The Swallow! arrives from London

Akiya Henry as Titty Walker in Swallows and Amazons
Akiya Henry as Titty Walker in Swallows and Amazons

All aboard The Swallow! Chichester Festival Theatre invites you to follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies (Tuesday-Saturday, January 17-21).

Akiya Henry plays Titty Walker in a major new stage adaptation of the children’s classic which comes to Sussex after a Christmas in London.

What it offers is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination.

Published in 1930, Swallows And Amazons was the first in a series of twelve books by Arthur Ransome (1884-1967). Set in 1929 in the Lake District, it tells of the school holiday exploits of the Walker and Blackett children and their sailing dinghies – the Swallow and the Amazon.

Imagination is at the heart of it all, not least for the audience, as Akiya explains: “We create everything out of nothing. One of the features of the book is that we get to see children using their imagination. Part and parcel of it is going on this amazing sea adventure in the Lake District. We want to create the whole of that with the imagination.

“I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a blue ribbon we use for the sea. We create beautiful moments with various objects on the stage. It’s about getting the audience to connect with that and use their imaginations to really engage with the children and their adventures.”

The show was in Bristol the Christmas before last, and Akiya is one of three original cast members who return for the revival.

“Titty is a very adventurous and out-going individual. She is a little bit of a book worm. She enjoys reading and has got a very vivid imagination. Her favourite books are Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island. She is quite brave as well. She is quite a balanced girl, I think, when you compare her to her other siblings. But Titty is also quite a risk-taker.

“I did read it as a child. I absolutely loved it to the point where I kept on harassing my father to take me sailing. It took quite a number of years, but we got around to it in the end!”

Tickets on 01243 781312.