YORK Theatre Royal takes a fresh look at another children’s classic in this summer’s family show, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows & Amazons,

Damian Cruden, in his final production after 22 years as York Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director, co-directs the production with Artistic Associate John R. Wilkinson.

“I’m looking forward to working on this script with a talented group of artists, that my last show for YTR is for families seems appropriate,” said Damian, whose past family shows for York Theatre include The Railway Children, The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan.

The story tells of the Walker and Blackett children’s adventurous school holiday in the Lake District as they set sail for adventure.

The Swallows – John, Susan, Titty and Roger – sail to Wildcat Island and meet Nancy and Peggy, the self-proclaimed Amazon Pirates, and the dastardly Captain Flint.

Ransome’s story has been adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson whose other literary adaptations include Anna Karenina, Mill On the Floss, War and Peace, Coram Boy and Therese Raquin.

The production features music by Neil Hannon, from The Divine Comedy. His original demos for Swallows & Amazons are being released for the first time on the limited edition deluxe CD of The Divine Comedy’s new album Office Politics.

The production marks a homecoming for cast member Laura Soper, a former member of YTR Youth Theatre. She trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Swallows & Amazons marks her debut at York Theatre Royal as a professional actor.

Laura said: “Being in Swallows & Amazons feels really special – it’s my first professional role at the theatre. The book is one of my absolute favourites which is one reason I am so excited to being doing it. I just love everything about it.

“I really like how it doesn’t patronise children. It gives them the time and space to tell their story and I love how Arthur Ransome takes it so seriously. For them it’s a big deal, a proper adventure however childish and silly it may seem from an adult point of view.”

Also returning to York in Swallows & Amazons are Ed Thorpe, who played in Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny and Clara Darcy,who appeared in Brassed Off in 2014

Swallows & Amazons is at the York Theatre Royal from July 26 to August 24.

For more information go to yorktheatreroyal.co.uk