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Mantel says RSC adaptation of novel is 'dream come true'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

By Simon Parker

  • Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is being staged by the RSC in Stratford

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Double Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel says the prospect of seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptations of her books is "a dream come true".

Ms Mantel, who lives at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon, has been working with the internationally acclaimed company at its base in Stratford. Dramatisations of both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies – about Henry VIII's ruthless adviser Thomas Cromwell – will be staged at the Swan Theatre.

The first author to win two Man Booker Prizes with consecutive novels, she said: "From the moment I started writing Wolf Hall, the characters were fighting to be off the page. They weren't corpses and they weren't ghosts, they were people who jumped back to life and I longed to give them solid form, to see them in 3D.

"When I write, I write in scenes and dialogue, so they are in fact gigantic plays and the next logical step was to take them on to the stage."

The books have been adapted in two parts by Mike Poulton and directed by Jeremy Herrin. Wolf Hall opens on December 11 and Bring Up the Bodies on Dec-ember 19, with both shows running until March 29.

"Mike Poulton is an experienced adapter and playwright," said Ms Mantel. "But I know the characters inside out, so it is my job to throw ideas at him and be guided by his experience."

A lifelong fan of the RSC, the author said she could barely contain her delight when the project to adapt her work was first mooted. "The RSC has, of course, the highest international reputation," she said. "It has the know-how, experience, knowledge and expertise to handle a project like this. For me, it is just a wonderful thing. I first made my way to Stratford by myself, not with family, not with school, as a 15-year-old and saw four plays in three days.

"It was a shaping experience, so this really is a dream come true for me to have the opportunity to see the RSC present my plays. I know it is a phrase people often use, but I don't say it lightly."

President of Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, Ms Mantel is currently working on The Mirror and the Light, the final book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.

The BBC has also announced that it will begin filming a six-part adaptation of Wolf Hall in the spring, starring Mark Rylance in the title role of Thomas Cromwell.

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