Malory Towers comes to York Theatre Royal

Emma Rice’s Wise Children is going from strength to strength. Its debut production Wise Children did incredibly well and now its second production has been announced.

An adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers is hitting the road, visiting York Theatre Royal from 10th-14th September. The fantastic theatre is co-producing the show in association with Bristol Old Vic, a great show of support for new and vibrant theatre.

The story follows quick-tempered Darrell Rivers as she starts school. Can she tolerate the infuriating Gwendoline Lacey, or value the kind hearted Sally Hope? With plenty of adventures ahead, this ‘Girl Power’ story is not to be missed.

The production promises live music and breathtaking animation, too, so there’ll be plenty to keep an audience engaged. Adapted and directed by the highly-acclaimed Emma Rice, the show will appeal to all genders and all ages – including those who haven’t even read the book!

The production opens at The Passenger Shed in Wise Children’s home city of Bristol in July, then tours to venues across the UK. 

Emma Rice says…

“I’ve always been drawn to the years that followed the Second World War. It’s a time that feels close enough to touch, as I vividly remember my grandparents and how the war affected their lives. My Mum’s parents – poor and largely uneducated – decided that their children would have access to all the things that they hadn’t. I don’t know how they managed it on a railway worker’s pay, but my mother was sent to a remote grammar school in Dorset: Lord Digby’s School for Girls.

“Whilst not a boarding school, Lord Digby’s was an extraordinary place of learning that changed my mother’s, and by extension my own, life. The tendrils of passion and education that Lord Digby’s stood for reach out across 60 years and more. They reached out over my inner city comprehensive education and have shaped my own beliefs and choices to this day.

“My adaptation of Malory Towers is dedicated to the generation of women who taught in schools in that period. With lives shaped by the savagery of two wars, these teachers devoted themselves to the education and nurture of other women. It is also for the two generations of men that died in those same wars, leaving us with the freedom to lead meaningful, safe and empowered lives. And it is for Clement Attlee and his Labour government of 1945 who looked into the face of evil and chose to do what was right. These people changed the political landscape in their focus on care, compassion and the common good.

Malory Towers was written at the heart of this political revolution, and embodies a kindness, hope and love of life that knocks my socks off. ‘Long live our appetites and may our shadows never grow less!’ the girls cry.

“My mother wrote to her teachers at Lord Digby’s until they died and is still friends with many of the girls she met there. And when I see my Mum, born into the poorest of rural backgrounds, enjoying Dickens and Almodovar and speaking French to her childhood pen-friend, I am stopped in my tracks. She went on to dedicate her life to the NHS and the helping of others whilst never losing her appetite for life, culture and hope. I salute her, and I cheer the education that threw this mind and soul into the air and said, “be a woman that the world can lean on”.

“So that’s why I am making Malory Towers, with gratitude, hope and sheer pleasure! I call it my ‘Happy Lord of the Flies’ and it is joyfully radical to its bones. Imagine a world where (left to their own devices), people choose kindness. Imagine a world where difference is respected and arguments resolved with thought and care. Imagine a world that chooses community, friendship and fun. Now that’s a world I want to live in and, at Malory Towers, you can!”

Catch the show when it comes to York Theatre Royal from 10th – 14th September. 

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