Tom's Midnight Garden Adapted for the stage by David Wood. From the book by Philippa Pearce.
The play was first presented by Unicorn Theatre at the Pleasance Theatre, London in 2000. The following year, the production toured the UK and played at the New Victory Theatre, New York, USA.
For Christmas 2002/3, Manchester Library Theatre presented the play, and the Questors Theatre, Ealing, presented the amateur premiere.
The Unicorn production won The Equity Award for Best Show for Children and Young People in the 2001 Theatre Management Association Awards.
This play is an adaptation of Philippa Pearce’s 1950s classic boy’s nightly voyage to a Victorian past. Quarantined in his Aunt’s and Uncle’s stuffy flat because his brother has measles, Tom is restless and bored.
Intrigued by a Grandfather clock, religiously wound by the elderly owner of the house, Mrs. Bartholomew, Tom is startled one night to hear the clock strike thirteen! Slipping out of bed he goes to what in his time is a concrete backyard, only to discover a beautiful Victorian garden of the 1880s.
He meets the unhappy orphan, Hatty, who initially is the only person who can see him, and he visits her each night at the same hour, writing enthusiastically to his brother, Peter, about his adventures. But although Tom stays the same exuberant 10-year-old, Hatty grows into a young woman during these visits. Before the story can reach its outcome, Tom has to return to his parents, but the truth is revealed in a touching denouement.
David Wood writes : I was thrilled that Philippa Pearce entrusted me with the task of bringing her brilliant book to the stage for the first time. Tony Graham directed a truly splendid production for Unicorn, which was as well received in New York as it was in London and all over the UK. With doubling, the original production used eight actors. It would be possible to use more.
“Capturing the essence of one of the best children’s stories ever written, the Unicorn … has created a dream of a production. This haunting adaptation by dramatist David Wood accords Philippa Pearce’s timeless classic the respect it deserves …”
“A magnificent gateway for the imagination… many’s the time we hear a claim made for a children’s show that it will wow grown-ups as much as its target audience, but how rare is the beast that lives up to that boast … one of the most theatrically thrilling productions I’ve seen in the past year …”
“Perfect example of an adaptation (by David Wood) re-imaging a text…”
“This is the children’s novel closest to my heart, and my relief and joy at how it has been shaped for the stage can hardly be exaggerated … truly a show to watch with delight and remember in gratitude.”
“…an enchanting piece of theatre … in the hands of our national treasure of a children’s playwright, David Wood, the play is a voyage of even greater joy.”
“Fans of the endlessly intriguing puzzle that is time travel can list a new destination … the New Victory Theatre, where TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN mingles past and present to touching effect in an award-winning play based on a prize-winning novel.”
New York Times
The play is published by Samuel French Ltd First Class Professional & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Repertory Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd.