Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage is adapted for the stage

By August 16, 2019Adaptations, News

Philip Pullman has confirmed that his prequel novel to the Dark Materials fantasy series La Belle Sauvage is set to be adapted for stage, with production happening in 2020. Bridge artistic director Nicholas Hytner will direct the show, which will be written by Bryony Lavery.

Pullman’s award-winning novels have proved popular with young people and families since the 1990s, with the first book in the His Dark Materials series Northern Lights/Golden Compass is still a global bestseller and has sold more than 17.5m copies and been translated into 40 languages.

The London Bridge Theatre will be performing the story of the His Dark Materials’ heroine Lyra Belacqua, along with her daemon Pantalaimon, when they were infants. The story explores how she arrived in Jordan College in an alternate universe Oxford, and shows how baby Lyra was saved from enemies by odd-job boy Malcolm and sheltered by a church.

Pullman described the Book of Dust trilogy as an “equel” series, rather than a prequel or sequel. La Belle Sauvage- is a prequel, while the following volume The Secret Commonwealth – to be published in October – will follow Lyra as an adult, around 10 years after His Dark Materials series ended.

Further details on the stage adaptation will be released soon.

Elaine Symons as Lyra in His Dark Materials in 2004.

Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Philip Pullman’s books have proven to be great sources for adaptation. London’s Royal National Theatre staged a two-part theatrical version of His Dark Materials in December 2003 and the same adaptation has also been staged by several other theatres in the UK.

His Dark Materials has also been adapted for radio, CD, and an unabridged audiobook narrated by the author.

A film adaptation of Northern Lights, titled The Golden Compass, was released in December 2007, and starred Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, along with Daniel Craig, and Nicole Kidman. Although it had an all-star cast no further adaptations of the series were made.

A TV adaptation of His Dark Materials is currently being produced by Bad Wolf for BBC One and HBO. 

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