2017 novel La Belle Sauvage is the first in the Book of Dust trilogy, which sheds new light on the mysterious forces and strange creatures of Pullman's hugely popular series, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
The first book in the new trilogy is a prequel, with Lyra as a babbling baby who must be saved by extreme floods and escorted from Oxford to London. Her saviours are a thoughtful boy called Malcolm and a no-nonsense kitchen maid called Alice, who scoop up the baby and sail away on a canoe named La Belle Sauvage. The second book,The Secret Commonwealth (due out in October 2019) will skip forward to show Lyra as an undergraduate travelling the world in search of a haunted desert city.
Playwright Bryony Lavery will adapt the story for the stage, having proved her skills bringing books to life with adaptations of A Christmas Carol (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Treasure Island (National Theatre). And director Nicholas Hytner has proven prowess with the fantasy world of Philip Pullman. The 2003 two-part stage version of His Dark Materials was a triumph, which still shines bright in the memory of those who saw it and regularly tops lists of the best plays to grace the National Theatre stage.
So it is certainly a coup for Hytner to secure La Belle Sauvage for his new Bridge Theatre, and there's no doubt a starry cast will follow (the His Dark Materials stage adaptation featured Ben Whishaw, Patricia Hodge, Timothy Dalton and Dominic Cooper).
With the upcoming publication of the second Book of Dust book and the imminent BBC adaptation of Pullman's original trilogy, readers and audiences are more invested in Lyra's fate than ever. So La Belle Sauvage on stage is already set to be a 2020 theatre highlight.
Booking dates and run details for La Belle Sauvage at Bridge Theatre are still to be announced. Watch this space for updates.
|What||La Belle Sauvage, Bridge Theatre|
|Where||Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park, London, SE1 2SG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|