The Upside Down is West End bound! Netflix will bring an official stage play inspired by its Stranger Things series to London's West End later this year. The original prequel story, titled The First Shadow and written by Stranger Things screenwriter Kate Trefry, will play the Phoenix Theatre with Stephen Daldry (The Inheritance, Billy Elliot) and Justin Martin (Prima Facie) co-directing. Dates and ticket information are to be announced.
The new tale keeps things in Hawkins, Indiana, but explores what happened before the 1980s setting of the streaming series. The year is 1959 and centers around Jim Hopper, Bob Newby, Joyce Maldonado, and the arrival of a new student, Henry Creel.
"We are beyond excited about Stranger Things: The First Shadow," say the Duffer Brothers in a statement. "Collaborating with the brilliant Stephen Daldry has been nothing short of inspiring, and Kate Trefry has written a play that is at turns surprising, scary, and heartfelt. You will meet endearing new characters, as well as very familiar ones, on a journey into the past that sets the groundwork for the future of Stranger Things. We’re dying to tell you more about the story but won't—it’s more fun to discover it for yourself. Can’t wait to see you nerds in London!"
"The world and mythology of Stranger Things has enabled a rich and fertile ground for creating an incredible story for the stage," adds producer Sonia Friedman. "The Duffer Brothers have built a huge global following for good reason, and a world-class creative team has built on their boundless imagination to dream up an unbelievably exciting theatrical event for our audiences. Set within the canon of Stranger Things, this new play opens in London, with the West End hosting the only place in the world to experience this new story—for now. I’m thrilled to reunite with my visionary long-term collaborator Stephen Daldry. Together, with our brilliant Netflix partners, we can’t wait to welcome Stranger Things fans into theatre, and theatregoers into the realm of Stranger Things."
The play will not be the first time the Netflix series has come to the stage, though it is the first official stage adaptation. Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical currently playing at Off-Broadway's Playhouse 46 through April 30. The parody work premiered with a 2018 concert at 54 Below.
The upcoming production will feature set design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Jon Clark, sound design by Paul Arditti, illusion design by Jamie Harrison and Chris Fisher, video design by 59 Productions, movement direction by Coral Messam, wigs, hair, and make-up design by Campbell Young Associates, and technical direction by Gary Beestone for Gary Beestone Associates. Casting is by Charlotte Sutton, with international casting consultancy by Jim Carnahan. Additional creative team members will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Netflix is co-producing with Sonia Friedman Productions (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), with the Stranger Things creators the Duffer Brothers serving as creative producers. 21 Laps will be associate producer.