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The Ocean at the End of the Lane to launch a UK and Ireland tour from December

2021-22 West End cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane c. Manuel Harlan
2021-22 West End cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane c. Manuel Harlan

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is to launch a UK and Ireland tour this December.

Direct from the West End, The National Theatre’s acclaimed adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel will visit more than 29 towns and cities for a total of 40 weeks.

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Directed by Katy Rudd (Camp Siegfried) and adapted by Joel Horwood (Skins, I Want My Hat Back), the first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work is a thrilling adventure of fantasy, myth and friendship, which blends magic with memory in a tour-de-force of storytelling that takes audiences on an epic journey to a childhood once forgotten and the darkness that lurks at the very edge of it.

The production premiered at the Dorfman Theatre in 2019 before opening at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End in 2021.

The tour will begin at The Lowry in Salford where it will play over Christmas (12 December 2022 – 7 January 2023), before visiting New Victoria Theatre, Woking (24 – 28 Jan); Leicester Curve (31 Jan – 11 Feb); Theatre Royal Plymouth (14 – 25 Feb); Sunderland Empire (28 Feb – 4 March); Theatre Royal Bath (7 – 18 March); Grand Opera House, Belfast (21 – 25 March); Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (28 March – 1 April); The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford (4 – 8 April); New Wimbledon Theatre (11 – 15 April); Edinburgh Festival Theatre (18 – 22 April); Liverpool Empire (2 – 6 May); Sheffield Lyceum Theatre (9 – 20 May); The Alexandra, Birmingham (23 – 27 May); Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (30 May – 3 June); Nottingham Theatre Royal (6 – 17 June); New Theatre, Oxford (20 – 24 June); Milton Keynes Theatre (27 June – 1 July); Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (4 – 8 July); Newcastle Theatre Royal (11 – 22 July); Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (25 – 29 July); Cliffs Pavilion, Southend (8 – 12 Aug); Bristol Hippodrome (15 – 19 Aug); His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (22 – 26 August); King’s Theatre, Glasgow (29 August – 2 Sept); Norwich Theatre Royal (5 – 9 Sept); Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (12 – 16 Sept); Hall for Cornwall, Truro (19 – 23 Sept) and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (26 – 30 September).

Returning to his childhood home, a man finds himself standing beside the pond of the old Sussex farmhouse where he used to play. He’s transported to his 12th birthday when his remarkable friend Lettie claimed it wasn’t a pond, but an ocean – a place where everything is possible…

Plunged into a magical world, their survival depends on their ability to reckon with ancient forces that threaten to destroy everything around them.

The production has set design by Fly Davis and costume and puppet design by Samuel Wyer. Movement direction is by Steven Hoggett, composition by Jherek Bischoff, lighting design is by Paule Constable, sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph, magic and illusions direction and design by Jamie Harrison and puppetry direction by Finn Caldwell.

Featuring an ensemble cast of 17, to be announced, casting is by Sarah Hughes CDG.

For more information and tickets, visit oceanonstage.com

Writer Neil Gaiman said: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about memory, magic, family. It’s about who you were and who you are. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever been involved in. It’s not like anything else you’ll ever see at the theatre. The Ocean at the End of the Lane has its own theatrical magic. It’s why happy people tell you that they cried while watching it, it’s why it becomes a dreamlike experience in memory, it gets bigger the further inside you follow it. Like a duck pond that contains an ocean that holds the universe…”

Director Katy Rudd commented: “When Neil Gaiman gave the National Theatre his blessing to stage his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane we knew that this book was treasured across the world by Neil Gaiman’s legions of fans. The writer, Joel Horwood and I wanted to be faithful to the novel and at the same time create a big, bold, visual show with more than just a little bit of magic.

“Thanks to our amazing creative team we found ways to fit an ocean into a bucket, and bring huge mythical creatures like the Hunger Birds to life on stage….but at its heart, Ocean is a human story about a family and a young boy growing up, experiencing real emotion and real pain, and finding a way to get through it with the help of his friends. We hope we have created something that is both profound and visually exciting that will appeal, not only to regular theatre audiences, but also to younger people from the ‘Netflix generation’ who might not have been to the theatre before.

“It is a beautiful, rich, multi-faceted story and as this production goes on tour we are still adapting and evolving it and finding new meaning in its depths. That is the magic of live theatre and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences.”

National Theatre Director Rufus Norris added: “That Joel Horwood, Katy Rudd and their formidable creative team have managed to wrestle Neil Gaiman’s incredible imagination and the worlds which spring from it onto a stage is magic in itself. We’re so proud to tour this work around the UK and Ireland, to share this beautiful story with audiences nationally, and to visit so many gorgeous theatres which, like ours, have recently been dark for too long.”

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