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Budding actors blossom in
The Secret Garden
Theatre Royal presents latest in-house community production adapted from classic tale
The new season at our much-loved and iconic Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds includes a brand-new adaptation of The Secret Garden by Nicola Werenowska. The production is based on the original book by Francis Hodgson Burnett and marks the return of Theatre Royal’s community productions - a show created in-house, where professional actors work alongside local young people encouraging them to gain experience, confi- dence and helping them to hone their acting and performing skills.
The Secret Garden is about transformation and growth. At the beginning of the play, the characters are damaged in some way. Mary has been brought up without much love. Her parents have left her to be raised by her Ayah (a nursemaid employed by the British in India). Colin, too, has been abandoned. His father, Mr Craven, is too grief-stricken by the death of his wife to be a proper parent.
Ben Weatherstaff, the family gardener, has become bad-tempered and cantankerous from the grief and guilt he feels over Mrs Craven’s death. When we first meet them, all of these characters are closed and insular versions of themselves.
Over the course of the play, however, Mary discovers the wonders of the garden. She is overjoyed by the simple discovery of green shoots emerging from the earth. She is transformed by this discovery. The garden is a metaphor for personal growth. As we see the garden transform from “dead” branches, to buds and finally to flowers, so too we see all of these characters come to life. Mary is the driving force behind this, which is why Frances Hodgson Burnett’s protagonist has become one of the best-loved characters in fiction. She transforms those around her through her curiosity about the world. In that sense she is a bit like Lewis Carroll’s
Alice, an outsider who is able to see the world afresh and enable an audience member to experience the world through her.
This brand-new version of The Secret Garden by playwright, Nicola Werenowska, sensitively and subtly achieves a shift in the portrayal of disability. In the original 1910 story, Colin “overcomes” his disability and learns to walk. In Nicola’s adaptation, Colin’s disability isn’t seen as something to be “fixed”, he remains in his wheelchair and instead triumphs over his own grief and sadness in order to develop a joyful friendship with Mary and Dickon.
The Secret Garden is supported by Bury Town Council and brought to you by a creative team and cast who embrace diversity.
For more information and tickets
(starting from £10.80):
19 August 2022 – 3 September 2022
 Blooming marvellous adaptation of this timeless classic

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