NOW called NE Musicals York, the company long associated with New Earswick have attracted their biggest cast in years, 47 in total, for next month's production of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.

"Rehearsals are now in full swing," says director Steve Tearle, who is working with musical director Jess Douglas. "With a great cast and production team, this is heading to be an amazing show and it will be our most challenging, adventurous one too as we're creating two totally different worlds.

"This musical has never been staged before in York and our production will have amazing costumes for our cast in Narnia as we bring to life C S Lewis's story and Irita Kutchmy's music."

Sam Richardson, Grace Brown, Jack Hambleton and Margaux Barker will play Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, four young evacuees from war-torn London who arrive at a rambling old country house, home of the eccentric Professor Kirk (David Hartley) and his sharp-tongued housekeeper Mrs Macready (Johanna Hartley).

Behind the wardrobe door they find the strange land of Narnia where animals talk, trees can walk and a spell-casting wicked White Witch covers the landscape with snow. Can the children save the land from eternal winter (but never Christmas) and can the mighty lion Aslan rescue them whenever they fall into trouble?

Further principal roles will go to Perri Barley as the White Witch; Paul Blenkiron as the faun Mr Tumnus; Kevin Bowes and Lorraine Hodgson as Mr and Mrs Beaver; Steve Tearle as Aslan and Richard Rogers as Father Christmas.

NE Musicals York's The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe will run from November 15 to 18 at 7.30pm nightly plus a 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Tickets are on sale at £13 to £18 at or on 01904 501935.