The Grand Theatre announces the North American Premiere of Room

By EMMA DONOGHUE, based on her novel
Music & Lyrics by Cora Bissett and Kathryn Joseph
Directed by Cora Bissett
A co-production with Mirvish Productions and Covent Garden Productions

PREMIERING 2019/20 season

LONDON, ONTARIO, FEBRUARY 6, 2019 –  The Grand Theatre is thrilled to announce the North American  premiere of ROOM, based on the award-winning novel by Emma Donoghue, in a first-time collaboration with Mirvish Productions and the UK's Covent Garden Productions. ROOM premieres on the Spriet Stage from March 10-28, 2020, as part of the Grand's 2019/20 season and the COMPASS New Play Development Program. We gratefully acknowledge Season Sponsor BMO, and Title Sponsor McCormick Canada.

Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel ROOM has now been adapted as a new play with songs by Scottish songwriter Kathryn Joseph and Cora Bissett.  With a cast of seven including Little Jack who is shadowed by narrator, Big Jack, ROOM explores the power of the imagination and a mother’s love.  Previously adapted by Donoghue for the screen, the film won Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs.

Kidnapped as a teenage girl, Ma has been locked inside a purpose-built room in her captor’s garden for seven years.  Her five-year-old son, Jack, has no concept of the world outside and happily exists inside Room with the help of Ma’s games and vivid imagination where objects like Rug, Lamp, and TV are his only friends.  But for Ma the time has come to escape and face their biggest challenge to date: the world outside Room.

Ms. Donoghue, who moved to London, Ontario in 1998 with her family, wrote and published her haunting novel Room while living and working in the city. Her work was officially published in 2010, was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes, and adapted to the screen in 2015.

“I couldn’t be happier that my home city’s own Grand Theatre is going to be the launch pad for the theatre version of ROOM in North America,” said Ms. Donoghue, who penned the haunting story at various London, Ontario public gathering spots. “I know Dennis Garnhum and the whole Grand team will do an extraordinary job of further developing the show through their COMPASS workshop process.  By March 2020 we should end up with an extraordinary, all-Canadian-cast for ROOM that we can all be very proud of.”

The production will be workshopped in London, Ontario in a first-time collaboration between the UK and Canadian creative teams as part of the COMPASS New Play Development Program.  COMPASS, launched during Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum’s inaugural season with the Grand, is dedicated to creating and premiering new work on the Grand’s Spriet and McManus stages.

“This new production of ROOM celebrates our mission at the Grand Theatre:  World Curious and London Proud.  We will be partnering with two companies of distinction, Covent Garden Productions in London, England, and Mirvish Productions in Toronto,” said Dennis Garnhum.  “We are creating this production with an innovative international collaboration, and of course, London, Ontario’s own renowned Emma Donoghue. I am certain that the North American premiere of ROOM, which will begin life at the Grand Theatre, will have a very bright future.”

Following the Grand Theatre North American premiere, ROOM travels to the CAA Theatre as part of the Off-Mirvish 2019/20 season, for an April 2020 engagement.  The world premiere of ROOM (May-July 2017), was co-produced by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Abbey Theatre Dublin.  
ROOM will available on subscription only beginning Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

COMPASS New Play Development Program

COMPASS, launched in 2017, is dedicated to creating and premiering new work on the Grand’s Spriet and McManus stages. We are world curious and London proud and this program reflects our belief that in order to be a relevant theatre company, we must develop and premiere our stories on our stages. The Grand will commission, write, produce, and premiere original plays that are relevant to our city, our province, and our country. And while these homegrown plays will begin here, our stories will be shared with theatres and stages around the world.  COMPASS is dedicated to igniting imaginations by bringing a modern, unconventional, and brand new sense of theatre engagement to London.

For more information:
Ashley Roberts, Communications Consultant, Grand Theatre
aroberts [at] (aroberts[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
Cell: 937-554-1894


Emma Donoghue

Born in Dublin in 1969, Ms. Donoghue is an award-winning writer, living in Canada with her family.

Ms. Donoghue’s second book for younger readers, The Lotterys More or Less, illustrated by Caroline Hadilaksono (released in 2018), is a sequel to the Lotterys Plus One, which was described by the New York Times as 'delightful ... Warm and funny' and made the best-of-the-year lists of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and The Irish Times.

Her most recent novel for adults, The Wonder, about a 'fasting girl' in 1850s Ireland, was shortlisted for Ireland's Kerry Group Novel of the Year as well as Canada’s Giller Prize, and she is currently adapting this novel for the screen.

Ms. Donoghue’s first feature film, Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was nominated for four academy awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actress (won by star Brie Larson). An adaptation from her novel Room, this novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and has sold over two million copies. She is currently adapting her novel Frog Music, a literary mystery inspired by a murder in 1870s San Francisco, into a feature film for Monumental Pictures.

Her other books include historical novels The Sealed Letter, Life Mask, Slammerkin, and contemporary works Landing, Hood and Stir-fry; short-story collections Astray, Three and a Half Deaths (UK ebook), Touchy Subjects, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, and Kissing the Witch, and literary history including Inseparable, We Are Michael Field, and Passions Between Women, as well as two anthologies that span the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.