Adrian Mole musical to premiere in Leicester next year

Pamela Raith Photography_Adrian Mole Press Launch Curve_043

Jake Brunger (book/lyrics), Fiona Allan (Curve chief executive), Chris Stafford (Curve executive producer), Luke Sheppard (director) and Pippa Cleary (music/lyrics) at the press launch for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ at Curve Leicester. Picture: Pamela Raith

Leicester’s favourite teenager, Adrian Mole, will be the star of Curve’s brand new musical which premieres in spring 2015. With book and lyrics by Jake Brunger and music and lyrics by Pippa Cleary, this new musical adaptation of Sue Townsend’s best-seller will open on 17 March 2015, with previews from 7 March, and runs until 4 April (tickets are on public sale from Thursday 10 July).

Set in 1980s Leicester, Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, follows the daily dramas and misadventures of Adrian’s adolescent life. With dysfunctional parents, ungrateful elders, a growing debt to school bully Barry Kent and an unruly pimple on his chin, life is hard for a misunderstood intellectual who is only 13 ¾…

To top it off, when new girl Pandora captures his heart, his best friend Nigel steals hers. Can Adrian win back her love and escape his chaotic family life?

With an original score, this brand new adaptation rediscovers this much-loved novel and bring Adrian’s story to life once more.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ was Townsend’s first novel, published by Penguin Books in 1982. It has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, been translated into 30 languages, and spawned seven sequel Adrian Mole novels. The novels have previously been adapted for the stage, radio and television.

Fiona Allan, Curve’s chief executive commented: “Sue Townsend’s novel about a Leicester teenager has delighted over 20 million readers across the world since it was first published in 1982 and we had the huge privilege of being able to work with her on this project. It’s very exciting to be staging a brand new musical adaptation of her much-loved book right here in Leicester, Sue’s beloved home town, bringing Adrian Mole’s story back to life – not only for his fans, but also for a new generation.”

As one of the UK’s leading producing theatres over the past six years Curve has developed a strong reputation for musical theatre, for both producing critically acclaimed shows as well as being chosen to open major new musicals and national tours.

Sue Townsend’s husband, Colin Broadway said today: “Sue was thrilled to be working with the two young talents Jake and Pippa during 2012-14, to bring back to the Leicester stage her best-selling book, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾. We, as a family, are looking forward to being at Curve for the opening night.”

Sue Townsend (1946 – 2014) was one of Britain’s most popular and most loved writers, with more than ten million copies of her books sold in the UK alone. She wrote in secret for many years, eventually joining a writers’ group at the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester in her thirties. At the age of 35, she won the Thames Television Playwright Award for her first play, Womberang, and began her writing career. Other plays followed including The Great Celestial Cow (1984), Ten Tiny FingersNine Tiny Toes (1990), and most recently You, me and Wii (2010).

Her most famous creation The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ was published in 1982, and was followed by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984). These two books made her the best-selling novelist of the 1980s. They have been followed by several more in the same series including Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1993), Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (1998), Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004) and Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (2009).

Jake Brunger (book and lyrics) and Pippa Cleary (music and lyrics) met at Bristol University, where they were studying drama and music respectively. Their musicals together include: Jet Set Go! (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Theatre 503 and Jermyn Street Theatre), The Great British Soap Opera (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Jermyn Street Theatre) and Red Riding Hood (Singapore Repertory Theatre). They also wrote the music and lyrics for the 2013 Rose Theatre Kingston Christmas show The Snow Gorilla. In 2013, Cleary won the Arts Foundation Fellowship for Musical Theatre Composition. They are currently writing a new musical called Prodigy for National Youth Music Theatre.

Luke Sheppard most recently directed In the Heights (Southwark Playhouse), and is the associate director for Matilda the Musical (RSC). Other productions he has directed include The History Boys (South Hill Park), 101 Dalmatians (Castle Theatre) and Soho Cinders (Arts Ed). As associate director, Sheppard has worked on Singin’ in the Rain (Palace Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre), and as assistant director on Into The Woods (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).


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