Nicholas Nickleby is newly employed as a teacher at Dotheboys' Hall in Yorkshire thanks to his manipulative and avaricious uncle Ralph, a businessman. There he witnesses the cruel treatment of boys at the hands of despotic headmaster Wackford Squeers and his wife. In coming to the defence of one boy, Smike, Nicholas assaults Squeers. Thinking he has killed him, he escapes with Smike to London and on to Portsmouth where the pair join the Crummles Theatre Company.
Ralph uses Nicholas's sister Kate as bait further to ensnare a young and wealthy lord who is already in his debt. Learning of the abuse Kate has been exposed to, Nicholas goes to London and her aid, but even greater dangers lurk around the corner. This stunning adaptation of Charles Dickens's third novel toured the UK in 2001 and 2002 in a production by Red Shift Theatre Company.