The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon – Derby Theatre, 22nd/23rd February, A Preview


A hugely inventive but simple story by David Almond, but produced by Theatre Alibi. Behind the Arras will be there on Friday morning to review it.
The plot? Some pretty odd ideas are floating around Paul’s street. There’s Mabel, whose brother hides under a brown paper bag. And Clarence the poodle who thinks he can fly. But Paul has the oddest idea of all. He thinks that the moon is a big hole in the sky and he’s going to climb into it…
Anything’s possible in this warm and very funny story by David Almond, award-winning writer of Skellig and My Dad’s A Birdman. Its target audience is 6-12 year olds and is touring nationwide in Spring 2018.
Theatre Alibi’s excellent website offers the following background information:

The production team comprises:
Cast: Kirsty Cox, Sian Kidd, Jordan Whyte
Accordion and hang drum: Lisa-Lee Leslie
Writer: David Almond
Adaptor: Daniel Jamieson
Director: Nikki Sved
Designer: Trina Bramman
Composer & Musical Director: Thomas Johnson
Lighting Designer & Technical Stage Manager: Marcus Bartlett
Production Manager: Rachael Duthie
Design Assistants: Sarah Vigars & Ruth Webb
Production Electrician: Will Tippett
Set Construction: David Elliot
Set Painting: Charlotte Hillman
Thanks to the R&D performers who helped develop the show:
Charlotte Dubery & Simon Palmer


Theatre Alibi are contemporary storytellers, creating work for all ages that moves freely between the intimate and the epic and aspires to be inventive, joyful, moving, vivid, intricate and ambitious. Our productions are marked by a passion for the live event – actors as storytellers absolutely present with their audience, live music, a delight in revealing acts of transformation that would often be confined to the wings and a level of inventiveness that allows us to embrace action that might seem to be unstageable. The company integrates a wide variety of art forms into its work and recent productions have featured animation, film, puppetry, photography and music both live and recorded.

Past productions include Falling, Hammer & Tongs, I Believe in Unicorns, Olive & the Dream Train, Curiosity Shop, The Crowstarver, Cabbage Heart, Goucher’s War, A Flying Visit, Ministry of Fear, Cobbo, Spies, Teapot, Lost & Found, Why the Whales Came, One in a Million, You Can’t Catch Me and Shelf Life.

Theatre Alibi tours to large and small venues nationally and regularly co-produces with other theatres, including Oxford Playhouse, Exeter Northcott Theatre, The Lowry, Exeter Phoenix and Polka Theatre in recent years. The company also performs its work for around 11,000 children in primary and special schools in the South West, providing a first experience of theatre to many. Click here for more information about where we tour to and when.

Based at Emmanuel Hall in Exeter the company offers rehearsal, workshop and office space to other arts organisations.

Artistic Director: Nikki Sved
Associate Writer: Daniel Jamieson
Executive Producer: Ruth Weyman
Administrative & Financial Director: Mary Attewell
Marketing Manager: Debbie Bucella
Production Manager: Rachael Duthie
Administrator: Annie Chave
Caretaker and Cleaner: Graeme Drew
Theatre Alibi Board Members: Melita Armitage, John Bunting, Roz Duffin, Pete Goodwin, Jonathan Gower, Jonny Ison, Tony Lidington, Dulcie Oliver & Erin Walcon
Theatre Alibi is one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations and is also grateful for support from Exeter City Council.

The author, David Almond, also has an excellent website from which this information is gleaned:

“I grew up in Felling on Tyne, close to the city of Newcastle and not far from the icy but beautiful North Sea. I had four sisters and a brother. My dad worked in the office of an engineering firm. My mam was shorthand typist. We lived on a council estate until I was 13.

I think I was a happy kid, but there was also a good deal of sadness – one of my little sisters died when I was seven and my dad died when I was fifteen. We were Catholics, and I was an altar boy, so I spent a lot of time in church. I loved roaming the streets and fields, playing football with my mates, camping, heading off to beautiful Northumbrian beaches. I liked primary school but disliked grammar school. I loved our little local library. I knew I wanted to be a writer and I dreamed that I’d see my books on its shelves one day.

To the astonishment of some of my teachers, I went to UEA and studied English and American Literature. Over the years, I’ve been a labourer on building sites, a tank cleaner in a shipyard, a brush salesman, a postman, a hotel porter. I became a primary school teacher, which I loved. I wrote short stories at the weekends and during the holidays, and started to get my work published in little magazines. As I approached thirty, I gave it all up, resigned from my job, sold my house and lived in a Norfolk commune for a year and kept on writing, writing, writing.

My first novel took me five years to write, and was rejected by every UK publisher. I shrugged, spat and kept on writing. I wrote stories, poems, plays. I travelled. I worked in Adult Literacy and as a part-time special needs teacher. I edited a literary magazine, Panurge, for a few years. My first two story collections were published in tiny editions by the heroic Iron Press. Then I was ambushed by a story that turned out to be called Skellig, and everything changed.

Skellig has been published in 40 languages. It has sold over a million copies in the English language. It has become a stage play, a radio play, a movie and an opera. Skellig opened up a whole new creative world for me and I’ve written many more novels, stories, plays, opera librettos and songs. I’ve won some of the world’s major literary prizes.

I live in Newcastle. I have one amazing daughter. I’m Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. I’m fascinated by the nature of creativity, by the writing process, by education. I work with artists, musicians, actors, teachers, directors, dancers. I work with, and write for, children and adults. I’m astounded by this amazing world, by the universe in which we live. I love beaches, light, music, Italy, skylarks, garlic, pasta, theatre, sardines, chilli, cinema, books. Every story that we write or read or act or sing or dance is an act of optimism, a move against the destructive forces that want to stifle us. I keep on writing.”

Almond’s publisher describes “The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon”, thus:
A magnificent tale of crackpot notions and sky-high courage – from David Almond, the master of magical realism, with illustrations by the award-winning Polly Dunbar.
Paul believes that the moon is not the moon, but is a great hole in the sky.

It’s one of many strange ideas that he’s never told anyone (at school he was told that he had no ideas at all), until he meets Molly, his irrepressible neighbour, who begins to convince him that his theory might just change the world.

Helped by a very long ladder, some highly irregular characters, two rather worried parents and a great deal of community spirit, Paul takes to the sky.
But his astonishing discovery there can’t keep him away for long – what is waiting for him back at home is turning out to be better than he’d ever imagined…

For tickets:


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