Griff Rhys Jones and Miriam Margolyes give voice to Where is Peter Rabbit?

We are excited to announce the casting for the brand new family musical adventure PETER RABBIT’s MUSICAL ADVENTURE plus the voices of Miriam Margolyes and Griff Rhys Jones!

 The world premiere of the brand new family musical adventure Where Is Peter Rabbit?, with lyrics by ALAN AYCKBOURN and music by STEVEN EDIS, opens at the Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness-on-Windermere on Monday 27 June 2016.

The cast of six ensemble players are: GRACE ECCLE (Titanic Toronto, Saturday Night Fever Frankfurt); STEVEN HARDCASTLE (Russell T Davis’ BBC A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Cat Dick Whittington Wilton’s Music Hall); OLIVER MAWDSLEY (A Midsummer’s Night Dream Lysander, Godspell Jesus); DANIELLE MORRIS (Gypsy Chichester, Whistle Down The Wind Union Theatre); KATIE SHEARMAN (The Sound Of Music national tour, Girlfriends Union Theatre) and MOLLY WATERS (Sophie The Tiger Who Came To Tea national tour). Between them they will be playing everything from Beatrix Potter to Mr McGregor, Mr. Todd and Tommy Brock; to Lucie and Ptolemy Tortoise – and the script even gives a starring role for one little book’s collie dog Kep –  mixing character acting and performance with the stunningly life-like creatures.

And MIRIAM MARGOLYES and GRIFF RHYS JONES lend their voices too.

The innovative show combines live performance, projection and recording in a thoroughly interactive brand new magical musical. Both MIRIAM
and GRIFF are big fans of the delightful Old Laundry Theatre where they have both performed, and in an exciting addition to the production have become part of Where Is Peter Rabbit? Picking up the storytelling from Beatrix Potter during the show – MIRIAM is perfect to be reading the stories of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and of the flighty and rather tragic Jemima Puddle-Duck; and GRIFF lends his voice to the naughty Peter Rabbit and fish loving Jeremy Fisher tales.

GRIFF RHYS JONES says: “The characters and the strange life of animals are so well observed by Beatrix Potter and not just in her beautiful illustrations. I keep ducks, Indian Runners and Aylesbury ducks, which are very like Jemima Puddle-Duck. And when one of the ducks wants to lay her eggs they don’t want to be around the pond anymore, where all the blokes are, they go off – and that’s the reason why Jemima meets Mr Fox, because lady ducks go wandering and they do get taken by foxes!

“The way that Peter Rabbit behaves is so well worked out too. He’s the most famous character but it’s the memorable fierce gardener Mr Mcgregor that reminds me of how adults watch kids running out into the garden and see them stealing the peas, or playing and doing naughty things, like we used to do –  we always ended up getting caught…. and that’s the tale of Peter Rabbit!

“I don’t think we cherish things quite as much as we do children’s books, handed down like golden gems; and it’s remarkable to think that these stories are still so loved, as we celebrate Beatrix Potter’s 150th Anniversary.

“The Old Laundry Theatre is rather wonderful too, as they have such a great programme at this flourishing little theatre in the middle of the Lake District. I’ve known Roger [Glossop] and Charlotte [Scott] for years, originally through Mel [Smith], and we’ve become great friends. Roger’s even worked with me when I directed The Alchemist and he designed the most brilliant set.”                                                                        

MIRIAM MARGOLYES says: “The characters leap into your heart. You can tell the little books were written a while ago, but there is a directness and a freshness that comes through the text and they will live for all time. It’s refreshing because it takes me back to when I was little, and I’m not little anymore! It’s a window back into childhood and the simplicity, the lack of guile – they’re very, very charming. There is a fundamental decency about the characters and stories which is extremely pleasing in these days of violence and hatefulness – although Potter doesn’t deny the existence of a dark world you feel they will come out right in the end.

“I’ve played at the Old Laundry Theatre and it is the most beautiful theatre to work in. I love the Lake District and think it’s one of the pre-eminent and beautiful parts of England. My father was Scottish and we went every year to the Lake District on our way to Scotland” (as did Beatrix Potter!)

When renowned theatre set designer Roger Glossop and his theatre producer wife Charlotte Scott, owners of The World Of Beatrix Potter Attraction and the Old Laundry Theatre,  approached Warne publishers and asked if Jemima Puddle-Duck could have a conversation with Beatrix Potter? – Where Is Peter Rabbit? came to life! Based on Potter‘s little books and five of her best loved animal characters: Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and the darker villainous Mr Todd, Where Is Peter Rabbit? musical adventure will capture Potter‘s poetry, freshness and humour, whilst staying faithful to her unforgettable illustrations.

 The creative team for Where Is Peter Rabbit? is as much a testament to the teams’ friendship, as it is their extraordinary talents. The core team have worked together and been friends since they started their careers at the Sheffield Crucible and Alan Ayckbourn’s Stephen Joseph theatre in Scarborough over 30 years ago – and it is that expertise and short-hand to connect with each other, that shines through as they work together on Where Is Peter Rabbit?

Keeping true to Potter’s wit and love of The Lakes Alan Ayckbourn has written the lyrics.  Animation and projections are by Tim Reid. Cast costume designer is Caroline Hughes and character costumier is Lucy Nye, who designed the original character costumes for the Attraction 25 years ago. The character designers and makers are Caroline Dalton and Phil ‘Swifty’ Swift – who has worked alongside Roger since their first day at the Crucible Sheffield painting the stage! Lighting designer is Jason Taylor (over 20 productions at SJT and on Broadway) and sound design by Sulley Glossop Sound (the new generation of Glossop’s continuing in the theatre tradition). Seamlessly pulling all these talents together is director/choreographer Shelia Carter (By Jeeves – SJT, West End & Broadway, over 20 productions at SJT including A Chorus Of Disapproval, House & Garden RNT, West End includes One Night Stand, Role Play).

New to the team is Composer Steven Edis (The Silver Sword, Birdsong, The Invisible Man, RNT, RSC) and the team could not have asked for a better introduction and recommendation from  their dear friend and former Trustee of the Old Laundry Theatre, Victoria Wood (so sadly missed), who put in a good word for him!

Roger Glossop has designed theatre sets for over 20 productions at the Crucible Sheffield and over 60 separate productions with Ayckbourn at the SJT, RSC and West End. RNT credits include: Rosmersholme, Mandragola, House & Garden and Pied Piper. Other West End credits include: Chicago, Arturo Ui and By Jeeves to name but a few. For Where Is Peter Rabbit? he has designed a classic theatre set lovingly recreating Beatrix Potter’s best loved little books – as he did 25 years ago with the stunning Attraction which houses 23 of her stories.

Celebrating both The World Of Beatrix Potter Attraction‘s 25th anniversary and the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Beatrix Potter, the ten week run of Where Is Peter Rabbit? will play up to three shows a day throughout the summer (Monday 27 June – Sunday 4 September 2016.) And the theatrical experience doesn’t need to stop there, as the Attraction has launched Character breakfast, afternoon tea and high-tea/supper parties, to be enjoyed before or after the live family show, in their brand new special catering and events building the Laundrama – all staying true to the genius that is Beatrix Potter.