Winnie and Wilbur to cast a spell at Birmingham REP

Steve Orme

The adventures of Winnie the witch and her black cat Wilbur, the best-selling picture books by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul, are to be brought to the stage in a new family show at Birmingham REP.

Winnie and Wilbur enjoy all kinds of capers together, with a big dollop of magic mixed in. In this new adventure, they are getting ready for Winnie’s birthday party but it may not turn out to be the best party ever.

Mike Kenny, who specialises in theatre for young audiences and won an Olivier Award for best entertainment for his adaptation of The Railway Children, said of this new play, “I loved working on this.

“For some reason, I missed them when my own children were growing up, so the books were a real joy to discover. I won't pretend that turning the books into a play was easy though. When you adapt a book that is mostly writing, everyone will have an idea about what the central character looks like, but everyone's idea will be different.

“We know what Winnie looks like because of Korky Paul's amazing illustrations. And we know what her fantastically inventive world is like too. Finding some way of putting that on stage has been the obsession of the whole creative team.”

The cast for Winnie and Wilbur includes Sophie Russell as Winnie and Ben Thompson as Wilbur. Rob Castell, Ed Thorpe, Anne Odeke and Maimuna Memon complete the ensemble.

Liam Steel directs, with design by Rachael Canning. Lighting design is by Natasha Chivers and music by Marc Teitler.

Winnie and Wilbur runs in The Studio at Birmingham REP from Friday 31 March until Saturday 22 April. Press night will be Wednesday 5 April.