Global Creatures, Jonathan Church Productions and Chichester Festival Theatre present The Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic

A Monster Calls

Based on the novel by Patrick Ness
Inspired by an idea by Siobhan Dowd

Festival Theatre
Family Friendly
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Heartbreaking, spectacular, soaring. A monster hit


Extraordinarily moving


An exhilarating, resolutely tender imaginative feat

Sunday Times

Inventive and mightily stirring

Daily Telegraph

Patrick Ness’s piercing novel A Monster Calls is brought vividly to life in the Olivier Award-winning production by visionary director Sally Cookson.

Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved away. But now his mum is sick and not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye.

Then, one night, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.

From the critically acclaimed bestseller, A Monster Calls offers a dazzling insight into love, life and healing.

Supported by Arts Council England through a National Lottery Project Grant award.

Prologue tickets available

Cast & Creatives


Cast List

Greg Bernstein


Kaye Brown


Seamus Carey


Raffaella Covino


Ammar Duffus


Keith Gilmore


Jade Hackett


Cora Kirk


Kel Matsena


Maria Omakinwa


Luke Potter


Sarah Quist

Miss Godfrey

Paul Sockett

Mr Marl

Ewan Wardrop


Sam Wood


Creative team

Cast List

Patrick Ness


Siobhan Dowd

Original Idea

Sally Cookson


Adam Peck

Writer in the Room

Michael Vale

Set Designer

Katie Sykes

Costume Designer

Benji Bower


Dan Canham

Movement Director

Aideen Malone

Lighting Designer

Mike Beer

Sound Designer

Dick Straker

Projection Designer

Jessica Ronane CDG

Casting Director

Matt Costain


Samuel Wood

Associate Director

Abby Galvin

Associate Casting Director

Christopher Elmer-Gorry

Outreach Associate

Laura Cubitt


Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-ANNIE Ltd


Kat Edmonds

Assistant Casting Director

Bianca Ward

Costume Supervisor

Charles Hughes D'Aeth

Voice Coach




Pricing Information

Price bands for an event, organised by showing
Performance description Price Bands
Thursday 6 February£10£10£15£15£15
All other performances£10£17£20£25£28
  • Friends and Concessions Tuesday - Thursday: £2 off
  • Schools and Student Groups 10+ Monday - Thursday evenings and weekday matinees: £8.50 per ticket; one free teacher ticket with every nine paid
  • £5 Prologue Tickets available for 16-25 year olds: Log in to your account to see Prologue seats
  • All venues: Only one reduction applies per ticket, and all discounts are subject to availability and at the discretion of the Box Office.

Q&A with Patrick Ness

You wrote the book in 2011, it was turned into a movie in 2016 and the stage show opened in 2018. What was the origin of the story?

A Monster Calls has a really unusual origin for a novel in that it actually started with another writer called Siobhan Dowd. A Monster Calls was meant to be her fifth book and then very, very sadly she died before she could really make much of a beginning. She had about 1000 words and a storytelling structure. I read the materials and the ideas were so potent and so rich that I started getting ideas. That’s the gold standard for any possible novel so I thought ‘OK, let’s see where it goes’.

The play has been described as ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘extraordinarily moving’. What can the audience expect?

What I always believed and what has proved so surprisingly wonderfully true is that kids have no problem with the material. Mums and dads sometimes do because they have to put themselves in the position of the mum and that’s very sad. But the kids feel like they’ve been looked at and seen, which is what you desperately want when you’re thirteen. So it’s slightly harder for parents but bring your kids along, they’ll help you through!

What’s the show about?

A Monster Calls is about a thirteen year old boy called Conor and his mother is very ill although nobody will quite tell him exactly how ill she is but he knows because of course kids know. So he’s dealing with that and he’s dealing with bullies at school and he’s dealing with quite a cold grandma who comes to visit. And then one night, a monster comes and pounds on his window. It’s about Conor being led by this monstrous creature to an understanding of his own truth. An understanding of how complicated it is to be thirteen and to have one foot in the world of kids and one foot in the world of adults and to try and sort things out.

Content and Themes

At CFT, we want everyone to feel truly welcome and comfortable. While we try not to spoil anyone’s enjoyment by giving away ‘spoilers’ such as plot twists and narrative surprises, we also recognise that some people may find certain themes distressing. You’ll find a full synopsis below; please be aware that by reading this, the plot will be revealed.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to email us at


Thirteen year old Conor wakes from a recurring nightmare. It is 12.07am. In the morning Conor gets himself ready for school. His Mum’s latest round of chemotherapy has made her extremely weak. At school, Conor is bullied about his mum and her hair loss.

Conor wakes from another nightmare, again at 12.07am. This time the Monster emerges from the yew tree outside his window and pledges to tell Conor three stories. After that, the Monster says that Conor will tell his own story; it will be the truth, which Conor is most afraid of.

Grandma arrives to help out. She sees that Mum hasn’t been completely honest about the seriousness of her illness, and that Conor isn’t facing reality.

The Monster tells Conor his first story, illustrating that people sometimes need to lie, including to themselves. Characters, and humans, aren’t all totally bad or totally good. Most people are somewhere in between.

Mum’s treatment is not working as it should, so Conor must go and stay with Grandma whilst his mum is in hospital. His Dad flies in from America, where he lives with his new wife and child. Grandma’s house is very neat and tidy with valuable antique furniture and Conor does not feel at home there.

When Conor forces the hands of an antique clock to 12.07, the Monster appears once more. During Story Two the Monster tears down a building and Conor helps, but, to her horror, he is actually destroying Grandma’s living room. Conor visits Mum in hospital, where she has taken a turn for the worst. She is given a new drug but Dad tells Conor that he now needs to be particularly brave. Dad then returns to America and Conor is left once again feeling lonely and isolated.

The Monster’s third tale uses Conor’s frustration about feeling invisible to incite him into beating up his fellow pupil Harry, who ends up in hospital. Conor is collected from school by Grandma, who explains that Mum’s treatment is no longer working. Later that night Conor’s nightmare returns — he dreams that he is trying to prevent his mum falling off a cliff but she keeps slipping away from him. Conor admits that he just wants it all to be over but feels guilty for feeling that way. The Monster explains that the human mind is complicated and contradictory, and that Conor’s wish is simply to end the suffering and pain.

Collected by Grandma, Conor arrives at the hospital to say goodbye to his mum, shortly before 12.07am.

Behind the scenes


Age Guidance 
Ages 10+
Running Time
2 hours 20 minutes including an interval