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Bristol Swallows & Amazons Invade West End for Xmas

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Bristol Old Vic's stage adaptation of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons will play a five-week run at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre this Christmas.

Directed by the Bristol Old Vic's artistic director Tom Morris - co-director of the National Theatre's West End and Broadway smash-hit War Horse - Swallows and Amazons comes to London for a "strictly limited season" from on 19 December 2011 (previews from 15 December) to 14 January 2012 prior to a national tour.

Tickets for Swallows and Amazons go on sale today (25 July 2011).

With a book by Helen Edmundson and songs by The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, the new musical play was developed at the National Theatre Studio. The National now produce the show in the West End, alongside Fiery Angel and Chichester Festival Theatre venture The Children’s Touring Partnership whose inaugural production Goodnight Mister Tom toured from Chichester earlier this year.

Billed as an action-packed musical adventure, Swallows and Amazons is a family show suitable for children over six. Based on the first of Ransome's twelve novels, the show is set the Lake District in 1929 and tells of the school holiday exploits of the Walker and Blackett children and their sailing dinghies – the Swallow and the Amazon.

Helen Edmundson’s adaptations include the National's production of Coram Boy, which played two seasons in the NT Olivier. Her other credits include Anna Karenina, Mill on the Floss, War and Peace and Gone to Earth as well as The Clearing for the Bush Theatre, Mother Teresa is Dead at the Royal Court, and a version of Calderon's Life is a Dream at the Donmar Warehosue. Her new play, The Heresy of Love, opens for the RSC at the Swan in February 2012.

Best known for writing, recording and performing as The Divine Comedy, Neil Hannon has also written extensively for TV and film, including the music to Father Ted and The IT Crowd. His previous collaborators include artists from Michael Nyman to Tom Jones. His cricket-themed project The Duckworth Lewis Method was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. Swallows and Amazons marks his first foray into musical theatre.

Appointed artistic director of Bristol Old Vic in September 2009 following a five-year spell as an associate director at the National, Tom Morris developed and co-directed War Horse with Marianne Elliott. The production is currently running in the West End and on Broadway, where it received six Tony Awards. His credits include co-directing Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

Casting for Swallows and Amazons is still to be announced.

The show has movement by War Horse's Olivier Award-winning Toby Sedgwick, set design by Robert Innes Hopkins, costume by Innes Hopkins and Liesel Corp, musical direction and arrangements by Sam Kenyon, lighting design by James Farncombe, sound by Jason Barnes and additional musical arrangements by Andrew Skeet.


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