Adapted from Dick King-Smith’s much-loved children’s novel, which inspired an Oscar-winning 1995 film, Babe The Sheep-Pig will be brought to life on stage in an enchanting new production at Norwich Theatre Royal on April 16 & 17.
Featuring stunning puppetry, an original score and an utterly charming ‘baa-ber sheep’ quartet, the lovable Babe and his fellow residents of Hogget’s Farm will take audiences on a heart-warming journey of friendship, adventure and bravery.
When Babe arrives at Hogget’s Farm he is taken in by the trusty sheep-dog Fly, and soon discovers a talent for herding. With the help of his adopted Mum, the polite piglet soon wins over the most suspicious of sheep. But can a small pig make it in a dog’s world, and when his farmyard friends are in trouble can Babe save the day?
Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep-Pig was first published in 1983, and has since been translated into 15 languages, as well as winning King-Smith the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. In 1995, it was adapted for the big screen as the film Babe, which received huge critical and box office success. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won one for Best Visual Effects, as well as winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy.
It has been adapted for the stage by Olivier Award-winning playwright David Wood OBE, who is best known for his adaptations of classic family titles including Goodnight Mister Tom, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. David also wrote the book and lyrics for new musical The Go-Between, currently playing in the West End.
Babe, The Sheep-Pig is directed by Michael Fentiman, whose productions include The Taming of the Shrew and Titus Andronicus (RSC), and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Kensington Gardens) which he co-directed with Rupert Goold.
The residents of Hogget’s Farm will be brought to life by beautiful hand-crafted puppets, created by award-winning puppet designer Max Humphries (Chief Puppet Designer, Cirque de Soleil) and Dik Downey, with the ensemble cast delivering masterful puppetry by puppetry director Matthew Forbes (Associate Director in Puppetry & Movement, War Horse).
The cast of actor-musicians features Emma Barclay (You Me Bum Bum Train) as Mrs Hogget, Olivier Award-nominated Nicola Blackman (Little Shop of Horrors and The Lion King, West End) as Fly, Oliver Grant (War Horse, National Theatre) as Babe/Sheep and Ben Ingles (Romeo and Juliet, RSC) as Farmer Hogget. The cast also features Claire Greenway (Sister Act, London Palladium), Jacqui Sanchez (Shrek the Musical and Avenue Q, West End), Lucy Thomas (Bugsy Malone, Lyric Hammersmith) and Sam Wilmott (Wicked and The Lord of the Rings, West End).
Babe, The Sheep-Pig is presented by Tom O’ Connell Productions (Million Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, UK Tours) and Polka Theatre. It is directed by Michael Fentiman with puppetry direction by Matthew Forbes, costume and scenic design by Madeleine Girling, puppet design by Max Humphries and Dik Downey, lighting design by Jack Knowles, sound design by George Dennis and original music by Barnaby Rose. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.
Judy Foster, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “This is already a much-loved story for people of all ages and I think audiences will be delighted with this beautifully and cleverly staged show – the puppets are just stunning and will melt the hardest of hearts. Prepare to shed a tear.”
The show is suitable for all ages, and tickets are available now.