Julian Fellowes to premiere The Wind In The Willows musical in Plymouth
Julian Fellowes' musical adaptation of The Wind In The Willows will premiere in Plymouth and then visit Salford next year before moving to London's West End.
Based on Kenneth Grahame's beloved tale of Toad, Ratty, Badger and Mole, the book has been adapted for stage by Downton Abbey creator Fellowes and Olivier-winning lyrical team George Stiles and Anthony Drew, who all previously worked together on the Mary Poppins musical.
Prior to a West End stint, The Wind In The Willows will open at Plymouth's Theatre Royal on October 8 2016, followed by The Lowry in Salford from October 26.
Producer Jamie Hendry announced he will be sending copies of Grahame's novel to every school and library in the towns. The story follows the misadventures of speed demon Mr Toad and his friends after he has been imprisoned for theft and his home overtaken by weasels.
Fellowes said: "I could not be more pleased to have been working on this new production of The Wind In The Willows, which has been a favourite of mine literally all my life. It has been a real privilege to be part of the team re-imagining it for the musical stage."
Hendry added: "I am delighted that we will be opening The Wind In The Willows in two of the country's most prestigious venues prior to the West End. It has been a joy working with such a distinguished team of writers and creatives to develop that rare thing - a new British musical. I can't wait to get the show on the road and invite audiences to share in our journey next year!"
The musical hit the headlines last February when it became the first West End musical to rasie £1 million through crowdfunding, with fans able to invest from as little as £1,000. The remainder of the £6.5 million budget was raised through traditional theatre investors.
Casting details and the London venue have not yet been announced.