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A magical family journey comes to the East End

London, UK. 14.12.2012. Birmingham Stage Company presents TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Adapted for the stage by David Wood, from the book by Philippa Pearce, and directed by Neal Foster. Lighting design by Jason Taylor. Set and costume design by Jackie Trousdale. Picture shows: Caitlin Thorburn (Hatty) and David Tute (Tom). Photo credit: Jane Hobson. London, UK. 14.12.2012. Birmingham Stage Company presents TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Adapted for the stage by David Wood, from the book by Philippa Pearce, and directed by Neal Foster. Lighting design by Jason Taylor. Set and costume design by Jackie Trousdale. Picture shows: Caitlin Thorburn (Hatty) and David Tute (Tom). Photo credit: Jane Hobson.

Friday, March 28, 2014
5:26 PM

An engaging adaptation of classic children’s tale Tom’s Midnight Garden is coming to the Hackney Empire.

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The timeless story by Philippa Pearce has been reimagined for the Mare Street theatre.

Award-winning playwright and producer David Wood has adapted the book with contributions from Pearce.

Wood said: “It was a labour of love and a very haunting book. Philippa became a great friend. She was a wonderful woman and was always on hand sending me positive feedback.

“We used to meet every couple of months for lunch once the play had been on.”

The plot jumps between the 1950s and Victorian times and follows the young Tom who is sent to live with his relatives in quarantine after his brother catches measles.

Every night as the grandfather clock chimes for the 13th time, the drab surroundings are transformed into a Victorian sunlit garden where he meets a life-changing playmate.

Wood said the story’s themes of loneliness and injustice had an extraordinary effect on children.

He said: “Having two child protagonists immediately involves a child audience and the fact that there is an elderly person who, we later find out, is not all we thought she was.”

Wood said that although his script had been used for a number of years, it was a testament to the story that each production was different.

The current version by the Birmingham Stage Company uses mime and music.

Wood added: “The actors play instruments and there is this interesting device whereby the director has taken the idea of no visible props. They mime, it is riveting to watch. We are always looking at new ways in appealing to, and emotionally involving, children.”

Tom’s Midnight Garden runs from April 1 to 5.

Ticket prices range between £10 and £20.

For more details and to book tickets visit hackneyempire.co.uk or call 020 8985 2424.

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