Martin Barrass cast as Mr. Perks in Olivier Award winning THE RAILWAY CHILDREN this summer at National Railway Museum in York

The Railway Children
Martin Barrass as Mr. Perks
Photo by Anthony Robling
31 July – 5 September 2014
National Railway Museum, York

Martin Barrass, currently starring in the York Theatre Royal Pantomime Old Mother Goose, has confirmed he’ll be playing Mr Perks in the York Theatre Royal and National Railway Museum production of The Railway Children this summer when it returns home to York.

It will be the second time Barrass has played the character, originally donning Mr Perks’ cap back in 2009 when the production was brought back by popular demand after selling out and winning a Laurence Olivier Award the previous year.

The production’s popularity keeps soaring and Mike Kenny’s stage adaptation of the famous novel also opened in Kings Cross, London at the end of last year, where it has recently received critical acclaim being described as “oozing charm” by The Stage and receiving countless four and five star reviews... yes, we gave it four stars last week! It will return to its original home in July 2014 in a purpose built 1,000-seat theatre tent, complete with a railway track and platforms for a live 60-tonne steam locomotive, and the Old Gentleman’s Saloon from the original classic film. 

Barrass said of the news
I simply can’t wait to make the return trip as Mr Perks in York Theatre Royal's, The Railway Children.

A Stunningly beautiful and ground-breaking production of the E Nesbitt classic. 

I get to blow whistles, wave flags and clip tickets . . . . what more could a boy want?

Over 24,000 people saw the show in 2008 and demand for tickets was so high that the last three weeks of the show was completely sold out - meaning hundreds of people had to be turned away. This resulted in the local press receiving several letters calling for the production to be re-staged, and their calls were answered the following year when the two iconic York establishments re-staged the show. 

Damian Cruden, Artistic Director of York Theatre Royal said
Many people will already know Martin from the roles he’s played in so many productions, not only at York Theatre Royal but also at the National Theatre, Hull Truck and from his radio show. He always brings so much energy to a project and will be fantastic in the role of Mr Perks.

The Railway Children tells the story of how the comfortable lives of three Edwardian children, Bobby, Peter and Phyllis are shattered when their father is arrested on suspicion of betraying state secrets.  The children and their mother move from London to a modest cottage near a railway in the Yorkshire countryside. New friendships, adventures and terrifying dangers await. But the mystery remains – where is father, and is he ever coming back?

The Railway Children, also features one of the biggest guest stars ever to take to the stage – the Great Western Pannier Tank 5775, the steam locomotive used in the classic film, which rolls to a majestic halt in front of the audience.

The Great Western (GWR) Pannier Tank 5775 was built at Swindon in 1929 and was one of 863 built by GWR between 1929 and 1950. They were originally used as light goods and shunting engines but also for local freight and as passenger trains.
As a result of modernisation the Class 5700 was withdrawn from British Rail service between 1956 and 1966. Nineteen of these withdrawn locomotives were sold to London Transport for use on the underground where they took on the London Transport maroon livery. Ten were later preserved along with six that were rescued from scrap yards.  No 5575 served in the capital until January 1970 when it was sold to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in 1970 and appeared in The Railway Children film in the caramel livery of the fictional Great North & South Railway (GN&SR) alongside Jenny Agutter, Sally Thomsett, Gary Warreb, Dinah Sheridan and Bernard Cribbins.

The Railway Children, returned to London on 16 December, it re-opens at its original home at the National Railway Museum in York from 31 July 2015.  The production, directed once again by York Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director Damian Cruden, will be part of the theatre’s residency at the museum during its £4.1 million re-development. The theatre’s Chief Executive, Liz Wilson commented:

Part of The Railway Children’s popularity is its ability to appeal to a wide audience, as previous sell–out runs in York, Waterloo and Toronto have proved. York Theatre Royal and the National Railway Museum are delighted to be bringing the production back and the cast will be announced shortly.

Tickets are priced between £10 and £32.50 and can be bought by calling the Box Office on 01904 623568, securely online at or in person at York Theatre Royal.

Listings Information:
York Theatre Royal and National Railway Museum present
E Nesbit’s The Railway Children
Friday 31 July – Saturday 5 September 2015
Directed by Damian Cruden
Written by Mike Kenney
Tickets: £32.50 - £10
Box Office 01904 623568