Railway Children to be performed at Waterloo Station: July – October 2010

by Anna Blanch on May 25, 2010

A stage production of E.Nesbit’s much-loved The Railway Children will be performed over the summer in the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station. Previewing from 4 July 2010, the show is currently booking until 4 September. Directed by Damian Cruden, Mike Kenny’s adaptation of E Nesbit’s novel will be performed in a specially created auditorium with the audience seated either side of the railway track. The action takes place both on the track and on the platforms either side. The production, which uses the gentlemen’s saloon carriage from the classic film, will also feature a steam locomotive from the National Railway Museum.

The production press materials describe the show: 

The Railway Children tells the story of Bobby, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother where they befriend the local railway porter and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?

I am excited to see this production after hearing that Wind in The Willows would be performed instead of Railway Children after two sell-out seasons at the National Railway Museum in York. I am particularly excited because I will be in London during the season and am already planning how and when to see this show.

It is notable too that this production is in support of the Railway Children charity that aims to help homeless and runaway children throughout the world, with £1 per ticket sale donated to the charity. It is important, though far less important than their work, to note that the Charity’s name does not in fact have anything to do with the name of the play or the book but relates to a personal experience of the founder at Mumbai’s Railway station.

The Railway Children was first published in 1906 and has been adapted for the stage and screen in a number of different iterations, most famously in the 1970 Lionel Jeffries film version starring Jenny Agutter, Bernard Cribbins, Dinah Sheridan and Sally Thomsett.

Apparently over 100 eager young actresses and actors auditioned for the show at the former Eurostar terminal in Waterloo. You can read all about the auditions which took place last weekend here.

A casting update courtesy of whatsonstage.co.uk: 26/05/2010

Caroline Harker and Marshall Lancaster will lead the cast in The Railway Children, performed in the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station from 12 July to 4 September 2010 (previews from 4 July). They’re joined by David Baron, Nicholas Bishop, Louise Clein, Elizabeth Keates, Steven Kynman, Roger May, Blair Plant, Amanda Prior and Sarah Quintell, as well as Grace Rowe, Mat Ruttle and children from the local boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

Adapted by Mike Kenny from E Nesbit’s classic 1906 novel, The Railway Children was first presented by York Theatre Royal at the National Railway Museum in York in 2008, where it returned the following year. At Waterloo, the auditorium will be specially constructed with the audience seated either side of the original railway track. Damian Cruden directs.

Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD student in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Her PhD thesis centres on the life and work of E.Nesbit.


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