by Wayne Leung
On the morning of January 26th, inside the historic Canadian Pacific Railway’s John Street Roundhouse (now the home of the Steam Whistle Brewery); Marquis Entertainment and The Touring Consortium Theatre Company announced an exciting, new production of a smash British play; E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children to be staged in a new theatrical venue, The Roundhouse Theatre, located on the grounds of the historic site.
The Railway Children
The Railway Children is an adaptation of E. Nesbit’s book. Written by Mike Kenny and directed by Damian Cruden, the family-friendly play takes place in Edwardian-era London and tells the story of three children who are forced to live in poverty by the railroad tracks after their father is unjustly prisoned. After befriending a local railway porter, the children embark on a magical journey of discovery.
Originally staged at the National Railway Museum in York, UK and later transferred to the former Eurostar Terminal at Waterloo Station in London, the play received widespread critical and popular acclaim and set box office records in the UK.
The Railway Children will have its North American premiere in Toronto and will run from May 3 to August 7, 2011.
The Toronto production of The Railway Children will feature an all-Canadian cast (to be announced at a later date) but the real “star” of the show has already been revealed . . . a 66-ton, vintage steam locomotive will be tracked on stage during the production. And when I say “tracked” I don’t mean the tracks used in a stage deck to move conventional scenery on and off a stage, I mean it will literally roll in on a set of railway tracks.
The production will feature a unique staging with the audience seated in two sets of bleachers on either side of the tracks facing each other. The performance will take place on moving platforms that slide on and off the real tracks as well as on the wooden platforms on either side of the tracks.
Toronto, meet your newest theatrical venue: The Roundhouse Theatre
To meet the exacting logistical demands of The Railway Children, a new 1000-seat venue will be built on the grounds of Roundhouse Park (Bremner Blvd. and Lower Simcoe St. at the base of the CN Tower).
This “modular tent” venue will be located next to the Toronto Rail Heritage Centre; a de-facto museum of artifacts from the bygone steam engine era and a location which ties-in perfectly with the setting for The Railway Children.
For more information visit www.railwaychildren.ca.
– Single tickets will be available as of April 4, 2011, through TicketKing – 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333; online sales at www.ticketking.com
– Tickets to the production are now available for groups of 10 or more by calling Group Sales at 416-593-4142 or 1-800-724-6420.
– Performances are scheduled from May 3 to August 7, 2011.
Photos by Simon Annand – Original London Company, Roundhouse Theatre Rendering by Titus Villanueva