Coram Boy

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Coram Boy is a children's novel by Jamila Gavin. Published in 2000, it won Gavin a Whitbread Children's Book Award.[1] Three interloping stories are combined to make this story of love, friendship and betrayal. There is the story of "The Coram Man" (Otis Gardiner), and his "simpleton" son, Meshak, who roam the country, London and Gloucester in particular, finding women in desperate need of their illegitimate babies being taken away to a good home, the Coram Hospital, an actual place still available to visit today. Then, there is the story of Alexander Ashbrook, the heir to the Ashbrook manor, and his friend, Thomas Ledbury, both choir boys and the very best of friends. While Alex's father, Sir William Ashbrook, wants his eldest son, Alex, to learn the ropes of running the household and all that comes with it, Alexander wants to pursue his musical talents and work at Gloucester Cathedral as a composer and musician. This leads to conflict and a split family. The final story is of Aaron, and his friend Toby. Aaron is the illegitimate son of Alexander Ashbrook, and his cousin, Melissa, and is extremely lucky to be alive and escaped Otis's wrath, being saved by Meshak, and together fleeing to the Coram Hospital. These 3 tales are entwined to create a truly gripping, gothic drama, a must-read.

Stage adaptation[edit]

The book was adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, with music by Adrian Sutton, and played for two runs on the Olivier Stage at the National Theatre in 2005-2006 and 2006–2007,[2] also having a brief Broadway production in 2007.[3]

The play received a number of Tony Award,[4] Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award[5] nominations, and a Theatre World Award for Xanthe Elbrick in 2007.[6] Coram Boy was nominated for four Olivier Awards[7] in 2006: for Best New Play (Helen Edmundson), Best Director (Melly Still), Best Sound Design (Christopher Shutt), and Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Paul Ritter).

Coram Boy was re-staged in 2011 by Bristol Old Vic at Colston Hall, again directed by Melly Still, and featuring a cast, choir and orchestra from Bristol.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The Whitbread Book Awards past winners complete list" (PDF). Costa Book Awards. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-05-31.
  2. ^ "Coram Boy". National Theatre. 24 February 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-31.
  3. ^ Andrew Gans (2007-05-27). "Blue Boy: Coram Boy Closes on Broadway May 27". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-31.
  4. ^ "Coram Boy Awards". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on 2007-05-26. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  5. ^ "Outer Critics Circle Awards 2006-2007". Outer Critics Circle. Archived from the original on 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  6. ^ Ernio Hernandez (2007-05-22). "Fantasia Barrino and Bill Nighy Among Winners of Theatre World Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  7. ^ "Photos: The Full List of 2006 Olivier Awards". February 26, 2006. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-25.