Director Russell Labey can stumble into London’s Tabard Theatre from where he lives. Small wonder he considers it a second home. Here, he recalls why returning, after ten years, with a second go at Clive King’s Stig of the Dump feels so special. Time to get booking!
When Barney, a day-dreaming, eight-year-old falls over the edge into a chalk pit he discovers Stig, a modern-day caveman living in a rubbish dump. Thrills, excitement and fun abound as they embark on an original fantasy journey. Making use of everything to improve Stig’s home, this intriguing and touching tale is a wonderful proclamation about friendship, imagination and possibly even recycling.
Written in 1963 by Clive King, who passed away in July this year, the original Stig of the Dump has become a firm favourite amongst readers. The stage version, adapted by Richard Williams, was first performed at the West York Playhouse and had its Tabard Theatre debut in 2008. Russell Labey returns to direct the show once again at the Tabard, using the original designs by Jason Denvir with associate direction by Matthew Fraser Holland, who appeared in the 2008 cast.
Apparently, it’s ten years since we premiered Stig of the Dump at the Tabard Theatre. Audiences loved it as much as we did putting it on. Friendships were forged that have lasted the decade. Gran was played by Matthew Fraser who has lovingly recreated, and improved upon, that original production.
Previously at the Tabard, I’d directed my play New Boy, which ended up in the West End! After Stig, we went on to create The Famous Five musical for this wonderful space, people still talk to me about that one.
I love this theatre. I live 300 yards from it. It is a vital artistic and creative amenity for W4 and survives and thrives because of the dedication and tender loving care of Simon Reilly and Fred, who run the place and to whom so many theatre practitioners owe huge thanks. The Tabard is a gem. I hope audiences enjoy the show and tell their friends, and visit the Tabard again soon.
When you see Stig of the Dump, you may be reminded of stories like the movie ET or that lovely animation The Snowman, but remember: Stig came first – original, universal, timeless and punching above its weight.
Stig of the Dump runs from 6 December 2018 to 6 January 2019 at the Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LW, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7pm, Saturday matinees at 3pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Tickets are priced £12-22. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!