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Swallows and Amazons

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Written by Arthur Ransome
Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson
With songs by Neil Hannon
Directed by Tom Morris
Revival directed by Pieter Lawman
A Bristol Old Vic production

This Christmas, our much-loved family musical returns after taking Bristol by storm in 2010, a highly-acclaimed national tour and a season in London's West End.

Swallows and Amazons is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination. Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure packed full of piracy, adventure and fun!

From a creative team including Artistic Director Tom Morris (War Horse, A Midsummer Night's Dream), writer Helen Edmundson (Coram Boy) and with music by Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Bristol Old Vic presents another unforgettable Christmas treat.

everything that great theatre should be, celebrating the wonder of childhood imagination and the joy of play"

Bristol 24/7

absolutely superb"

Bristol Post

warm-hearted, affectionate and fun...a breezy, shipshape and Bristol-fashion delight"

The Daily Telegraph

a triumph"

 The Observer

hugely entertaining"

The Stage

allows the audience to enter the same imaginative conspiracy as the children"

The Guardian

fabulous...a perfect festive treat"


a dazzling display of theatrical ingenuity"

Stage Talk

astonishingly good"

Gloucestershire Gazette

a fun-filled family adventure"


What Our Audiences Thought

Rehearsal recordings

Mutiny at Brunel's ss Great Britain

The Swallow sailors and Amazon pirates staged a mutiny Brunel's ss Great Britain on Saturday 6 Dec - Bristol Harbour hasn't seen such fearsome piracy for years! View all the pictures here.

School choir competition

Taking inspiration from the Swallows and Amazons' love of the sea and sailing, we asked all Bristol school choirs; primary and secondary, big and small, to send in a recording of any song that takes its inspiration from a life on the open waves!

The winner was chosen by The Divine Comedy lead singer and Swallows and Amazons composer, Neil Hannon (pictured above, photo by Chris Cooper).

Thanks so much for all your entries, the competition is now closed.

Click here to read more and to listen to the winning entry!

Sea Cadets put Bristol Old Vic cast through their paces

The stars of our hit family show had to find their sea legs during a training session with The South West Area Sea Cadets. Read more here.
Photos by Duncan Smith


We asked you to come up with your most belly shivering pirate jokes for the chance to win a private box to our Christmas musical Swallows and Amazons. Here are some of our favourites.

Swallows and Amazons

27 Nov 2014-17 Jan 2015
Performance Schedule
Running time
150mins inc. interval
(plus booking fee)

Watch the show from your own, exclusive private box! Click here for more information.

Signed performance Sat 20 Dec, 2pm
Audio described performance Sat 10 Jan, 2pm
Captioned performance Sat 17 Jan, 2pm

Click here to download the Swallows and Amazons resources and education pack.

Cast information

Featuring Stuart McLoughlin who played John in the original 2010 production and has since been seen treading the Bristol Old Vic boards in 2012's Christmas hit, Peter Pan, the cast also includes Neal Craig (Swallows and Amazons, national and West End tour, 2012), Saskia Portway (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coram Boy), Zara Ramm (World Cup Final 1966, Treasure Island), Brian Hargreaves (World Cup Final 1966) and Dominic Gerrard (Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall), plus Tom Bennett (PhoneShop), Evelyn Miller, Jennifer Higham, Tarek Merchant and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduates and 2014 O'Toole Prize winners, Bethan Nash and Millie Corser.

Production photographs by Simon Annand, rehearsal photographs by Chris Cooper

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