A classic tale loved by millions of bookworms and recreated in an iconic Seventies movie is getting a new lease of life on stage.
The Railway Children is being brought to life in a thrilling new production at Norwich Theatre Royal from July 31 to August 5.
Originally written by E Nesbit, it tells the story of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis whose lives are turned upside down when their father mysteriously disappears with two strangers.
It means they have to leave their lavish London life for a simpler existence in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside.
Cue some new friendships and the discovery of a secret which will change their lives forever.
Although a best-selling book, the story also entertained generations of young people and their families thanks to the iconic 1970s movie starring Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbins.
Now a new generation of actors are set to bring The Railway Children to life with the help of some beautiful period costumes and ingenious designs.
Taking on the role of station-master Perks is Stewart Wright who is a hugely experienced actor and writer. He made his name in the mockumentary series People Like Us before taking a break from TV to create his own work. Stewart then returned to the small-screen spotlight in the ITV hit Love and Marriage opposite Alison Steadman and Duncan Preston.
Mother is played by Joy Brook who has a long stage and TV career with previous roles including DC Kerry Holmes in long-running crime drama The Bill and Joanne Pearson in ITV’s popular prime-time hit Peak Practice, while Phyllis is played by Katherine Carlton who made her professional stage debut in Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Vic opposite Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones.
Others in the cast include former Leicester City youth team footballer turned actor Andrew Joshi who plays Father and Doctor, versatile stage and TV actor Neil Salvage, Will Richards who has appeared in the likes of Holby City and Endeavour, and Richard Brindley who is no stranger to Norfolk having starred in the popular festive Christmas show at Thursford.
Paul Jepson, who is directing The Railway Children, says it will resonate with all ages. He said: “The script is loved because we all have that warmth and connection to the story. I think the reason is that it is all about transition and it is also very well-mannered. It is about loss and pain and the ability to transcend them, and that is why people love it so much.
“I also think it resonates because people are having a rough old time at the moment. If you are not sitting in London and earning a lot of money, times can be tough. At the moment, a lot of people are not having a great time and I think people will relate to that fact at the beginning of the story. I also think there is an implication about the romance of a train taking you away somewhere for a better time is also important. In a nice and non-heavy way, The Railway Children is exciting.”
The Railway Children steams into Norwich from 31 July – 5 August, and tickets are available now.