7 Jun - 29 Jun 2014 For everyone aged 6+

A Unicorn production

The Summer Book


  • Based on The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  • (translation by Thomas Teal)
  • Adapted by Jemma Kennedy
  • Directed by Douglas Rintoul
  • Set & costume design by Francesca Reidy
  • Lighting design by Tim Lutkin
  • Sound design by Helen Atkinson
  • Assistant Director Anne Stoffels
  • Starring Sara Kestelman, Sammy Foster & Amy Snudden


Set on a remote island in Finland, six year-old Sophia and her grandmother while away the summer months together, and gradually a fierce yet understated love emerges between the two – one that encompasses not just their relationship but the island itself, with its mossy rocks, windswept firs and unpredictable seas.

This year is the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson, much-loved creator of the Moomins, and this unique story captures much of the writer’s own experience.

Anyone who has ever known a grandparent or a grandchild will recognise the truths in this extraordinary description of life and love and the struggle we all face, whatever our age, to understand them.

This is a perfect summer show for grandchildren, grandparents and everyone in between.

More info

'It’s bright, pacy, funny and the just the right balance of nourishing for kids and thought-provoking for adults.' ★★★★

Time Out

'It will have resonance with anyone who has a deep bond with their own grandparent. Just beautiful.' ★★★★★

South London Press

'...a beautifully enriching play that sways between the melancholic and funny'

Curious Mum

‘Tove Jansson is a genius. This is a marvellous, beautiful, wise novel, which is also very funny’

Philip Pullman

Access performances

Click here to find out more about our access programme.

Listen to the audio introduction to The Summer Book.

Captioned performance
Saturday 28 June 2014, 14.30
Audio Described Performance
Saturday 28 June 2014, 14.30

Find out more about the show

Our free post-show Insights offer audience members the opportunity to ask questions in response to the show during an informal Q&A session with the actors and creative team. These will take place after the 2.30pm performance on Sat 21 Jun.

Stories We Tell Ourselves

By Jane Barnwell
A film installation will take place in the Unicorn foyer during the run of The Summer Book. Stories We Tell Ourselves is a playful interpretation of the familiar stories we know and love with some unexpected twists, exploring the creation of identity through the stories we tell our children.

Celebrating the 100th year of Tove Jansson 2014, see tove100.com to find out more.

Produced by special arrangement with Agency North Ltd.


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