Although a familiar character to cinemagoers, with string of Batman films gracing the big screen as far back as 1943, the touring production will be the first time the Dark Knight has been seen on stage.
The show, which will feature an original story line, is directed by Anthony Van Laast whose choreography credits include Mamma Mia!, Sister Act and Bombay Dreams. He is joined on the creative team by co-director James Powell whose previous directing credits include Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and Dirty Dancing.
Opening at Manchester's MEN Arena on 20 July 2011 and visiting Newcastle, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham and Dublin, the tour will end its run at Belfast's Odyssey Arena with producers hopeful that the production will transfer to North America in summer of 2012.
The live show will feature a number of familiar DC Comics characters with Batman and sidekick Robin, as well as butler Alfred battling against villains such as The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman and The Penguin. The story will take place in several settings which will be familiar to comic book fans including Gotham City, Wayne Manor, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum all brought to life with "impressive stunts, pyrotechnics, illusions and video screen sequences."
Batman Live will have circus sequences created in association with Circus Space, the UK’s National Centre for the Circus Arts. Aerialists Juliette Hardy-Donaldson and Bryan Donaldson will act as circus consultants.
The show is produced by Warner Bros Consumer Products, DC Entertainment and Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions. Grace's previous producing credits include being associate producers of the international tour of Mamma Mia!, which has visited 29 countries and been seen by more than 3.5 million people. Batman Live has set design by Es Devlin, music composed by James Brett, sound design by Simon Baker, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, video direction by Sam Pattinson, costume design by Jack Galloway.
The $65 million Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, written by U2's Bono and The Edge, has been beset by problems, which have seen the musical's opening slip from February 2010 to January 2011. Helmed by Tony Award winning Lion King director Julie Taymor, problems with the production's two dozen flying maneuvers have seen opening dates for the world's most expensive musical repeatedly pushed back, in spite of $8 million in reported advanced sales.
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