New Perspectives Theatre Company bring John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway's world famous 1972 picture book The Giant Jam Sandwich to the stage for the first time in the UK, in a brand new production opening in association with Derby Live at Derby's Guildhall Theatre. The show runs in Derby from 11 to 18 February, followed by a stop at Wimbledon's Polka Theatre from 23 to 26 February, ahead of a national rural tour which takes in national theatres including Salisbury Playhouse and countless village halls.
The story goes... on one hot summer's day, four million wasps invade the quiet village of Itching Down. The picnickers panic and the famer stops haymaking. The wasps are noisy, nasty and worst of all, they don't mind who they sting! That is until the baker has an ingenious idea... to trap them in a jam sandwich the size of a mountain.
Lord and Burroway's classic book has been enjoyed around the world for over 45 years, endlessly translated and adapted for radio, television and large scale orchestra. To date however it has never been adapted for the stage, and New Perspectives are delighted to have the honour to bring Bap the Baker, Farmer Seed and Mayor Muddlenut live to audiences for the first time.
New Perspectives Artistic Director, Jack McNamara, says,
"I read The Giant Jam Sandwich obsessively as a child and have encountered many people since who cite it as their favourite picture book. As a three-year old, I accidentally dug up a wasp's nest and was covered head to toe by an angry swarm. I managed to avoid serious injury, yet this story has served as a consolation to me ever since! I was astounded to learn from John Vernon Lord that in the 45 years since it was written The Giant Jam Sandwich has never been professionally staged in the UK. Everything about it chimes with our company ethos; the village hall setting, the Derbyshire birthplace of the writer and the wild imagination of the story."
Originally from Glossop, author, illustrator and teacher John Vernon Lord's children's books have been published widely and translated into several languages. His illustrations for The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear and Aesop's Fables both won national prizes, including the W.H. Smith/V&A Illustration Award in 1990. He has just completed a set of illustrations to Joyce's Ulysses for the Folio Society and has illustrated three books by Lewis Carroll for Artists' Choice Editions. He was Professor of Illustration at the University of Brighton 1986-99, where he is now Professor Emeritus and is allergic to wasps! Of this new production, he said:
"I was honoured and excited when I heard that New Perspectives wanted to put on a performance of The Giant Jam Sandwich. It was a particular thrill when I heard that it was going to be performed in Derbyshire, the county of my birth, which I am very fond of. I can't wait to see it. I am allergic to wasps so I am glad the performances are out of seasons for wasps and I therefore won't need to bring my Epipen. Mind you, the performing wasps may be just as terrifying! "
Following a successful collaboration on The Truck on the Track, John Vernon Lord teamed up with novelist Janet Burroway once again to adapt The Giant Jam Sandwich text, setting it to verse. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Janet Burroway is the author of eight novels, plays, poetry, essays, texts for dance, and children's books. She is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita of the Florida State University, and was awarded the Florida Humanities Council's 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing.
New Perspectives Executive Director, Sally Anne Tye said,
'We are delighted to open The Giant Jam Sandwich at the Guildhall Theatre, collaborating with Derby Live to bring the story to life on stage in the creator's home county and sharing it with a new generation of audiences in rural villages and theatres on tour".
New Perspectives is an East Midlands' based touring theatre company, specialising in bringing new work to rural and community audiences. Through an annual programme of original adaptations, rare revivals and new writing, we aim to bring live theatre that is diverse, affordable and accessible into the heart of wide-ranging communities, as well as to regional, national and international venues.
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