Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes and acclaimed musical duo Stiles & Drewe will join forces to create a new adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved tale The Wind In The Willows for the West End stage.
Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger will get their London stage outing following the musical’s initial runs at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and The Lowry in Salford in October 2016. A West End venue is still to be announced.
Grahame’s well-known story follows the four woodland friends as they embark on a series of adventures and misadventures caused by Toad’s insatiable need for speed. With their home under threat from the inhabitants of the Wild Wood, the imprisoned Toad must attempt a daring escape to save Toad hall.
The production is the latest project from George Stiles, Anthony Drewe and Fellowes, who previously teamed up to create a musical based on another iconic story, Mary Poppins, which won a pair of Olivier Awards in 2005.
Fellowes has described Grahame’s children’s classic as “a favourite of mine literally all my life”. Talking about being back in partnership with Stiles & Drewe, he said: “I’ve really enjoyed being back in the Stiles/Drewe/Fellowes team with our last production of Mary Poppins being a high point for all of us. Naturally, I have similar hopes for The Wind In The Willows [and] I do believe audiences everywhere will love the adventures of Toad, Ratty, Mole, Badger and their friends on stage as much as they have always loved the book.”
Jamie Hendry, producer of the new musical, said: “It has been a joy working with such a distinguished team of writers and creatives to develop that rare thing – a new British musical. I can’t wait to get the show on the road and invite audiences to share in our journey next year!”
The new production of The Wind In The Willows follows the Royal Opera House’s Olivier Award-winning take on Grahame’s beloved tale, which made its triumphant West End premiere in 2013.