DICKENSIAN classic Great Expectations is the next play to grace the stage at Keighley Playhouse.

The theatre company will present a new stage version of the Charles Dickens novel, a firm favourite for more than a century.

Keighley Playhouse spokesman Hannah Williams said: “Great Expectations is considered a “coming of age” novel and is narrated by the lead character.

She said: “The story is about an abused orphan named Pip, his journey from poor orphan to possible power and wealth, the friends he gains and loses, and his eventual humbling.

“As the play opens, Pip lives with his sister and her husband in Kent, England. After an episode in-volving escaped convicts, Pip is sent on daily visits to the estate of the wealthy Miss Havisham to en-tertain her adopted daughter Estella.

“Pip is then informed he is to be apprenticed to the blacksmith Joe, his sister’s husband.

“After viewing Miss Havisham’s wealthy world, he does not wish to become a blacksmith, sets his heart on becoming a gentleman and falls in love with Estella, who has been brought up to be cruel and heartless towards men.

“Is Pip only destined to be a blacksmith? Will he ever succeed in gaining Estella’s love? Who left Pip his fortune? What became of the convicts Pip encountered when he was younger?”

Charles Dickens wrote and published Great Expectations in 1860-1861, and the Keighley Playhouse production is an adaptation written by Tim Baker in 2009.

Hannah said: “The story has been striped to the bare elements, mirrored by the staging that director Geoff Whitley has opted for.

“A notable element Baker introduced along with composer Dyfan Jones was song. Many of the speeches have been written to music, sometimes with the whole cast joining in, yet it is not a musi-cal.

“Geoff Whitley has decided to stick with the spoken dialogue Dickens had intended rather than sing-ing.”

Great Expectations runs from December 10 to 15. Call 07599 890769 to book tickets.

Keighley Playhouse will host a Christmas shopping fair at their Devonshire Street theatre, on Saturday December 8 from 2pm to 6pm. Admission £3 including mince pie and mulled wine.

Everyone is welcome to a New Year’s Eve party at the theatre, starting at 8pm, on the theme of a Hollywood party. Take supper to share. Admission is £5 adults and £2.50 for children.