 Oscar-winning film, which starred Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews as London chimneysweep Bert and the eponymous magical nanny of the title. No casting has yet been confirmed.

The creative team is led by former NT artistic director Richard Eyre, with co-direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne and additional choreography by Stephen Mear. The production is designed by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Howard Harrison, sound by Andrew Bruce and Nick Lidster, and orchestrations by William David Brohn.

Mary Poppins will feature many of the songs from the Sherman Brothers' Oscar-winning film score - which included "Chim Chim Cher-ee", "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" - as well as new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Honk!, Peter Pan). The stage production has been created, in collaboration with Mackintosh, by book writer Julian Fellowes (who won an Oscar for his Gosford Park screenplay).

Currently at the Prince Edward Theatre, the hit Abba musical Mamma Mia! is due to transfer next summer to the Prince of Wales, also owned by Mackintosh, which is currently undergoing a £7 million refurbishment (See News, 22 Apr 2003).

- by Terri Paddock