THE Thorn Birds land in the county this week when the musical adaptation opens at Malvern’s Festival Theatre.

Considered one of the greatest romantic novels of modern time, The Thorn Birds, which opened yesterday and runs for a week, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and the subsequent television series proved equally as popular. Now, with its production-royalty credentials, the stage show will impress new and old fans alike.

Artistic director Michael Bogdanov won Director of the Year with the RSC, and later spent time at the Royal National Theatre among many other top theatres, while composer Gloria Bruni is best known for composing and had performing her Requiem for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, and costume designer David Emanuel designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress.

The Thorn Birds is an heroic tale of hardship, dark and conflicting passions, secrets, lies, money, manipulation and a scandalous legacy of forbidden love. It spans the lives of three generations of the Cleary family as they struggle to survive in the rugged vastness of the Australian outback.

West End star Helen Anker will play Meggie Cleary, the role of Ralph will be played by winner of Channel 4‘s Musicality, Matthew Goodgame.