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Louis Sachar's HOLES is Coming to the Belgrade Theatre

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Louis Sachar's HOLES is Coming to the Belgrade Theatre

Louis Sachar's award-winning children's novel Holes is coming to the Belgrade Theatre in February when Nottingham Playhouse's critically acclaimed production heads out on its first UK tour.

Presented by Royal and Derngate and The Children's Theatre Partnership, this bold and imaginative staging is the first in an ambitious three-year plan to produce touring theatre for young people, supported by Arts Council England.

Adapted for the stage by Sachar himself, the play combines puppetry, music and physical theatre to bring to life his much-loved story of outlaws, injustice, buried treasure and ancient curses. Directed by Nottingham Playhouse Artistic Director Adam Penford, it was first staged in Nottingham in 2018, where it played to packed houses and was highly praised by critics and young audiences alike.

Since its original publication in 1998, Holes has delighted children and adult readers, becoming a staple secondary school set text and cementing its place in popular culture through the 2003 film adaptation starring Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Patricia Arquette.

With its distinctive blend of youthful comic fantasy and hard-hitting, grown-up themes of racism, bullying and oppression, the novel has been described by Lyn Gardner as providing "a vital bridge between primary and secondary reading". Gritty realism gives way to mystery and intrigue, rollicking Western-style adventure, and even a touch of magic in a compelling, multi-layered story that hops effortlessly between genres and brings the past into a shocking collision with the present.

14-year-old Stanley Yelnats comes from a poor but hardworking family, who frequently find themselves faced with misfortunes, which they put down to a family curse inflicted on them by Stanley's "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather".

Wrongly convicted of stealing a pair of trainers, Stanley is sent away to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp in the middle of a desert, where he and the other inmates must spend all day digging holes. But it soon becomes clear that the tyrannical Camp Warden is hiding something, and their digging is about more than simply "building character". As Stanley and his new friend Zero search for answers about the camp, the truth about their own intertwined stories is slowly revealed...

Director Adam Penford said: "I first read Holes years ago, and then I saw the movie and loved that, too, and I always thought it would work beautifully on stage. The story is a fable, really, so it lends itself to theatricality. If you love the novel and you love the film then you'll love the play, because it's got all the familiar characters, but there are also surprises in the way that we represent certain moments of the plot on stage."

Originally a partnership between Fiery Angel and Chichester Festival Theatre, the Children's Touring Partnership has successfully toured and produced five shows since 2010, developing a network of supportive large-scale venues and reaching over 500,000 people. Previous productions have included the Olivier Award-winning Goodnight Mr Tom, which enjoyed a successful West End run and three UK tours; the West End and UK tour of Swallows and Amazons; and UK tours of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild and The Jungle Book.

Amy Vaughan, Director of Touring at Arts Council England said today: "It is great to see some of our major venues coming together to get this fantastic work touring across the country and reaching more young people and their families over the next three years. This is a significant investment for Arts Council England through our National Lottery Project Grants programme and we look forward to seeing how the project reaches a broader range of young people to support wider engagement in the arts."

Holes is designed by Simon Kenny (Noughts and Crosses, Black Men Walking, The Gift) with puppetry by Matthew Forbes (War Horse, Alice's Adventures Underground, Skellig) and composition and musical direction by Tom Attwood (Skellig, Jerusalem, Handbagged). Sound is by Adam P. McCready, lighting is by Prema Mehta, choreography is by Emma Annetts and video is by Duncan McLean. Casting is by Sarah Bird CDG and Vicky Richardson.

Holes shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from 18-22 February 2020. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting where prices are cheaper.

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