Shropshire Star

Theatre group builds up a head of steam for Railway Children production

A community theatre group from south Shropshire borderlands is taking on what it calls its "most exciting challenge yet".

Last updated
Members of the cast in rehearsal for The Railway Children

The Regal Community Theatre group is putting on a full-scale production of the classic tale of The Railway Children on the main stage at the Regal Theatre, Tenbury Wells, in late October.

RCT has staged many productions in the Regal Theatre studio, the most recent being the sell-out run of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce in March this year.

For this renowned local group, whose members hail from Tenbury, Ludlow and the surrounding areas, this is the first opportunity to show their talent in the main auditorium of Tenbury’s beautiful art deco Regal Theatre.

They are planning on bringing to life the delightful story of The Railway Children set in the golden age of steam.

The play, written by Mike Kenny and based on the book by E Nesbit and the memorable film starring Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbins, was first performed at The National Railway Museum in York in 2008 before transferring to London’s Waterloo Station.

According to the Tenbury production’s director, Peter Hayter: "The first production of the play used a 60-tonne Sterling Single steam engine. Our budget doesn’t stretch quite that far but we do have an equally powerful prop in the imagination of the cast and the audience.

Peter Hayter, director of The Railway Children, complete with script and tunnel

"This stage version of The Railway Children is a truly uplifting piece, full of emotion, laughs and tears, with action, heroism and a spot of high farce thrown in for good measure.

"And the next steam train is never far away!"

Mr Hayter, who lives in Ludlow, was also in charge of Bedroom Farce.

He said: "The story is told by the children themselves, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis, now grown up, who recall the devastating incident that split up their happy family and how they found a friend in the railway which helped them keep alive their hope of better times.

Members of the cast in rehearsal for The Railway Children

"Those who remember the original movie will never forget the poignancy of the final scene and it’s our intention to leave audiences similarly moved."

For this production a new musical score has been specially commissioned, composed by Richard Errington, brother of cast member Jane Bull.

And the 30-strong cast and crew has been aided by the management of The Regal Theatre who have offered RCT their full support, not least by helping to build and paint the set.

The Railway Children is at The Regal Theatre, Tenbury Wells from Thursday, October 27, to Saturday, October 29. Tickets are available from the Regal Box office 01584 811442 or online at