The Roald Dahl Story Company announces series of new theatre productions, developed and produced by its in-house theatre division
The Roald Dahl Story Company has announced three exciting new theatre productions:
- A new musical for young audiences of The Enormous Crocodile, co-produced with Leeds Playhouse and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
- A new theatrical reading of Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger presented for online release for schools and families, co-produced with the Unicorn Theatre.
- A spectacular large-scale circus, which is currently in development, inspired by Roald Dahl’s stories and featuring a range of beloved characters.
The productions have been created and developed by the Roald Dahl Story Company’s in-house theatre division. Led by Artistic Director Jenny Worton and Executive Producer Anna Schmitz, the theatre division was set up in 2018 to create and produce innovative productions inspired by Roald Dahl stories in collaboration with world-class artists and leading theatre producers.
These productions join a major new musical of The Witches, co-produced with the National Theatre, which was announced last month, to form a growing slate of new theatre adapted from Roald Dahl’s work. Alongside these shows the Roald Dahl Story Company currently has a further four productions under commission and development.
Executive Producer Anna Schmitz and Artistic Director Jenny Worton said: “We couldn’t be more excited to be able to reveal these new productions, which demonstrate our ambitions in making new work. Far beyond simply ‘putting the book on stage’, we want to create original pieces of theatre, which both capture the timeless appeal, characters and spirit of Roald Dahl stories and speak powerfully to today’s audiences. From puppetry to musicals, free digital productions to large-scale events we’re working across theatrical forms and collaborating with extraordinary artists and producers to create shows that will illuminate the original stories in a new way, inspiring the next generation of theatregoers.”
Talking about The Enormous Crocodile and The Magic Finger they added, “With The Enormous Crocodile we wanted to make a show that speaks to four-year-olds, delights their older siblings and treats their parents to some brilliant music. The music is like Dahl’s stories in its capacity to capture audiences of all generations. It is at once dark, funny and compulsively moreish!
“We are passionately committed to reaching new audiences with our work and are delighted that the online storytelling production of The Magic Finger will ensure that young people from all backgrounds can enjoy a theatricalised reading of this story in their classroom for the first time.”
Further detail on the forthcoming Roald Dahl theatre shows:
THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE
A co-production with Leeds Playhouse and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
For my lunch today I would like… a nice juicy little child!
The ENORMOUS crocodile is weaving his way through the jungle in search of delicious little fingers and squidgy podgy knees. Only the other jungle creatures can foil his secret plans and clever tricks, but they’re going to have to find a large amount of courage to stop this greedy brute.
This new musical version of Roald Dahl’s snappy picture book, about a large hungry crocodile searching for a child to devour, puts global contemporary music and puppetry at the heart of the production.
It will be brought to life with a playful, eclectic score by composer Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab (who performs under the band name Sinkane) and a rib-tickling book and lyrics by Suhayla El-Bushra (Arabian Nights, Royal Lyceum Edinburgh; The Long Song, Chichester Festival Theatre and Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge), and additional music and lyrics from Tom Brady (The Butterfly Lion, Chichester Festival Theatre; Musical Supervisor & Arranger for Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre).
Directed by Emily Lim (Brainstorm, Company Three / National Theatre; Pericles, National Theatre), the production will feature a menagerie of mischievous puppets by one of the UK’s leading puppetry directors and designers Toby Olié, (Spirited Away, Imperial Theatre Tokyo; Pinocchio, National Theatre; 101 Dalmatians, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) who also co-directs. Set and costume design is by Fly Davis (I Want My Hat Back, National Theatre; The Ocean at the End of the Lane, National Theatre/West End).
James Brining, Artistic Director of Leeds Playhouse said: “Developing any new work is always an exciting process but to be working with such a talented creative team and fantastic partners on genuinely iconic and well-loved material is a real thrill. We can’t wait to introduce The Enormous Crocodile to the world later this year as part of our dynamic and diverse Autumn/Winter season. I’m sure young audiences who experience the show in Leeds will have a wonderful, magical and memorable time.”
Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, said: “Watch out, there’s going to be a very big and extremely hungry crocodile on the loose in Regent’s Park next summer. Come and help us catch him before it’s too late! We’re thrilled to be working with our brilliant partners to share this story on stage.”
The production runs from 2 December 2023 – 6 January 2024 at Leeds Playhouse playing in the Courtyard Theatre. Tickets are on sale to Leeds Playhouse’s Priority Access, Playhouse Pass Members and Under 30 Scheme from 25 May, with tickets on general sale from 1 June. The production will then head to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for summer 2024.
THE MAGIC FINGER
A co-production with the Unicorn Theatre.
The Gregg family spend every Saturday morning out in the woods searching for animals and birds to hunt. But the girl next door cannot stand hunting, and she’s so angry about it she’s going to set the magic finger on them all. One thing is for certain, very strange and spectacular things are about to begin….
Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger will be presented in a new theatrical reading for online release. Created in co-production with the Unicorn Theatre, the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences, this imaginative reading of Roald Dahl’s mischievous story will be directed by Milli Bhatia (Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Royal Court) and designed by Shankho Chaudhuri (Alice in Wonderland, Brixton House).
The Magic Finger will be released online for free to schools and families across the UK and beyond from Spring 2024.
A CIRCUS INSPIRED BY ROALD DAHL’S STORIES
Currently in development, the theatre division is also concocting a large-scale circus spectacle, that brings together beloved characters from the most popular Roald Dahl stories for the first time. This brand-new show is being cooked up by a stellar creative team including Olivier Award-winning director Polly Findlay, masters of circus spectacle Cirque Bijou and Stephen Long and Iain Sharkey – the minds behind many of Derren Brown’s TV and stage illusions.
A co-production with the National Theatre. Everything you know about witches is wrong. Forget the pointy hats and broomsticks: they’re the most dangerous creatures on earth. And now they’ve come up with their most evil plan yet. The only thing standing in their way is Luke and his Gran. But he’s ten and she’s got a dodgy heart. Time is short, danger is everywhere, and they’ve got just one chance to stop the witches from squalloping every stinking little child in England.
The Witches is a rip-roaring musical version of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale, filled with wit, daring and heart. With book and lyrics by Olivier Award-winner Lucy Kirkwood, music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy, and directed by Lyndsey Turner. Set and costume design is by Lizzie Clachan.
Cast includes three-time Olivier-nominated Katherine Kingsley (The Larkins) as the Grand High Witch and BAFTA Award-winner Daniel Rigby (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mr Stringer, alongside Julie Armstrong, Chrissie Bhima, Zoe Birkett, Daniele Coombe, Molly-May Gardiner, Tiffany Graves, Tania Mathurin, Jacob Maynard, Laura Medforth and Ben Redfern.