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News release - Issued by York Theatre Royal

York Theatre Royal pantomime super-villain David Leonard takes title role in summer show Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Prepare to be entertained as never before this summer!

Rehearsals are now under way for York Theatre Royal’s summer show, a brand new retelling of the classic novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles. This wildly entertaining version will be told by a travelling troupe of lightning-fast Victorian players, with David Leonard heading up a cast of six actor-musicians who will each play a variety of different roles. David Leonard, who is a York Theatre Royal pantomime regular, was last seen playing Herman Vermin in Dick Whittington (and his meerkat) and will be playing the lead role of Sherlock Holmes.

The show, which is being created and developed during rehearsal by the cast, director Damian Cruden and dramaturg Richard Hurford will use music, shadow puppetry and the magic of theatre to tell the tale of the dreaded hound as an original and hilarious extravaganza.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Conan Doyle’s best-known Sherlock Holmes mystery stories. Set on Dartmoor, it tells the tale of the legend of the Baskerville family as they are haunted and hunted by a gigantic hound, whose appearance announces their impending death. As the latest member of the family succumbs to the curse, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr John Watson assist the heir to the estate by investigating the mystery before someone else comes to a grisly end.

Taking the story back to its original gothic Victorian roots is award-winning designer Mark Walters, who recently designed the 2015/16 pantomime Dick Whittington (and his meerkat) for York Theatre Royal at the Signal Box Theatre at the National Railway Museum. Musical Director and cast member Rob Castell will be setting the legend and tales of the hound to a brand new score to be performed and sung by the cast members David Leonard, Rachel Dawson, Joanna Holden, Ed Thorpe and Elexi Walker.

Director Damian Cruden said:
We are looking forward to creating an exciting fun-filled piece of entertainment for all ages for this year's York Theatre Royal summer production. The cast have great singing and musical skills, as well as being fantastic actors, so we are certain that this show will be engaging for all the family. An atmospheric and exciting mystery along with some surprises awaits everyone in our beautiful newly refurbished theatre space.

York Theatre Royal has a history of giving classic stories a new twist for their summer productions, such as last year’s hit show The Railway Children at the National Railway Museum and 2014’s adaptation of The Wind in the Willows. Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles will be a summer show full of entertainment and excitement, with eye-wateringly fast costume changes, live music, tongue-in-cheek humour and physical slapstick, which is intended for audiences of all ages to enjoy.

Damian Cruden added:
Can the Hound be real? Is the young Sir Henry in danger for his life? Can Watson solve the crime alone? Is Holmes really in London? Whom can Watson trust? Why doesn’t Mrs Hudson get more to say? Does the Hound eat Pedigree Chum (other brands of dog food available) or does he prefer a dry complete food Like Bakers Complete? None of these questions will be answered unless we get on with rehearsals sharpish!

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles will take place at York Theatre Royal from Friday 29 July to Saturday 27 August. Performance times are 7pm with 2.30pm matinees (see for a full performance schedule). Tickets are on sale now priced £24 - £10 (£1.50 transaction fee per booking) from the York Theatre Royal Box Office in person, by phone on 01904 623568 or securely online at


For all press, interview and photo enquiries please contact:

James Ducker
Communications Manager
T: 01904 550149 | E:

Notes for Editors:

York Theatre Royal has brought delight and fulfilment to the people of York and beyond by offering a rich and diverse programme of creative activity for 270 years. York Theatre Royal is one of the UK’s leading creative producers and presenters, constantly building on its reputation for producing high quality and ambitious theatre with highly regarded productions of new commissions, revivals at all scales and each year delivering a pantomime of international renown. The theatre serves audiences of all ages – children, youth, teenagers, adults and seniors.

York Theatre Royal reopened its doors on 22 April 2016 following a 13 month redevelopment, the first in almost 50 years. The £6million capital project has seen the theatre’s roof replaced an extended and re-modelled front of house area, a refurbished and redecorated main auditorium and major improvements to access and environmental impact. It is intended that York Theatre Royal will be a building fit for a 21st century audience that will be sustainable and able to thrive into the future.