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A Monster Calls on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

GLOBAL Creatures and Jonathan Church Productions have announced that the UK tour of A Monster Calls, an Old Vic production, in association with Bristol Old Vic, will be touring to 16 venues across the UK commencing in February 2020.

Patrick Ness’s piercing novel is brought vividly to life in the Olivier Award-winning production by visionary director Sally Cookson. Further UK tour dates are to be announced and the production will also play at the Kennedy Center, Washington, in Summer 2020.

Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might
wreak?

Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved away. But now his mum is sick and not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye. Then, one night, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.

From the critically acclaimed bestseller, A Monster Calls offers a dazzling insight into love, life and healing. The book has sold over a million copies and garnered huge critical acclaim, including an unprecedented double win of the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for outstanding children’s literature and illustration.

The UK tour of A Monster Calls will be providing an extensive outreach and engagement programme across the tour. This will include discussions, workshops, an education pack and participatory activities and events for local community groups and audiences addressing the widespread themes within the production.

A Monster Calls will also be working in community partnership with CDI, a 41-year established youth information and advice counselling charity (croydondropin.org.uk), and Kooth (kooth.com), a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for children and young people available in many areas throughout the country.

A Monster Calls was winner of the 2019 Best Entertainment and Family Olivier Award.

Access performances including BSL, Audio Described, Captioned performances and Touch Tours will also be available across the tour.

Sally Cookson, Director, said: “Being given the opportunity to adapt Patrick Ness’ beautiful book was a career highlight and I am thrilled to be able to bring it to life once more in a new touring production that will see it reach a wider audience. The story of thirteen-year-old Conor lost in a mire of anxiety and fear strikes a chord with anyone who’s been threatened with losing someone they love.

“The combination of gritty realism and magic make it perfect material for theatre. Despite packing an emotional punch, it is ultimately a show that brings together audience and actors to explore some of the harder aspects of being human, and find comfort collectively as the story unfolds.”

Patrick Ness, Writer, said: “The stage production of A Monster Calls has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not just the amazing way the show was created and performed, not that we won an Olivier (but that was pretty cool), but the audience reactions night after night. The way people talk to me about the show is like nothing I’ve ever experienced: how moved they were, how blown away they were by the whole production. I am so thrilled that other parts of the country can have a chance to see it. The experience goes on; not just for me, but in memory of the amazing Siobhan Dowd.”

This adaptation is suitable for ages 10+.

The tour opens at Chichester Festival Theatre (February 6-15) before continuing to Nottingham, Salford, Coventry, Sheffield, Aberdeen, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Malvern, Norwich, Cardiff, Newcastle, Guildford, Plymouth, Leicester and Bristol Old Vic (June 2-13, 2020).

Image: Cast of A Monster Calls. Photo by Manuel Harlan.