Sally Cookson's A MONSTER CALLS Comes To Coventry
Following its successful opening in London in 2018, Sally Cookson's Olivier Award-winning production of A Monster Calls comes to the Belgrade Theatre this spring, as part of its first ever UK tour.
Based on the Carnegie and Greenaway Medal-winning novel (the only book ever to receive both awards), written by Patrick Ness and inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, this powerful production sees the tale of love and loss brought vividly to life by visionary director Sally Cookson (La Strada, Hetty Feather, Jane Eyre). The show is an Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic, produced by Global Creatures, Jonathan Church Productions and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Offering a dazzling insight into love, life and healing, A Monster Calls tells the story of thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum. Together, they've 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.
"Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?"
Suitable for ages 10+, this critically acclaimed adaptation was the winner of the 2019 Best Entertainment and Family Olivier Award. The UK tour is supported by Arts Council England through a National Lottery Project Grant and The Touring Partnership.
Casting for the show includes Greg Bernstein (Harry), Kaye Brown (Grandma), Rafaella Covino, Ammar Duffus (Conor), Keith Gilmore (Monster), Jade Hackett (Sully), Cora Kirk (Lily), Kel Matsena (Anton), Maria Omakinwa (Mum), Sarah Quist (Miss Godfrey), Paul Sockett (Mr Marl) Ewan Wardrop (Dad) and Sam Wood.
The show is devised by Sally Cookson and the company, with Adam Peck as the writer in the room and Sam Wood as the Associate Director. The set designer is Michael Vale, the costume designer is Katie Sykes and the composer is Benji Bower. Lighting is by Aideen Malone, sound is by Mike Beer, projection is by Dick Straker and movement is by Dan Canham, with casting by Jessica Ronane CDG.
Sally Cookson said: "I instantly knew that I wanted to turn this book into a piece of theatre. It packs such an emotional punch. It's a story that celebrates stories, but also gets under the skin of what we do as a society when it comes to talking about important stuff. And it's also such a beautiful, fantastical magical story as well. It's got all the elements I love."
The UK tour will be supported by an extensive outreach and education programme, including discussions, workshops, an education pack and participatory events and activities for local community groups, addressing the widespread resonance of the story's themes.
The company will also be working with Kooth, a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for children and young people.
Alongside the tour, a creative writing challenge called The Monster Challenge will be encouraging young writers aged 10-25 to share their own stories inspired by the themes of the show, with selected stories to be read out by the cast in a series of online videos. To find out more, visit amonstercallstheplay.com.
A Monster Calls shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from 3-7 March as part of its Spring Season 2020. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are cheaper. Book for three or four shows in the Spring Season to claim 15% off your tickets, or a massive 25% off when you book for five or more.