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Neil Gaiman's Ocean fantasy heading to Wolverhampton and Birmingham theatres

The critically acclaimed theatrical production of a Neil Gaiman fantasy novel is heading to the Black Country next year.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The National Theatre will tour The Ocean at the End of the Lane at theatres around the country in 2023, including the Wolverhampton Grand and Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre.

Coming direct from a successful West End run, the production runs at The Alexandra from May 23-27, 2023, and The Grand from September 26-30, 2023.

Directed by Katy Rudd and adapted by Joel Horwood, the first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work is a thrilling adventure of fantasy, myth and friendship.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Returning to his childhood home, a man finds himself standing beside the pond of the old Sussex farmhouse where he used to play.

He's transported to his 12th birthday when his remarkable friend Lettie claimed it wasn't a pond, but an ocean – a place where everything is possible.

Plunged into a magical world, their survival depends on their ability to reckon with ancient forces that threaten to destroy everything around them.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The tour follows a celebrated six-month run at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End, which opened in November 2021 after the production received its world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in late 2019.

Writer Neil Gaiman said: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about memory, magic, family. It’s about who you were and who you are.

“It’s not like anything else I’ve ever been involved in. It’s not like anything else you’ll ever see at the theatre.

“The Ocean at the End of the Lane has its own theatrical magic.

“It's why happy people tell you that they cried while watching it, it's why it becomes a dreamlike experience in memory, it gets bigger the further inside you follow it.

“Like a duck pond that contains an ocean that holds the universe.”

Director Katy Rudd said: “When Neil Gaiman gave the National Theatre his blessing to stage his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane we knew that this book was treasured across the world by Neil Gaiman’s legions of fans.

“The writer, Joel Horwood and I wanted to be faithful to the novel and at the same time create a big, bold, visual show with more than just a little bit of magic.

“Thanks to our amazing creative team we found ways to fit an ocean into a bucket, and bring huge mythical creatures like the Hunger Birds to life on stage… but at its heart, Ocean is a human story about a family and a young boy growing up, experiencing real emotion and real pain, and finding a way to get through it with the help of his friends.

“We hope we have created something that is both profound and visually exciting that will appeal, not only to regular theatre audiences, but also to younger people from the ‘Netflix generation’ who might not have been to the theatre before.

“It is a beautiful, rich, multi-faceted story and as this production goes on tour we are still adapting and evolving it and finding new meaning in its depths. That is the magic of live theatre and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences.”

Neil Gaiman is known for his graphic novels, including The Sandman series, with a major new Netflix series scheduled for release in 2022; his novels for adults and children including Stardust, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book, and multiple film and television projects including Good Omens and Anansi Boys.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was the winner of the Book of the Year at the 2013 National Book Awards and has sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Suitable for ages 12+, tickets for The Ocean at the End of the Lane are on sale for Wolverhampton now at

Tickets for Birmingham go on sale on Friday May 20 at

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