wonder.land is a new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic Alice in Wonderland, with music by Damon Albarn and book and lyrics by Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe, Handbagged). Directed by the National Theatre’s incoming Director Rufus Norris.
Welcome to wonder.land, where you can be exactly who you want to be. Aly, 12, loves this extraordinary virtual world. Bullied at school and unhappy at home, wonder.land lets her escape from her parents, from teachers, from herself. Online, Aly becomes Alice: brave, beautiful and in control. But some of the people she meets – the weird Dum and Dee, the creepy Cheshire Cat, the terrifying Red Queen – seem strangely familiar. As hard as Aly tries to keep them apart, real life and wonder.land begin to collide in ever more curious and dangerous ways.
wonder.land is designed by Rae Smith, with projections by 59 Productions and lighting by Paule Constable, the design team behind War Horse.
Damon Albarn and Rufus Norris return to MIF after their acclaimed opera Dr Dee (MIF11, ENO 2012). Following its premiere at Manchester International Festival 2015, wonder.land will visit the NT’s Olivier Theatre in November 2015 and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 2016.
Moira Buffini: ‘’I have never written a musical before so I am in at the deep end – but with two wonderful collaborators in Damon and Rufus. It has been a real pleasure so far and to my surprise I have enjoyed writing the lyrics most of all.
“Alice offers a great challenge. Carroll’s stories and Tenniel’s drawings are hard wired into our subconscious; characters curious and bold, treading a line between dream and reality. Finding a way to reinvent these icons for the digital age has been a fascinating journey.”
Damon Albarn: ‘I’m fascinated by the idea of going down a rabbit hole, the otherworldliness and what that might mean. Alice aside, The Queen of Hearts, The Duchess, White Rabbit, Caterpillar were the most threatening characters of my childhood. I was genuinely very frightened of them as a kid, which is probably why I was interested when Alex Poots suggested a reworking.’
Alex Poots, CEO and Artistic Director, Manchester International Festival: “In Alice in Wonderland we have found something I have been looking for for some time: an inspiration that is both curiously and eccentrically English and yet has a universal currency. It is the perfect combination for this fantastic creative team and for Manchester International Festival.”