Sheffield Crucible will present the first stage adaptation of a novel by the award-winning children's writer Philip Pullman. The premiere of The Firework-Maker's Daughter features in the Crucible's spring 2003 season which also comprises new versions of two classic tragedies - Euripides' Iphigenia and Shakespeare's Macbeth - performed by leading actors including Lloyd Owen Finbar Lynch and Lucy Whybrow.

In the main house, Iphigenia is the first new production of the new year, following the Christmas musical Sweet Charity, which finishes its run on 25 January 2003. Euripides' drama about love, duty and sacrifice - in which a daughter gives herself up so that her father can go to war - is given a new lyrical narrative by Edna O'Brien.

Lloyd Owen (The York Realist, Edward II, Closer and TV's Hearts and Bones, The Vice, The Monarch of the Glen) and Susan Brown (Seagulls, Small Change, You Be Ted and I'll Be Sylvia, Cardiff East) star as Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. The production - directed by Anna Mackmin, designed by Hayden Griffin and choreographed by Scarlett Mackmin - runs from 5 February to 1 March 2003.

It's followed by The Firework-Maker's Daughter, adapted for the stage by Stephen Russell and directed by Told by an Idiot's Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmicheal for the Crucible. Lila wants to be a firework-maker more than anything, but her father won't tell her the final trade secret.

Pullman is something of the man of the moment in terms of adaptation interest. His Dark Materials trilogy is currently being remade for radio, film and theatre. It's expected to receive its stage premiere at the National care of incoming artistic director Nicholas Hytner in 2003/2004 (See The Goss, 4 Dec 2002). At Sheffield, The Firework-Maker's Daughter runs from 12 March to 5 April 2003.

Meanwhile in the Crucible's Studio Theatre, Macbeth - reworked for a cast of only four in a new production directed by James Phillip - plays 30 January to 22 February 2003. The cast are Finbar Lynch (Not About Nightingales, To the Green Fields Beyond, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Messiah), Lucy Whybrow (Mouth to Mouth, Amadeus, Enemy of the People, Romeo and Juliet), Ashley Miller (Our Country's Good, Arabian Nights and TV's Bad Girls, Casualty) and Rebecca Johnson (As You Like It, What the Butler Saw, Peter Pan).

The Studio schedule continues with visiting productions of Third Angel's Leave No Trace, Unlimited Theatre's Safety and Vincent Dance's On the House.

- by Terri Paddock