Iím a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
Characters will leap off the page, in more ways than one, in HOME'S Christmas show. The Manchester arts centre is staging an adaptation of Cornelia Funke's best-selling fantasy novel, Inkheart, starting on Friday 4th December.
The story centres on 12-year-old Meggie, who finds that characters from her favourite books come alive. Meggie will be played by Katherine Carlton.
Some of the cast will be familiar to Manchester theatre audiences, from previous productions at HOME and the Royal Exchange. Kelly Hotten, who is based in nearby Stockport, plays Resa, Meggie's mother and narrator of the story.
Inkheart has been adapted for the stage by Stephen Sharkey and Walter Meierjohann, who also directs the play.
At an event in the ornate setting of Manchester Central Library's Reading Room, the cast gave a preview of the show.
Speaking to Weekend Notes, at the event, Walter Meierjohann said that Inkheart would appeal to children and adults alike. He commented that it combines fairytale qualities, as well as more serious themes such as what we as individual readers take from books.
Walter Meierjohann at the preview event, Manchester Central Library
He said that in a family show, the baddies need to be scary and quite funny. This was demonstrated by the two actors who performed a scene from the play, Darryl Clark and Griffin Stevens, as the comedic villains Basta and Flatnose.
Walter Meierjohann added: "Inkheart has a wonderful message of the beauty of reading and the beauty of books."
In the Adopt an Actor scheme, four year-seven classes from Wythenshawe schools will exchange handwritten letters with actors. Students will learn about the rehearsal process, take part in creative workshops and meet their 'adopted actors' after performances.
The pupils have been invited to send stories, inspired by the magic of reading, to HOME, as part of its World Duty Free Storywriting Competition. The writer of the winning entry will have the opportunity to meet Cornelia Funke.
Some pupils from one of the schools, Manchester Enterprise Academy, were at the preview event dressed as their favourite characters from books.
Cornelia Funke says: "I can't thank HOME enough for bringing Inkheart to the stage. What a wonderful reason to come to Manchester."
She will be the special guest of HOME'S BIG Family Day on Sunday 13 December.
Inkheart is suitable for everyone aged eight plus.