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WHEN NEMusicals York decided The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe would be their autumn show at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, Steve Tearle was “overjoyed and super-excited” to be picked to direct next week’s production.

“It was the book that I fell in love with as a child. We all have one!” he says. “The amazing story of a land behind the wardrobe fascinated me; I would dream about Aslan the lion and the animals. I would sit for hours and would knock constantly on the back of my wardrobe and wish that there was another world at the back of it.

“Sadly for me, but much to my mother and father’s pleasure, I realised that this was not the case, but from the first time I read this amazing story until now, it still holds such adventure and excitement.”

The November 15 to 18 production features a jazz-based score with haunting melodies by Irita Kutchmy. “She’s a wonderful lady who, when she knew we were performing the show, contacted us to wish us great success,” says Steve.

NEMusicals York – it now stands for “New Exciting Musicals York!”, jokes Steve – faced a considerable challenge in mounting C S Lewis’s story on stage. “The show is very rarely performed, due to the complexity of staging it, and it’s never considered as a musical, so we had very little to go on…oh, apart from the amazing imagination of C S Lewis.

“So that’s what we used for our inspiration, which we know you will love,” says the director. “We’ve designed the costumes ourselves and the staging to bring Lewis’s world to life.”

Jack Hambleton – Front, Margaux Barker – Left, Sam Roberts – Back Left, and Grace Brown – Back Right.

Choosing the right four lead children was so important too, he adds. “We’ve worked with Sam Roberts, who’s 14, in a few shows prior to this. He was Oliver in Oliver! and we knew he would be perfect for Peter as the leader of the famous four,” says Steve.

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday matinee are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk

Written by Charles Hutchinson

Photos by Myriam Barker

York Press Article

Also in York Press an article on Margaux Barker