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Curve and Derngate co-develop Adrian Mole stage musical

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Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ has been turned into a musical, following a commission by Leicester’s Curve and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton.

The two venues asked writing team Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary to pen the musical adaptation, which was presented in a workshop format to an invited audience in London last week.

Curve chief executive Fiona Allan said the workshop was held to find a commercial producer who could help bring the production to the stage, admitting that the venues needed “financial help” to achieve this.

“We think the show is in great shape. Obviously it needs a bit more work but with where it’s got the next step really has to be the stage. We would love to find a commercial producer who can see its potential, not just for touring but for coming into London. Someone who can see its potential for a life as a big new musical,” she said.

Allan said the musical deserved a “bigger life” than just a run in Leicester.

She said: “In a way, it would be a missed opportunity just to mount it in Leicester and for it not to go anywhere else. We would like to get to a position where Curve can plan to open it and know where it is going.”

Brunger, who has penned the book and co-written the lyrics with composer Cleary, said it was difficult for new writers to get work onto the stage, because of the risk involved.

But he said that adapting a popular book made the musical a more attractive proposition for investors.

“This is the perfect marriage – it’s an iconic household-name book, teamed with unknown writers – that is how you can make the economics work. Sue is the star of this show,” he said.

Brunger and Cleary’s other credits include Jet Set Go! and The Great British Soap Opera.

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