NE Musicals York’s biggest cast heads to the wild wood for The Wind In The Willows

Lee Harris’s Mr Toad leaps in the air during a rehearsal for NE Musicals York’s The Wind In The Willows The Musical

NE Musicals York take over the Joseph Rowntree Theatre from Sunday to transform the theatre into a riverbank and wild wood for the York premiere of The Wind In The Willows The Musical.

Director Steve Tearle has created the design for the April 27 to May 1 run of the hit book adaptation by Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of Downton Abbey, with songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the Olivier award-winning lyricist-and-composer partnership.

Rehearsals are into the final week for Tearle’s staging of Kenneth Grahame’s story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and the impulsive Mr Toad, whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious bother.

NE Musicals York in an early publicity shot for their York premiere of Wind In The Willows The Musical

When his beloved home comes under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Mr Toad must attempt a daring escape, leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.

“This family musical packed with thrills, comedy and a massive heart is racing into York for the very first time with exuberant choreography by Ellie Roberts and a beautiful, exciting British score brought to life by musical director Sam Johnson,” says Steve. “Look out for the costumes: they’ve been created by NE Musicals too.”

Tearle’s largest-ever cast is led by Lee Harris as Mr Toad, Finlay Butler as Ratty, Tom Henshaw as Badger and Jack Hambleton as Mole. Sam Richardson plays Chief Weasel; Tearle himself will be Kenneth Grahame and the Magistrate.

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday matinees are on sale on 01904 501935 or at

Director Steve Tearle (centre, back, by a pillar, in a hat) watches Lee Harris, front, and company members in a rehearsal for NE Musicals’ premiere