‘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
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.
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
A cast recording of The Happy Prince, featuring John Warnaby, Mina Anwar, John Barr and Sue Casson was one of the first CDs to be released on the Dress Circle label.