Children's classic Swallows and Amazons head to the stage

Children's classic will be brought to the stage at York Theatre Royal
Children's classic will be brought to the stage at York Theatre Royal

Following last year’s smash hit production of The Secret Garden, York Theatre Royal takes a fresh look at another children’s classic in this summer’s family show, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, from  July 26  to  August 28.

Damian Cruden, in his final production after 22 years as York Theatre Royal’s artistic director, co-directs the production with artistic associate John R Wilkinson.

“I’m looking forward to working on this script with a talented group of artists, that my last show is for families seems appropriate,” said Damian, whose past family shows for York Theatre include the Railway Children, the Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan.

The story tells of the Walker and Blackett children’s adventurous school holiday in the Lake District as they set sail for adventure. The Swallows – John, Susan, Titty and Roger – sail to Wildcat Island and meet Nancy and Peggy, the self-proclaimed Amazon Pirates, and the dastardly Captain Flint.

Ransome’s story has been adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson whose other literary adaptations include Anna Karenina, Mill On the Floss, War and Peace, Coram Boy and Therese Raquin.

The production features music by Neil Hannon, from the Divine Comedy.

The production marks a homecoming for cast member Laura Soper, a former member of York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre who has appeared in main house productions The Legend of King Arthur and Peter Pan, both directed by Damian Cruden.

She trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Swallows and Amazons marks her debut at York Theatre Royal as a professional actor.

Laura said: “Being in Swallows & Amazons feels really special – it’s my first professional role at the theatre. The book is one of my absolute favourites which is one reason I am so excited to being doing it. I just love everything about it. We go to the Lake District every year on holiday with my family so I just feel so connected to the story.

“I really like how it doesn’t patronise children. It gives them the time and space to tell their story and I love how Arthur Ransome takes it so seriously. For them it’s a big deal, a proper adventure however childish and silly it may seem from an adult point of view.”

Swallows and Amazons

July 26 – 24 August

7pm on July 26, 27, 30-31; August 1-3, 6, 8-10, 13-17, 20, 22-24

2.30pm on July 31; August 1, 3, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 22, 24

10.30am and 3pm on August 7 and 21

Tickets from £18.50. Family tickets available

Box office: 01904 623568. Online