Once Upon a Time…

Open Book Theatre Company was founded in 2013 by Nicky Diss, Vicky Gaskin and Eleanor Cope. The company stages theatrical interpretations of classic novels in library spaces, scripted and devised from the source material, whilst reinventing the library space as a performance space. Funded by Arts Council England, our productions urge the local community to explore their library, to encourage wider reading of classic literature and to inspire a new generation of theatre-goers, specifically targeting those who have little or no access to theatre.

We have brought productions of Dracula, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, The Snow Queen and Treasure Island to thousands of people in nine different London boroughs. Here are some things people have said about our work:

“It was great use of a library… highlighting the connection between great works of literature and the vital place libraries have in our society.” – David Norman, Clandestine Critic

“Open Book Theatre Company’s production of Alice In Wonderland was a theatrical treat. Using the space and furniture in a library setting meant children felt at ease and were able to involve themselves and move around the set and feel part of the production and get close to the actors. We are asked by parents who came or by those that heard afterwards, ‘when will you be doing something similar?’ and that shows what a positive impact Open Book had on their visit to Idea Store Watney Market and the local community as a whole.” – Neal Smith, Team Leader, Idea Store Watney Market

“Open Book Theatre has mounted an excellent site-specific production… intimate and engaging… it is these events that bring people together, which demonstrate why we need to save our libraries.” – Hannah Elsy, A Younger Theatre

“The whole place was totally transformed. It acquired a really spooky feel to it, and I felt the immediate environment with the books, the wooden furniture and bannisters, chairs and tables was absolutely perfect, so I couldn’t be happier. It was the perfect marriage of setting and background, and creativity and drama.” – Rosella Black, Librarian and Events Co-ordinator, Westminster Reference Library

Excellent idea to bring live theatre to libraries and that it’s free: enabling access for all. Liked that the production was not dumbed down or overacted like kids’ theatre can sometimes be. Well done guys! – Audience member, Stratford Library

Great initiative. Hope you can keep it going. Theatre is so important for children. – Audience member, Harlesden Library

Open Book Theatre Company is a not-for-profit organisation which relies on funding and individual generosity to continue its important work. If you can help in any way please do not hesitate to contact us.

…and they lived happily ever after.

Treasure Island

ALL HANDS ON DECK! Listen here, ye scurvy landlubbers, Open Book Theatre Company will soon get you shipshape as you join us on an epic adventure featuring sea shanties, sword fights and buried treasure!

Jim Hawkins discovers a map that leads to an incredible fortune buried on a distant island. Little does he know, however, that one of the ship’s crew is the dastardly pirate Long John Silver! Will Jim make it back safely with his prize? Or will he end up swimming with the fishes in Davy Jones’ Locker?

Treasure Island took place in February 2016.

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book took place in Summer 2015.

Deep in the jungle, the future of man-cub Mowgli is battled out between the animals that love her and Shere Khan, the tiger who wants to eat her. Mowgli is adopted by wolves, learning the jungle laws through Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther, and going on adventures with the unruly monkeys. But can Mowgli truly be part of the pack, or does she belong with the humans? And can she ever overcome the threat of Shere Khan? Open Book Theatre Company brings the jungle to your library so you can be swept up on Mowgli’s exciting and daring journey!

The Wind in the Willows

“Sit still, and you shall know what driving really is, for you are in the hands of the famous, the skilful, the entirely fearless Toad!”

Join the inimitable Toad, as well as his friends Ratty, Mole and Badger, as they take you on a journey through the beautiful English countryside in Open Book’s adaptation of this classic tale! Promising fun and excitement for the whole family, Open Book will transform your local library, where the books will provide the backdrop and the audience will be fully immersed in the action. And it’s absolutely FREE!

The Wind in the Willows took place in February 2015.

Dracula

The greatest vampire story ever told

Open Book presents an immersive, site-specific production that remains true to Stoker’s terrifying masterpiece.

Dracula took place in October 2014.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Curiouser and Curiouser…

In May and June 2014, Open Book Theatre Company brought the magic and madness of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel to life in local libraries, in a fully interactive promenade performance. Audiences in Wandsworth, Greenwich, Westminster, Merton and Tower Hamlets experienced the Mad Hatter’s tea party first-hand, played croquet with the Queen of Hearts, danced with Lobsters and ran in the caucus race.

“The Promenade nature of the performance really took the audience along with the show, literally and figuratively. The adaption stayed true to the feel and text of the original story and was exuberant and fun. Every child in the audience who wanted to participate got a chance to do so which was lovely.” Heather Shepherd, Children’s librarian, Tooting Library.

“I thought the production of Alice was superbly creative. I was really impressed by how much the audience were brought into the performance and how all participants, from a 5 year old to the Mums and Dads all got involved and were engaged. The re-telling of such a complicated story in a short space of time was wonderful and the visual effects (such as Alice growing and shrinking and the frog puppet) were brilliant. I can’t recommend it enough, I’ve seen a lot of different children’s events/entertainments but this production by the Open Book theatre was really high quality and expertly thought out.” Kelly Millership, Children’s Librarian, Roehampton Library.

“Parents and children said that this was the first time they had seen a play and that they would love to see plays either in a theatre or in the Library again. We are asked by parents who came or by those that heard afterwards “when will you be doing something similiar” and that shows what a positive impact Open Book Theatre had on their visit to Idea Store Watney Market and the local community as a whole.” Neal Smith, Team leader, Idea Store Watney Market.

Our audience feedback was phenomenal and we managed to grab some on video: