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The Worst Witch to play a limited summer season at the Vaudeville Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING its hugely successful premiere at Royal & Derngate and hit UK tour, The Worst Witch is transferring to the West End – to the Vaudeville Theatre, where it will play for seven weeks over the summer holidays – from July 24 to September 8, 2019, with all tickets for the July 24 performance just £20.

This new story, adapted for the stage from Jill Murphy’s original books by Emma Reeves (who won a Royal Television Society Award for Best Children’s TV Programme and 2017 British Screenwriters Award for Best Children’s Programme for the televised version of The Worst Witch) was launched last November as Royal & Derngate’s Made in Northampton 2018 Christmas show.

The Worst Witch is the story of an ordinary girl who finds herself in an extraordinary place: a school for witches. Accident-prone Mildred Hubble and her fellow pupils leave a trail of mayhem behind them as they find themselves at the centre of a battle that’s being fought for their future.

Featuring Jill Murphy’s much-loved characters, the production includes original songs, music, magic and a dose of Mildred’s unique brand of utter pandemonium!

Kenny Wax Family Entertainment, Novel Theatre and Nica Burns present this Royal & Derngate, Northampton Production, which is directed by Theresa Heskins (2017 UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People), designed by Simon Daw (Baskerville, Humble Boy) and has music by Luke Potter (Hetty Feather).

Lighting design is by Aideen Malone (A Monster Calls, London Old Vic/Bristol Old Vic, Peter Pan, National Theatre), sound design by Leigh Davies (Spring Awakening, Hope Mill Theatre, King Lear, Old Vic), aerial direction by Vicki Amedume, choreography by Beverley Norris-Edmunds, and illusions by John Bulleid.

Jill Murphy said: “My first trip to the theatre aged four, opened up a magical world – so real to me, that I had to be restrained from climbing onstage to help the children in peril! My mum was quite cross with me, but I never wanted the show to end and sang the songs loudly all the way home on the bus. Imagine how proud I feel, all these years later, seeing my own Mildred Hubble on stage with all the characters from Miss Cackle’s Academy. I still feel thrilled to bits when I go to the theatre and The Worst Witch is a magical production.”

Emma Reeves added: “We’ve created a brand new story as well as revisiting moments from the books. Jealous Ethel Hallow is out to spoil Mildred’s fun, and Miss Hardbroom is opposed to all fun in general. But, without giving too much away, Mildred faces a greater danger than she ever imagined as an old enemy returns, with a plan for revenge that could threaten not just the Academy, but the whole world…”

Theresa Heskins said: “We’ve seen the start of a rebalancing of power within our society and it feels like an important time to be creating a play about young women who are learning, collectively and individually, to use their power; and the danger if they decide to use it not for good but for ill.”

Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies and been made into films and TV series by HBO, ITV and CBBC. There are now eight Worst Witch titles. Murphy is also well known for her picture books and was commended for the 1980 Kate Greenaway Medal for Peace At Last.

Five Minute’s Peace, the first in her series about the Large Family (of elephants), won the 1987 Parents Magazine Best Books for Babies Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 1986 Children’s Book Award. From the same series, All In One Piece was highly commended for the 1987 Kate Greenaway Award and shortlisted for the 1987 Children’s Book Award, and A Quiet Night In was short-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1994.

The Last Noo-Noo won the 0-5 category of the 1995 Smarties Book Prize and in the same year was shortlisted for the English 4-11 Outstanding Children’s Book of the Year, going on to win the 1996 Sheffield Children’s Book Award. The Last Noo-Noo also won the 1996 Gateshead Gold Award and in the same year was adapted as a play and performed at the Polka Theatre, London.

The Worst Witch is most suitable for ages 7+.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 0330 333 4814 or visit www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-worst-witch/.

Also at the Vaudeville Theatre: Mischief Theatre’s Groan Ups (September 20 to December 1) and Magic Goes Wrong (from December 14, 2019).