First announced 17 May 2017, updated 30 May: The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces a brand new production of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole – The Musical, which opens in Adrian’s 50th birthday year. TICKETS ARE NOW ONSALE VIA MY THEATRE MATES!
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. Luke Sheppard’s new production will run at the Menier from 14 July to 9 September 2017, with a matinee on 26 July at 3.30pm.
“Honestly. My family just don’t understand me. Perhaps when I am famous and my diary is discovered people will understand the torment of being a 13 ¾ year old intellectual” Adrian Mole.
Set in 1980s Leicester, Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 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 infectious original score, this new adaptation rediscovers this much-loved novel and brings 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 over 20 million copies worldwide, been translated into 30 languages, and spawned 7 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.
This production is choreographed by Rebecca Howell and designed by Tom Rogers, with lighting by Howard Hudson, sound by Gregory Clarke, musical direction by Alex Parker and orchestrations by Paul Herbert. It is co-produced with Curve, Leicester in association with Anthony Clare & David Ian Productions. Casting is yet to be announced.
Sue Townsend (1946 – 2014) was one of Britain’s most popular and most loved writers, with over 10 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 Fingers, Nine 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 most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (2009).
Her other books include Rebuilding Coventry (1988), The Queen and I (1992 – also adapted for the stage), Ghost Children (1997), Queen Camilla (2006) and The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year (2012).She was an honorary MA of Leicester University, and in 2008 she was made a Distinguished Honorary Fellow. She was an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Loughborough University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her other awards include the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin, and the Frink Award at the Women of the Year Awards. In 2009 she was given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester.
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; licensed by Josef Weinberger Ltd), The Great British Soap Opera (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Jermyn Street Theatre), Red Riding Hood, Treasure Island (Singapore Repertory Theatre) and Prodigy for 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.
Luke Sheppard directs. His credits include Working, Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), Jersey Boys (international tour), Murder for Two, Oliver! (Watermill Newbury), In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse and King Cross Theatre – winner of 3 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 Matilda (RSC), and as Assistant Director on Into The Woods (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).