IT’S one of the classic novels of English country life, a rural idyll that has enchanted generations of readers.
But in the 21st century the innocent world of the Wind in the Willows is more under threat from man than ever before.
That is why Kenneth Grahame’s celebrated characters have been called in for service for a major new environmental campaign – Wilder Future – by national charity The Wildlife Trusts.
And Handsworth and Hallam Theatre Company are supporting that campaign and the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust as they prepare for their next show – The Wind in the Willows!
“The more we have worked on this show, the more committed we have become to supporting the work of the Wildlife Trusts in their efforts to preserve our environment for future generations,” said Handsworth and Hallam representative Laura Langley.
“To think that families of the future might not have the chance to enjoy our countryside and rivers – the habitat of Mr Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger – is unimaginable.
“As soon as we heard about the Wildlife Trusts’ new Wilder Future campaign and the animated film based around the characters from The Wind in the Willows we knew that we wanted to give it our full support and encourage people to see it and understand the shocking damage that is being done to the world around us.”
Ian Cracknell, Advocacy Officer at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said: “We’re delighted to sponsor Handsworth and Hallam Theatre Company’s production of The Wind In The Willows, which happily coincides with The Wildlife Trusts’ own animated short film based on the story to publicise our Wilder Future campaign.
“Our Hollywood-style trailer updates Wind In The Willows to show the problems the story’s much-loved characters would now face from issues like habitat loss, development and pollution.
“As those familiar with The Wind In The Willows will know, the character ‘Ratty’ isn’t actually a rat but is in fact a water vole – a once common species in the UK which sadly have declined by 90 per cent in the last 30 years.
“Our campaign highlights the opportunity of a new Environment Bill which could create new laws to turn around the fortunes for Ratty and his friends.
“We need people to help us achieve this by contacting their MP to support our call for environmental protection in the draft Bill to be made much stronger.
“We’ll have postcards at the performances for people to write a message to their MPs and people can also watch our film, sign up to the Wilder Future campaign and contact their MP via our website at wildsheffield.com“
The new stage version of The Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the stage by Oscar-winning Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, with songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who worked on the hit West End and Broadway stage version of Mary Poppins.
The Handsworth and Hallam production of The Wind in the Willows is the South Yorkshire premiere of the acclaimed show.
Tickets for the production, which is directed and choreographed by Claire Harriott and runs at Sheffield’s Montgomery Theatre from June 19 to 22 are available by calling 07586293546 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org