Oliver! From Page to Stage

The Charles Dickens Museum presents Oliver! From Page to Stage, an exhibition in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lionel Bart’s hit musical originally opening in the West End on 30 June 1960.
The relationship between Dickens’s Oliver Twist and the stage is the subject of a new exhibition on display in the house where the original story was written, now the Charles Dickens Museum. Oliver! From Page to Stage traces the history of the world-wide popularity of the tale of the young orphan Oliver Twist, bringing together for the first time the unique collections of the Charles Dickens Museum, the Cameron Mackintosh Archive and the Lionel Bart Archive.

Visitors can see key artifacts including Dickens’s original manuscripts, costumes from the musical, stage props and a 1:25 model of the current production at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.  The exhibition is now open and will run until the Museum closes for refurbishment in 2011 in preparation for the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth in 2012.

Also on display are six oil paintings of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane by Francis Hamel Cook.    In 2008 following a commission to do two paintings for the main foyer of Wyndham’s Theatre, Francis was allowed access to sketch rehearsals for Oliver!    Capturing an ever-changing stage scene from the shadowy half-light of the auditorium was a challenge that he relished.   
Sir Cameron Mackintosh on this project:  I’m delighted that the 50th Anniversary of Lionel Bart’s Dickens of a musical “Oliver!” is being marked by this special exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum.  

Florian Schweizer, Director of the Charles Dickens Museum: “We are honoured to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Oliver! in the house where Charles Dickens created the original story over 160 years ago. This exhibition shows just how popular and important Oliver Twist has become in world culture and how theatrical adaptations have contributed to the enduring success of the novel. Dickens himself was one of the greatest stage performers of the Victorian age; this collaboration between the Museum and the Drury Lane production of Oliver! would undoubtedly have inspired Dickens. We are pleased to present this must-see exhibition which also marks the first phase of the redevelopment of the Museum for the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth in 2012.”

For more information, go visit www.dickensmuseum.com

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