The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ musical to open at Menier Chocolate Factory

Jake Brunger Pippa Cleary and Luke Sheppard

(pictured left to right) Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary, writers of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Musical, with director Luke Sheppard. Picture: Pamela Raith Photography

A brand new production of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Musical will opens at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory in Adrian’s 50th birthday year.

Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary’s musical of Leicester’s favourite teen has undergone a period of further development since its original production at Curve in 2015, and Luke Sheppard’s new production will open at the Menier on 26 July, with previews from 14 July, and runs until 9 September.

Priority booking for the productions opens on Monday 22 May, with public booking on Tuesday 30 May.

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? 

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. This year Adrian celebrates his 50th birthday, and in March saw the publication of a new edition of the first two diaries.

Joel Fossard-Jones and company in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ – The Musical at Curve Leicester. Picture: Pamela Raith Photography

Joel Fossard-Jones and company in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ – The Musical at Curve Leicester. Picture: Pamela Raith Photography

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, Treasure Island (Singapore Repertory Theatre) and Prodigy (National Youth Music 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.

Director Luke Sheppard’s credits include Working, Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse); Jersey Boys (international tour); Murder for Two, Oliver! (Watermill Newbury); In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse and King’s Cross Theatre – winner of three Olivier Awards); Peter and the Starcatcher (Theatre Royal Northampton); Night Must Fall (Salisbury Playhouse), Stig of the Dump (Arts Theatre), 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).

This production is co-produced with Curve, Leicester in association with Anthony Clare & David Ian Productions.

www.menierchocolatefactory.com

Readers may also be interested in:

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Musical – Curve Leicester – Review

Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary on making Adrian Mole into a musical – Interview

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