The story so far

‘a little pool of magic. The music has variety and charm, the concept is simple and relevant.’ 

Lynne Patrick, Derbyshire Times.








It makes a fine evening: no sex, no violence, no reality.’ Andrew St George, Financial Times




 ‘The power of imagination was fully exploited by the company which presented a novel adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s enchanting tale.’ 

Darlington & Stockton Times





 ‘Casson’s witty lyrics and soaring melodies transform a simple morality fable into a poignant meditation on the nature of poverty, generosity and the illusion of theatre.’

The Big Issue




 The Happy Prince is the story of a statue prince

 and a migrating swallow who together redeem

 the poverty of a city. In our musical, it is also

 the story of how that story is told. All the

 other parts are played by a magical and

 mysterious storyteller, Chorus, and assistant,

 Pandora. Pandora craves Chorus’ power, as a

 child wants to usurp a parent, or an assistant

 surpass the master magician. Throughout the

 drama Pandora tries to take on more than she

 can cope with. And Chorus must mould her to

 his will.


 Each of the players embark on an adventure in

 undertaking their role in the play. In our

 original production they were actors seeking to

 distinguish themselves. In the 2012 anniversary

 production they are young  people seeking to

 identify themselves. Stories are how we grow

 and Chorus is the teacher with lessons still to

 learn. His pupils too are seeking purpose,

 companionship and love.

Chorus and River reed Chorus and Pandora Chorus and Swallow

Photos by David Morcom

25 years ago, Casson and Blackmore took Oscar Wilde’s well-loved tale of sacrifice, and created

Originally work-shopped at Buxton as part of their first Quest for new musicals, the show, with a cast of 4 and a small band, was developed in Bristol’s QEH theatre, and subsequently premiered at the Old Fire Station in Oxford the following spring.

Over the next year the show toured nationwide

Coming to rest at London’s Bridewell Theatre in Christmas 1994.

Since then, The Happy Prince has been presented twice in New York - at the Manhattan Theatre Club, with an English cast including Sheridan Smith, and at the York Theatre with an American cast, as part of their developmental reading series, whilst  some of the songs were recorded for BBC Radio 2’s NIGHTRIDE by Casson’s jazz trio Premier Cru,.

Andrew Bolton as Chorus with

Sue Casson as Pandora

Pandora and Chorus

Chorus with Valerie Weyland as Swallow

HP Image

A song from the cast recording of The Happy Prince, featuring John Warnaby, Mina Anwar, John Barr and

Sue Casson, which was one of the first CDs to be released on the Dress Circle label.