Grand pulling the strings with puppets

Running Wild
Running Wild
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A pair of productions relying on state-of-the-art puppetry, act as the centrepiece to the Grand Theatre’s spring/summer schedule.

Running Wild and Babe the Sheep-Pig were both reserved for special praise at the Brochure launch, last Friday.

Running Wild, which is adapted from the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name, is described as “an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment”.

The story is inspired by the real life tale of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, when she went on an elephant ride. While riding ‘Ning Nong’ along the beach, the eight-year-old noticed the elephant was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water.

The lead role of Lilly will be shared by three young actresses, Jemima Bennett, India Brown and Annika Whiston.

However it’s the spectacular life-size puppets that steal the show, controlled by Darcy Collins, Romina Hytten, Fred Davis, Elisa de Grey, James Charlton, Michael Peters, and Wela Mbusi.

Running Wild will visit Blackpool between Tuesday, April 4 and Saturday, April 8.

Ruth Eastwood, chief executive at the Grand Theatre, said: “If you only get one chance to come to The Grand this year make it Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo.

“My team had the privilege of seeing the show before I booked it to come here and they were, quite simply, blown away by the performances and magic of this exquisite and touching show.

“Don’t miss it.”

Babe the Sheep-Pig is based on the original book, rather than the film and the tale of friendship, adventure and bravery once again features “stunning” puppetry.

It’s been adapted to stage by the Olivier Award winning David Wood and it will visit the Grand between Thursday, July 6 and Sunday, July 9.

Ruth Eastwood commented that Babe, along with Running Wild have been chosen for the schedule in order to “light a spark in young people”.

Other highlights from the season include comedy Nell Gwynn, thriller Strictly Murder, dance show Breakin’ Convention. Local actress Jodie Prenger will also appear in a production of Shirley Valentine.