The Library Theatre Company’s Christmas show Wanted! Robin Hood, opens this week at their temporary base, The Lowry Salford. It’s a brand-new adaptation of the magical tale of the legendary hero of Sherwood Forest, suitable for everyone aged six upwards.
Children’s theatre specialist Charles Way’s adaptation will be directed by Amy Leach and designed by Hayley Grindle, who collaborated on last year’s Manchester Theatre Award-winning production of Arabian Nights.
Manchester’s Finest got the chance to catch up with one of the actors Umar Malik, a graduate of the Manchester School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University, who makes his professional stage debut in the show as Little John.
MF: Welcome back to our city Umar, are you glad to be making a return?
UM: I’m really happy that Manchester is having me back and to be performing in the Library Theatre’s production is brilliant. The Manchester School of Theatre was a brilliant training; they basically strip your acting right down and build you back up again which has given me the tools to become a better actor.
MF: Wanted! Robin Hood will be your professional debut, how does that feel?
UM: It’s a big thing for me. Hopefully this will be the first of many so I’m going to go all out with my performance. Amy is a great director to work with – she’s been very open and suggestive of what we can do and develop. So we have got a couple of surprises but you will have to come and see the show to find out what we have done.
MF: You’re not the traditional Little John we are used to-I expected a rather round, gruff old giant and you are young and trim!
UM: I’m 6 foot 2 and I’ve been hitting the gym since Feb. There’s so many different adaptations of Little John, you get the burly man, you get the rugged man, older man and I’m just thankful to be putting my own spin on the role. I was in the RAF for 5 years when I was younger so I’m using that experience and what I’ve learned in life, which hopefully will come across to the audience. I don’t think he needs to be a massive guy at all though – it’s just been portrayed that way in the past.
MF: What can we expect from this new adaption of Robin Hood?
UM: We all have a certain image of Robin Hood and we’ve seen the movies right through from Disney to Kevin Costner. There are certain guidelines you need to stick to, like the famous meeting of Little John and Robin Hood on the logs. This version though will see more music, with instruments played by the Merry Men. We are plotting modern with the medieval times so it will be totally fresh!
Wanted! Robin Hood
Dates: Friday 29 November 2013 – Saturday 11 January 2014.
Venue: The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford M50 3AZ.
Box office: 0843 208 6010.