The Mancunion

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Preview: Inkheart

Inkheart is HOME’s first Christmas production since its grand opening earlier this year

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Manchester’s new international centre for contemporary visual art, theatre, and film have chosen an adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s worldwide best-selling novel Inkheart as its first Christmas production.

This festive production is very much a collaborative effort. As well as being directed by Walter Meierjohann, it has also been adapted by Stephen Sharkey and Meierjohann. Designed by Berlin-based French designer Stéphane Laimé, the production is complemented with music composed by Nikola Kodjabashia, who also worked on Romeo and Juliet last year.

This bestselling international children’s book tells the story of Meg, a 12-year-old who is thrown into a world of magic, mystery and adventure when the characters from her favourite books come to life. “Thrust into an epic battle with the baddest of bad guys, will Meggie and her team of unconventional allies be able to stay one step ahead and keep those they love safe from danger?”

Cast members include our protagonist, portrayed by Katherine Carlton, who graduated from LAMDA in 2013. Paul McEwan will also be joining the stage as Meggie’s father, Mo—his northwest credits at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Dukes Lancaster as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company. Meanwhile, Stockport-based Kelly Hotten will be playing the narrator of the story and Meggie’s mother, Resa. Hotten has made numerous appearances at the Royal Exchange Theatre, whilst her TV credits include Doctors and WPC56. Finally, Rachel Atkins and Griffin Stevens, who both appeared in HOME’s Manchester Theatre Award-winning production of Romeo and Juliet at Victoria Baths, return to HOME to portray Elinor, Meggie’s aunt and Flatnose, one of the evil villains, respectively.

HOME will be delivering two exciting schools’ projects during Inkheart, with the support of World Duty Free Group. The first project, Adopt an Actor, involved four year seven classes from three Wythenshawe schools—Manchester Enterprise Academy, The Manchester Health Academy and Newall Green High School. During the rehearsal process, actors and pupils will be exchanging weekly handwritten letters, each sharing what goes on behind the curtain. Each class will take part in two creative theatre workshops and will also visit HOME in December to see a performance of Inkheart, before finally coming face to face with their adopted actor.

As well as this, pupils across Wythenshawe have been encouraged to send HOME stories that are inspired by the magic of reading, as part of our World Duty Free Storywriting Competition. The winning pupil will receive a package fit for a star writer, including the opportunity to meet Cornelia Funke at HOME’s Family Day on Sunday 13th December.

Books are capable of transporting their readers to different worlds, but what happens if that world is full of dark magic and ferocious and forbidding villains, where secrets are revealed and stories come alive? If words printed on page can transport you so far, imagine the adventure that the stage will take you on.