Video: Open call for young acting stars from Suffolk Coastal to fill Swallows and Amazons movie roles

IT’S a tale of childhood friendship and adventure that conjures up fond memories for generations of devotees.

And now a fresh crop of youngsters have the chance to feature in a big-screen adaptation of a Suffolk author’s most celebrated work.

Casting directors are on the lookout for children from the coast to join an upcoming production of Arthur Ransome’s children’s classic Swallows and Amazons.

The author’s five years spent living on the River Orwell influenced much of his writing and inspired two sequels in a series of 12 books revolve around outdoor activities - principally sailing.

A crew from Harbour Pictures is planning to start shooting this summer in collaboration with BBC Films. The company is also working with Dixie Chassay Casting, which has previously worked on Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Atonement and Wrath of The Titans, and is are eager to honour the book’s local connection by looking for boys and girls aged between six and 13 to fill lead roles. No previous acting experience is necessary and no specific standard of sailing required - but experience on the river is an added bonus.

Swallows and Amazons was first published in December 1930. Set in the Lake District, the book tells the story of the Walker and Blackett children, who share a series of summer adventures that weave imaginative tales of pirates and exploration into everyday life in interwar, rural England.

In the early 1930s Ransome and his wife Evgenia moved to Levington, where he completed his book Pigeon Post, a gold-prospecting story set in the Lake District and involving all eight of his principal characters from Swallows and Amazons. Despite only living in the area for a few years, Ransome set two of the later books in the series - We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea and Secret Water - around the River Orwell.

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Michael Rines, of Maritime Woodbridge, bought and restored the Nancy Blackett sailing cutter, once owned Ransome, who named the boat after a character in his Swallows and Amazons series. He said: “Ransome taught children to sail at Broke Hall Park and set two of his books on the Orwell. The characters were based on the Althounyan family who stayed with Ransome. The surviving members came to see the finished restoration of Nancy Blackett.”

To apply to be considered for the cast, email a photo, along with their age and any queries, to swallowsandamazons2013@gmail.com.

Find out more at www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk.

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