His Dark Materials (play)


His Dark Materials
Written byPhilip Pullman (novel)
Nicholas Wright (play)
Date premiered20 December 2003
Place premieredOlivier Theatre
Original languageEnglish
SubjectLife and death, power and authority
Official site

His Dark Materials is a play written by British playwright Nicholas Wright, adapted from the Philip Pullman fantasy novel trilogy of the same title. The production premiered in the Royal National Theatre's Olivier Theatre, London, in 2003. Due to the complications in staging a piece containing the narrative of three books, the play was performed in two parts in alternate performances. The play is published by Nick Hern Books.


The play follows the same plot as the books – a story of the coming of age of two children, Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua, and their adventures as they wander through a series of parallel universes against a backdrop of epic events. During their quest, the pair encounter various fantasy creatures such as witches and armoured polar bears in a journey which they hope will take them to The Republic of Heaven.

There are however some substantial differences, most notably the removal of the character Dr. Mary Malone, whose role in the story is turned over to the witch Serafina Pekala. Similarly the eponymous amber spyglass of the third novel, associated with Malone, is also largely absent.


Original production

The original production was staged at the Olivier Theatre, National Theatre and ran from 20 December 2003 until 27 March 2004.[1] The production was directed by Nicholas Hytner and featured the following cast:

All other parts were played by members of the company.

The technical crew were as follows:

2004 revival

The production was revived, again at the Olivier, National Theatre, in 2004. It opened on 20 November 2004 and ran until 2 April 2005.[2] The production was again directed by Nicholas Hytner with Matt Wilde and featured the following cast:

The technical crew remained largely the same as the original production with only the following changes/additions:

  • Associate Lighting Designer – Vic Smerdon
  • Music Director – Mark Bousie

Awards and nominations

The production won two Laurence Olivier Awards in 2005 for Best Set Design for Giles Cadle and Best Lighting Design for Paule Constable.[2][3]

See also


  1. ^ "National Theatre : Productions : His Dark Materials Part I 2003/04". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b "National Theatre : Productions : His Dark Materials Part I". Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
  3. ^ Laurence Olivier Awards: Past winners | Official London Theatre Guide Archived 12 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine

External links

  • His Dark Materials (Part 1) on the National Theatre website
  • His Dark Materials (Part 2) on the National Theatre website