The Lovely Bones set for world premiere in Northampton

The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones

The world premiere of the popular coming of age novel The Lovely Bones will be at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate starting this weekend.

The stage adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, one of the best selling of the 21st century, can be seen in the town from Saturday September 1 to 22 before heading out on tour.

Charlotte Beaumont in rehearsals for The Lovely Bones

Charlotte Beaumont in rehearsals for The Lovely Bones

Included in the cast for the show is Charlotte Beaumont who played Chloe Latimer in the ITV crime drama Broadchurch.

Alice Sebold’s unique coming-of-age tale captured the hearts of readers throughout the world when it was first published in 2002.

An unforgettable story about life after loss, The Lovely Bones achieved critical acclaim and became an instant bestseller across the world, winning the Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Fiction 2003.

The Lovely Bones tells the story of young Susie Salmon, who is just like any other girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There’s one big difference though – Susie is dead.

Rehearsals for The Lovely Bones

Rehearsals for The Lovely Bones

Susie can only observe while her family cope with their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack, is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail, is desperate to create a different life for herself. And her sister, Lindsay, is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them.

The show, created under the Made in Northampton umbrella has been adapted for the stage by Bryony Lavery and directed by Melly Still.

“I liked the idea – I think there are things you can do onstage that you can’t do in any other medium,” Alice says. Although not a “theatre person”, and happy to leave the major staging decisions to playwright Bryony Lavery, who’s adapting the material, and Melly Still who directs, Sebold has been reading drafts and giving feedback.

“I was excited about it,” Sebold says over the phone from San Francisco, recalling her initial reaction when approached about the project. But part of the appeal was that couldn’t imagine quite how the story, which moves seamlessly between heaven and earth, and in which the narrator Susie has direct access to the thoughts and feelings of her friends and family, could actually be realised on stage.

Now, she can’t wait to come over to the UK see for herself how they solve the puzzle of putting The Lovely Bones on stage.

“There are all these ways where I can’t see how they’re going to do it,” Sebold laughs. “So for me, it’s going to be amazing to see: how do they have different levels, heaven and earth, and the various places that are in the novel? How do they make it real, but not too real?

“That’s one of the reasons why I think theatre can be fascinating: there are lots of imaginative recesses for the audience to fill.”

In the 10 strong ensemble alongside Charlotee is Jack Sandler playing Jack Salmon who has previouslt appeared in War Horse for the National Theatre.

Pete Ashmore, Emily Bevan, Bhawna Bhawsar, Susan Bovell, Natasha Cottriall, Keith Dunphy and Ayoola Smart will be in the cast.

The Lovely Bones is a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Company and Northern Stage, in association with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Tickets for the show are priced from £12.50 excluding booking fees.

For further information about the show or to book in advance call the box office on 01604 624811 or alternatively visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.