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Set sail on a theatrical adventure at a Norwich theatre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 19 August 2017

Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. The Walker children in their boat Swallow. From left, Titty, nine, played by Alicia Shortman; Roger, seven, played by Steve Dunn; Susan, 11, played by Victoria Penn; and John, 12, played by Thomas Price. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. The Walker children in their boat Swallow. From left, Titty, nine, played by Alicia Shortman; Roger, seven, played by Steve Dunn; Susan, 11, played by Victoria Penn; and John, 12, played by Thomas Price. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

Audiences are being invited to set sail on a theatrical adventure with their imaginations at Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre this month.

Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. The Walker children with Captain Flint, Tim Seely, from left, John, 12, played by Thomas Price; Susan, 11, played by Victoria Penn; Titty, nine, played by Alicia Shortman; and Roger, seven, played by Steve Dunn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. The Walker children with Captain Flint, Tim Seely, from left, John, 12, played by Thomas Price; Susan, 11, played by Victoria Penn; Titty, nine, played by Alicia Shortman; and Roger, seven, played by Steve Dunn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Swallows and Amazons is the summer show being staged at the St John’s Alley venue. The production opens tomorrow and runs until September 2.

Arthur Ransome’s classic book tells of the adventures of siblings John, Susan, Titty and Roger, who set sail on their beloved boat, Swallow, for the holiday of a lifetime and discover fearsome 
foes, secret islands and pirates along the way.

And this stage version, adapted by Helen Edmundson and directed by Jez Pike, puts a theatrical twist on the tale and starts with an older Titty looking back at that great summer adventure from years past.

Alicia Shortman, who plays Titty, said: “To begin with, Titty enters the attic to have a clear-out and she sees all these things from her childhood that remind her of that summer. It is a wonderful memory that comes back to life.”

Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. Three of the Walker children from left, Susan, 11, played by Victoria Penn; Roger, seven, played by Steve Dunn; and Titty, nine, played by Alicia Shortman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. Three of the Walker children from left, Susan, 11, played by Victoria Penn; Roger, seven, played by Steve Dunn; and Titty, nine, played by Alicia Shortman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Throughout the show all manner of objects in the attic are - with the help of a little imagination - transformed into boats and other props for the cast to tell the story.

A vacuum cleaner, feather duster, hat stand, sheets and more are used to create boats, forests, a cannon and even a parrot.

Steve Dunn, who plays Roger, said: “It’s very much a family show. The show is a very sympathetic adaptation of a very well loved children’s book, but the visual imagination and how this story is told is key.

“The whole idea is that everything comes out of the attic, and that the children watching the show can go home and play at making boats from things they have in their own homes.”

Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. John Walker, 12, played by Thomas Price, is told off by Captain Flint, played by Tim Seely. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Rehearsals for Maddermarket Theatre's summer production of Swallows and Amazons. John Walker, 12, played by Thomas Price, is told off by Captain Flint, played by Tim Seely. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rebecca Wass, the theatre’s general manager, said it was a show for all ages and that it also gave adults the chance to share a favourite story from their childhood with their own children or grandchildren.

Swallows and Amazons - which also features songs written by Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy - is at the Maddermarket Theatre from August 18 until September 2.

Tickets are £15 for adults and £10 for children. Family tickets are also available. For more information and to book tickets, call the box office on 01603 620917 or visit 
www.maddermarket.co.uk

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