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The Gruffalo celebrates fifteen years on stage

The much-loved production is also returning for a West End run

The Gruffalo

As The Gruffalo returns for a West End run at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in July, the production celebrates fifteen years on stage.

The show from theatre company Tall Stories originally opened in Chester in May 2001, 18 months after the best-selling book was first published. Based on the picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo follows Mouse as he ventures into the woods and meets a colourful bunch of characters along the way.

Since 2001, the production has been performed in 14 countries, played twice at the Sydney Opera House, twice on Broadway, once at the National Theatre and has had eight West End seasons. 17 different actors have played the Gruffalo since its inception.

The book has since been adapted into a BAFTA and Oscar-nominated film which is shown annually at Christmas on the BBC.

Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell from Tall Stories said: "Back in 1999, when we asked Julia and Axel if we could adapt their then little-known book The Gruffalo for the stage, we had no idea how things would turn out. The original 2001 tour involved three actors in a car (not even a stage manager!) touring to schools and small venues. To go from there to the West End, Broadway and the Sydney Opera House has been quite a journey."

The Gruffalo runs at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue from 6 July until 4 September 2016.