Preview: The Wind in the Willows at Newcastle People’s Theatre
The Wind in the Willows
by Alan Bennett
adapted from the book by Kenneth Grahame
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th March 2018
Nearly thirty years since it was first produced at the National Theatre, Alan Bennett’s stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s beloved The Wind in the Willows has become a classic in its own right.
Bennett’s trademark wry humour reshapes the adventures of Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad into a witty, warm-hearted tale for young and old.
Shamelessly rose-tinted and misty-eyed, this is a delightful romp through a charming Edwardian England that is sure to warm your heart despite the snow!
People’s Theatre are no strangers to Alan Bennett’s work here having staged his hits including ‘The Lady In The Van’, ‘The History Boys’, ‘Habeas Corpus’ and ‘Talking Heads’ to much acclaim in previous years.
Bennett, now 83, is showing no signs of slowing down and his new play ‘Allelujah!’ was recently announced, to be directed by Nicholas Hytner. It will be the pair’s tenth collaboration, the first being The Wind In The Willows in 1990.
Originally written for the National’s large Olivier stage, this is a challenging production for any theatre to present. There are 26 actors plus a design and technical team of nearly 30. But director Anna Dobson, who has helmed several very successful People’s Panto’s, is no stranger to large-team, spectacular shows. “We can’t hope to emulate the special effects used at the National” she says, “but the effects we use will be very special!”
Anna adds that if the rehearsals are anything to go by, this should be a hugely entertaining show: “Even Bennett’s stage directions are so funny, they’ve brought our run-throughs to a grinding, giggling halt”
Anna ends with: “It’s funny, it’s charming, and we hope you enjoy watching the show as much as we have enjoyed making it.”
As well as what goes on inside our theatre giving us something to shout about, the building itself is also turning heads!
The redevelopment has seen the theatre shortlisted for the 2018 RICS Awards North East, an annual event which celebrates building projects across the region. They are delighted to be recognised alongside buildings including The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre, Hexham and Newcastle’s Tree Top Village in the ‘Community Benefit’ category. The winners will be announced in April.