A Song for Ella Grey

Pilot Theatre in association with Northern Stage and York Theatre Royal

“A darkly romantic tale that sings of the madness of youth, the ache of love, and the near-impossibility of grasping death”

This new production, from the Company that brought you Noughts & Crosses, is a magical retelling of the Orpheus myth, full of music, sound and storytelling.

Claire and her best friend, Ella Grey, are ordinary kids from ordinary families in an ordinary world. They and their friends fall in and out of love, play music and dance, stare at the stars, yearn for excitement, and have parties on the beautiful beaches of Northumberland. One day a stranger, a musician called Orpheus, appears on the beach, and entrances them all but particularly Ella. Where has Orpheus come from and what path will Ella follow?  A tale of modern teenagers and ancient forces, a tale told since the dawn of time and told again today.

After our success with our recent adaptations of young adult fiction for mid-scale, it is an honour to be working with David Almond and Zoe Cooper on a new version of David’s masterpiece, A Song for Ella Grey. After the huge upheaval and change of the last few years there isn’t a more apposite moment for Pilot to present this mighty story of teenage love and loss, set in the extraordinary landscapes of Northern England. As always this work will introduce audiences to thrilling new talent and open rich conversations and reflections about what it means to come of age in 2023.” Esther Richardson, Artistic Director

Age suitability: 13+

Running time: 2 Hours including interval.

Tour Dates & Tickets

Northern Stage, Newcastle

1 – 15 Feb 2024

Book Tickets

York Theatre Royal

20 – 24 Feb 2024

Book Tickets

Theatre Peckham

27 Feb – 2 March

Book Tickets

Hull Truck

5 – 9 March 2024

Book Tickets

Liverpool Playhouse

13 – 16 March 2024

Book Tickets

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

Book Tickets

Education Resources

We will be creating three accompanying education resources to support teachers and students.

RESOURCE A: English KS3 / Classical Civilisation GCSE / PSHE / Literacy

This resource will introduce students to the Orpheus myth, along with exploring the themes of David Almond’s novel. It will also outline creative exercises inspired by the story, which could be used alongside reading the novel in lessons, for whole school literacy programmes, or to support extra-curricular book clubs.

Download Resource A

RESOURCE B: Drama and Theatre Studies GCSE & A-Level / Performing Arts BTEC

Available to download from January 2024
This resource will introduce students to the characters in the performance, and key members of the creative team, including insights into rehearsals.

RESOURCE C: Drama and Theatre Studies GCSE & A-level / Performing Arts BTEC

Available to download from March 2024
Ideal for students preparing for the Live Theatre component of their exams, this resource will include filmed scene extracts from the live performance, allowing students to watch key scenes again, with accompanying analysis.


CPD for Teachers

Monday 11 March 2024: 6pm-7.30pm (Online)

In this interactive CPD session aimed at secondary Drama teachers, Pilot will advise how to use our education resources to enrich classroom learning, and how best to support students in writing about A Song for Ella Grey for the Live Theatre component of their GCSE and A level exams. The online session will look at key extracts from the production, and moments of acting and design in detail. In addition, the CPD will give practical teaching strategies for studying the performance of A Song for Ella Grey.

To complement the national touring production of A Song for Ella Grey, Pilot is producing free learning resources, which will include: synopsis and themes, practical creative exercises and activities, video interviews with creatives, photographs of the production, filmed extracts to watch again, and information about environmental sustainability.

CPD session booking


A practical creative session exploring the play, production, characters, and themes delivered by a Pilot artist. The workshop can be tailored to using A Song for Ella Grey as a creative stimulus for theatre devising, exploring issues related to the play, or to focus on aspects of the production, such as music.
All workshops are bespoke and tailored to the needs of your students, and can be scheduled pre- or post-performance at your school, college or university. To arrange a workshop, please email us directly:

For state schools

  • 2 sessions or a full day: £325 + VAT.
  • 1 session (up to 2 hours): £250 + VAT

For private schools

  • 2 sessions or a full day: £475 + VAT
  • 1 session (up to 2 hours): £400 + VAT

Cast and Creatives

  • Grace Long

    Ella Grey

  • Jonathan Iceton


  • Olivia Onyehara


  • Amonik Melaco


  • Beth Crame


Novel by David Almond

Adapted for the stage by Zoe Cooper

Directed by Esther Richardson

Casting Associate – Shannon David of Elise Casting

Designed by Verity Quinn

Sound Designer Adam McCready

Lighting Designer Chris Davey

Composer Emily Levy

Movement Director Ayesha Fazal