The Railway Children to feature new theatre and one really cool train

The Railway Children to feature new theatre and one really cool train

A sweet model of the new Roundhouse Theatre (Image: Mirvish Productions)

A Toronto play is giving the Broadway production of Spiderman a run for its money for its inventive, site-specific set design: The Railway Children, opening May 3, will be held in the brand new Roundhouse Theatre, a 1,000-seat venue being built specifically for this production that will sit adjacent to the historic Roundhouse Park downtown. And if a state-of-the-art, site-specific, custom-built theatre isn’t enough, the play also incorporates a pretty impressive piece of machinery into the mix: a vintage 60-tonne steam train.

The Railway Children is a theatrical adaptation of the novel by Edit Nesbit about three children, reduced to poverty after their father is unjustly imprisoned, who live in a cottage beside the railroad tracks and take part in a series of adventures. The Toronto production marks the North American debut of the show after a successful run in the U.K., first in the National Railway Museum in York in 2008 and then in London’s former Eurostar Terminal at Waterloo Station in 2010.

Roundhouse Park is home to the Toronto Railway Historical Association, making the site and production a perfect match. Director Damian Cruden told the Toronto Star:

We’re always looking now for a broader sense of theatre, using what you’ve got in your community both as a stimulus and as a setting. The Roundhouse is a natural environment for this show. As you walk along the corridor from the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre) to the railway station, you can look at the density of rail that used to be in that area and truly understand that Toronto was built on its railways, along with its breweries and distilleries.

We’re just hoping the new production doesn’t also rival Spiderman’s safety record.

• Toronto gets hit The Railway Children and new theatre venue [Toronto Star]