Stage Adaptation of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels Headlines New Rose Theatre, Kingston's Upcoming Season

With John Malkovich's acclaimed production of Good Canary entering its final week, Rose Theatre Kingston today announces its new season for 2017. Headlining the season is the world première of My Brilliant Friend, a two-part adaptation of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet of novels which have become a global literary sensation. The true identity of the author is a mystery, with Elena Ferrante a pseudonym used by the writer, but speculation over the weekend suggested that the author had been unmasked.

April De Angelis pens the adaptation, directed by Melly Still, which opens at the Rose Theatre Kingston on Saturday 11 March, with previews from 25 February, and runs until 2 April. The season includes two more world première productions: Sandi Toksvig's comedy Silver Lining, a co-production with English Touring Theatre, directed by Rebecca Gatward, who returns to the theatre following her production of Maxine Peake's Beryl. Secondly, Rose Theatre Kingston collaborates with Headlong, Bristol Old Vic and Theatr Clwyd to present Junkyard, a new musical with book and lyrics by Jack Thorne and music by Stephen Warbeck.

The Rose also continues its partnership with Curve Leicester, following the success of The Witches earlier this year, with a new production of David Wood's adaption of Roald Dahl's classic The Twits running over the Easter holidays. Alongside the Rose's in-house productions, the theatre hosts an eclectic mix of visiting theatre, music and comedy. In addition to The Twits, the Rose continues its long tradition for presenting top quality family shows including We're Going on a Bear Hunt (17 - 21 May), Sally Cookson's adaption of Michael Rosen's book, as well as two shows from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom (14 - 18 February) and The Scarecrows' Wedding (23 - 25 May).

Other highlights include Bring on the Bollywood (25 - 28 May) a dance-theatre extravaganza from Phizzical Productions, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (28 January) with an evening of Beethoven, Grieg, Mozart and Mendelssohn, a monthly Comedy Store night (29 January, with further dates to be announced soon), featuring the best new comics, and an evening of magic from Jamie Raven (12 February), first seen on Britain's Got Talent in 2015. For full details of visiting shows please see

Chief Executive Robert O'Dowd said today "After the success of The Wars of the Roses last year, we are delighted to offer another exciting theatrical event - My Brilliant Friend, the first stage adaptation and world première of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels which we will present in two parts. Ferrante's books celebrate female creativity so it seems very appropriate to be working with some of the most exciting talents around - adaptor April De Angelis and director Melly Still, both known for their powerful and engaging theatre work." "We're very pleased to be partnering again with both English Touring Theatre, on Sandi Toksvig's brilliant play Silver Lining opening at the Rose before a national tour, and Curve with whom we present a new production of Roald Dahl's The Twits. And in a season of collaborations, we also join forces with producers Headlong, Bristol Old Vic and Theatr Clwyd and the extraordinary creative team of Jack Thorne, Stephen Warbeck and Jeremy Herrin on new musical Junkyard which ends its tour at the Rose."

Also announced today, following his productions of The Wars of the Roses in 2015 and King John earlier this year, Trevor Nunn is named Advisory Associate Director of the Rose.

An English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston co-productionWorld première SILVER LINING
Written by Sandi Toksvig
Director: Rebecca Gatward
Designer: Michael Taylor
Sound Designer: Mic Pool
Lighting Designer: Mark Doubleday
3 - 11 February
On one dark and stormy night in the upper day room of the Silver Retirement Home, five elderly ladies are trading stories of their remarkable lives. With the storm floods rising and no rescue team in sight, the ladies are faced with the sudden realisation that in order to survive they are going to have to do what they have done for their entire lives - do it themselves!

Silver Lining is the new comedy by Sandi Toksvig. It tells the tale of five extraordinary yet forgotten women, who come together one treacherous night to recreate The Great Escape - senior citizen style!

Sandi Toksvig is a writer, actor, presenter and political activist. Her previous writing for the stage includes the musical Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace and The Pocket Dream. Until last year she was the presenter of BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz and in October 2016 she takes over from Stephen Fry as the host of BBC television quiz show QI. She is the joint founder of the Women's Equality Party which was established in March 2015. Rebecca Gatward directs. Her theatre credits include The Night Watch (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester), for West Yorkshire Playhouse; The Accrington Pals and Beryl (also Rose Theatre Kingston), The Trial Of Dennis The Menace (Southbank Centre), The Comedy Of Errors, The Merchant Of Venice (Shakespeare's Globe), Pandas (Traverse Theatre), The Indian Boy (RSC Complete Works Festival), The Canterbury Tales directed in partnership with Greg Doran and Jonathan Munby and Thyestes for The Other Place (RSC), Touched (Salisbury Playhouse), Cancer Tales (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich). She was Company Director onThis Is Our Youth with Matt Damon and Casey Affleck at the Garrick Theatre. Her work for television includes EastEnders (winner Broadcast award and soap award nominations for best episode and scene), Casualty, Doctors and Sadie J. And then on tour to:
New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth14 - 18 FebruaryBox office: 023 9264 Oxford Playhouse21 - 25 FebruaryBox Office: 0844 871 Cambridge Arts Theatre7 - 11 MarchBox office: 01223 503 New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich14 - 18 March Box office: 01473 295 Theatre by the Lake, Keswick21 - 25 MarchBox office: 017687 74411 York Theatre Royal28 March - 1 AprilBox Office: 01904 The Lowry, Salford4 - 8 AprilBox office: 0843 208

A Rose Theatre Kingston productionWorld premièreMY BRILLIANT FRIENDA two-part adaptation of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet of novels.Adapted for the stage by April De Angelis
Directed by Melly Still
Sat 25 February - Sun 2 April
Elena Ferrante's intense portrait of an all-consuming female friendship in post-war Italy is brought to life for the first time on the Rose stage. This modern family saga chronicles the lives of friends, Elena and Lila, following them from their childhoods in a poor, tough neighbourhood of Naples, through passionate love affairs, burgeoning careers and family struggles. But even as life repeatedly tries to pull the two in separate directions, Elena and Lila remain inextricably bound to one another. A powerful story of love, violence, sex, ambition, genius and self-destruction, the two-part play is an exploration not just of female friendship and rivalry, but of Italy after the war and the decades of political turmoil and cultural change that followed.

This stage adaptation condenses Ferrante's four novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, The Story of the Lost Child) into one play presented in two parts. Audiences will be able to see both parts in one day, or on separate days.

Elena Ferrante was chosen this year as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people on the planet. Very little, however, is known about the author - she writes under a pseudonym, explaining: 'Anonymity lets me concentrate exclusively on writing'. Her first novels were published in the early 1990s, with My Brilliant Friend, the first novel in the Neapolitan quartet, translated into English in 2012, and the final book in the quartet, The Story of the Lost Child, shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

April De Angelis is an acclaimed writer whose extensive theatre work includes After Electra, Rune, Gastronauts, Jumpy, an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, A Laughing Matter, A Warwickshire Testimony, The Positive Hour, Playhouse Creatures and The Life and Times of Fanny Hill. She's currently under commission to the Royal Exchange, Manchester and the National Theatre. De Angelis has also written the libretto for Flight, music by Jonathan Dove, for Glyndebourne Opera and The Silent Twins libretto, which was set to music by Errollyn Wallen. Her work for radio includes an adaptation of Life in the Tomb, a serialisation of Peyton Place, Visitants and The Outlander which won the Writer's Guild Award in 1992. For television her work includes Aristophanes.

Melly Still's previous directing credits for theatre include Cymbeline (RSC), The Haunting of Hill House (Sonia Friedman Productions, Hammer and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse), Life Raft and Coram Boy (Bristol Old Vic), From Morning Till Midnight, Nation and The Revenger's Tragedy (National Theatre), Rats' Tales (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Beasts and Beauties (Hampstead Theatre). Her opera directing work includes The Cunning Little Vixen and Rusalka (Glyndebourne) and Zaide (Sadler's Wells).

A Rose Theatre Kingston and Curve co-productionTHE TWITS
Written by Roald Dahl
Adapted by David Wood
Director: Max Webster
Designer: Georgia Lowe
Lighting Designer: Joshua Pharo
Composer: Dougal Irvine
Movement Director: Deborah Pugh
Sound Designer: Carolyn Downing
5 -16 April
Mr Twit has a very hairy face. His beard is spiky and smelly. It also contains cornflakes, sardines and even some stilton. Mrs Twit is equally as foul and she hates Mr Twit just as much as Mr Twit hates her. The Twits really are the most spiteful and revolting couple you could ever hope to meet. They spend their days playing wicked tricks on each other and mistreating Muggle-Wump monkeys. They also have a particularly sticky trick to catch Roly-Poly birds for their bird pies. But not for much longer because the monkeys have a cunning plan to teach those terrible twits a lesson. Curve's mischievous new production, directed by Max Webster promises to be just as disgusting and repulsive as earth worms disguised as spaghetti - the perfect treat for all the family.
Recommended for ages 6+.

Max Webster is the current Baylis Director at The Old Vic Theatre. His upcoming work includes The Winter's Tale (Edinburgh Lyceum) and Fanny and Alexander (Old Vic). His recent directing work includes King Lear (Northampton Royal & Derngate & UK tour), The Lorax (Old Vic Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare's Globe), Mary Stuart(Parco - Japan), James And The Giant Peach and My Generation (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Twelfth Night (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), Orlando, To Kill A Mockingbird, My Young And Foolish Heart (Manchester Royal Exchange) and The Shape Of The Impossible (National Theatre Shed).

A Headlong, Rose Theatre Kingston, Bristol Old Vic and Theatr Clwyd co-production - the world première of JUNKYARD.
Book and Lyrics by Jack Thorne
Music by Stephen Warbeck
Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Wed 19 - Sun 30 April
It's 1979, rubbish is on the streets, and it's tricky being Fiz. She's 13, she's got no money, her sister's pregnant and her mum thinks she's a waste of space... Rick remembers what it's like to be a teenager. So when he decides to build a junk playground in Bristol, he's pretty sure he has the charisma to get a bunch of reluctant kids involved. He's wrong.But with some old-fashioned emotional bribery, Rick persuades Fiz, Higgy and Ginger to help him. And the project turns from something that means nothing to something that means a lot. And kids that care about nothing, start to care a lot. But darkness has a way of coming back and biting you when you least expect it.
Featuring a score by Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love, Wolf Hall, Jerusalem), this brilliantly honest and witty new musical from BAFTA Award-winning writer Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, This is England '90) and Evening Standard Award-winning director Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall, People, Places and Things, This House) is a coming-of-age story about friendship and standing up for what matters.

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