Jumbo tale of love, loss and surviving a tsunami

The production of Running Wild, which is being staged at Blackpool Grand Theatre

The production of Running Wild, which is being staged at Blackpool Grand Theatre

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Full casting has been announced for the first ever UK Tour of Running Wild, which has a five-day run at the Grand Theatre.

The Michael Morpurgo book has been adapted to the stage by Samuel Adamson and it will visit Blackpool between Tuesday, April 4 and Saturday, April 8.

Produced by Regent’s Park Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, this epic production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets, tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

Running Wild is the story is of a girl named Lilly, who, while on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride. During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle.

With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island. Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans, but, as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest.

The lead role of Lilly will be shared by three young actresses, Jemima Bennett, India Brown and Annika Whiston.

Dad/Red Bandana will be played by Kazeem Toisin Amore, Grandma by Liz Crowther, Mahout/Kaya by Stephen Hoo, Dr Geraldine by Corinna Powlesland, Mr Anthony by Jack Sandle and Mum will be played by Balvinder Sopal.

The puppeteers will be Darcy Collins, Romina Hytten, Fred Davis, Elisa de Grey, James Charlton, Michael Peters, and Wela Mbusi.

The story is inspired by the real life tale of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, when she went on an elephant ride. While riding ‘Ning Nong’ along the beach, the eight-year-old noticed the elephant was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water.

The production will work to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Tickets are priced from £20 and are available from www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk or 01253 290190.

For more information, visit www.runningwildlive.co.uk.