Treasure Island has been a favourite with audiences for over 135 years - we take a look back at some of the stage and screen adaptations over the years.
Our audiences are getting ready to set sail on a rip-roaring adventure when our festive production of Treasure Island opens this December.
This classic tale of buccaneers and buried gold has been a favourite with audiences for over 135 years and in that time has seen over 50 film and TV versions and numerous stage productions.
We take a look back at some of the notable stage and screen adaptations through the years – from its first incarnation as a black and white silent movie in 1918, to Jim Henson and Walt Disney’s 1996 classic featuring the Muppets, to 2013-14’s touring stage version from Mind The Gap Theatre Company set in a supermarket.
1918 – The first of many silent film versions of the story. It was almost entirely acted by child or teenage actors. This is now a lost film, no longer known to exist in any public, private or studio archive or collection.
1934 – MGM release the very first film version featuring sound, starring Jackie Cooper as Jim Hawkins and Wallace Beery as Long John Silver.
1947 – A production was mounted at St James’ Theatre in London starring Harry Welchman “perhaps the most popular musical comedy hero on the London stage in the years between the wars” (The Times) as Long John Silver and John Clark as Jim Hawkins.
1950 – Walt Disney release their first completely live action film and this is the first screen version of Treasure Island made in colour.
1973 – Mermaid Theatre in London staged an annual production of Treasure Island starring Bernard Miles CBE as Long John Silver. Comedian Spike Milligan returned for many years to play the role of Ben Gunn and Doctor Who actor Tom Baker played the role of Long John Silver in the 1981 production.
1990 – This made-for-TV film version starred several notable British actors including Oliver Reed, Christian Bale, Christopher Lee, Julian Glove and Pete Posslethwaite.
1996 – Jim Henson Company and Walt Disney released the musical action adventure Muppet Treasure Island starring Muppets: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and Rizzo the Rat. It also featured live-action actors including Tim Curry, Billy Connolly, Jennifer Saunders and Kevin Bishop.
2013 – Mind The Gap Theatre Company, the UK’s leading theatre company working with actors with learning disabilities, embarked on a national tour of Treasure Island by Olivier award-winning writer Mike Kenny. This version with a twist was set in Flint’s supermarket.
2014 – London’s Royal National Theatre produced a new version by British dramatist Bryony Lavery – starring Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver.
2018 – The newly reopened Leicester Haymarket Theatre staged a new version adapted by writer and broadcaster Sandy Toksvig for their first Christmas show at the venue in 10 years.
2019 – The show sails in to Bolton as we present an exciting new musical version promising a fun filled family adventure bursting with music, mutiny and a talking parrot! Coming to University of Bolton Stadium from Thu 5 – Sat 28 December. Book at: bit.ly/OctagonTreasureIsland