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The Worst Witch Flies Into Norwich

© Manuel Harlan

Long before Harry Potter there was Mildred Hubble, an ordinary girl who found herself in an extraordinary place – a school for witches.

Now in her final year, accident-prone Mildred and her fellow pupils are about to embark on their biggest adventure yet – and Norwich audiences can find out how they fare when The Worst Witch swooshes in via broomstick to the Theatre Royal from April 16 to 20.

Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies worldwide and have been made into numerous films and TV series. The most recent – and successful – was written by playwright Emma Reeves (Royal Television Society Award for Best Children’s TV Programme and 2017 British Screenwriters Award for Best Children’s Programme) who has now brought these stories to life in a major new play touring the country.

Featuring all of Jill Murphy’s beloved characters, this original story is directed by Theresa Heskins (2017 UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People) and features especially written music, breath-taking magic and plenty of Mildred’s unique brand of utter pandemonium.

Audiences will meet jealous Ethel Hallow, who is always out to spoil Mildred’s fun, and Miss Hardbroom who is opposed to all fun in general, and just as Mildred sparks some inevitable mayhem which is certain to upset them both, an old enemy returns with a plan for revenge that could threaten not just Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches but the whole world.

Author 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.”

Playing Mildred Hubble is Danielle Bird (The Hypocrite), while taking the roles of Agatha and Miss Cackle is Polly Lister (The Snow Queen). Rachel Heaton (Passing) plays Miss Hardbroom, Rebecca Killick (Pink Mist) plays Maud, Rosie Abraham (Peter Pan Goes Wrong) plays Ethel and Anna Crichlow (Common) plays Enid. The cast is completed by Molly-Grace Cutler as Miss Bat/musician, Megan Leigh Mason as Miss Drill/musician, Emma Lau as Drusilla and Meg Forgan as Fenella/musician.

The Worst Witch is designed by Simon Daw (Humble Boy), with music by Luke Potter (Hetty Feather) while aerial consultancy is by Vicki Amedume, Beverley Norris-Edmunds choreographs, and illusions are by John Bulleid. Lighting design is by Aideen Malone and sound design is by Leigh Davies, puppetry direction and design is by Paschale Straiton and casting is by Anjo Carroll.

It is co-produced by Royal and Derngate Northampton, Kenny Wax Family Entertainment, Novel Theatre and Nica Burns.

Communications officer Judy Foster said: “This delightful production offers spellbinding entertainment for all ages, but especially the seven-plus age range. From a spooky set, to fast-paced action, quick costume changes and even a superb aerial sequence, it will cast its magic over you, so buckle up for the broomstick ride of your life.”

The Worst Witch is at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Tuesday 16-Saturday 20 April at 7pm, and Wed, Thur and Sat matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets £10-£23.50. Discounts for Friends, Over-60s, Under-18s and Groups.

To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.