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Previous Guestbook Entries
2005 - 2011

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As a result of this guestbook, over the last couple of years, I have been lucky enough to receive messages from all over the world. 

This has brightened up my life no end! 

When what is often a fairly hard grind at the desk turns into something that gives people pleasure performing and watching, the process doesn’t seem quite as lonely.

There are 401 guestbook entries in 17 pages and you are on page number 4
pages>> 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17

Comments by Rachel Introna

 

 


Hi David,
Thanks so much for your speedy reply! I have a few questions for you and it would be great if you had the time to answer them, or as many as you can. They are all for study purposes and to further my understanding of children’s theatre, as I am about to begin my career path.
1. When did you first realise you wanted to be involved in theatre for children?
2. What were some of the first steps you took to pursue this?
3. In your opinion, what is the purpose of children’s theatre as it’s own art form?
4. What are some of the challenges faced when creating children’s theatre?
5. In your opinion, what gives you the most joy as a children’s dramatist?
6. Do you still believe that children’s theatre is the ‘Cinderella’ of the theatre arts, and do you think it is changing?
7. You have a very impressive biography – do you have any favourite moments?
8. My goal is to be involved in directing or producing new and exciting theatre for young people. Do you have any advice on how to enter the industry as a graduate?
9. In your opinion, what makes a good theatre director?
10. Do you think a Diploma of Education would assist me in my endeavours, or would it be of more advantage to begin working in the industry as soon as possible? Why/why not.
11. What have been some of the most rewarding experiences, in terms of learning, throughout your career?
12. Who has inspired you?
13. Do you have any advice for me as an aspiring children’s theatre practitioner?
Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to reading your responses.



Dear Rachel,


Many of the questions that you ask are answered in various articles and biographical notes already written up on the website. So don't expect these answers to be too expansive!


1. When did you first realise you wanted to be involved in theatre for children?


By my early teens I was performing magic at children's parties. I was also acting in plays. By the time I turned professional, acting and writing for adults, I was ready, I suppose, to try my hand at writing a play for children. But I might not have done this unless I was asked to write the Christmas play for the Swan Theatre, Worcester, in 1967. The following year, my second attempt, THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE ... played there, and I watched many performances from the back of the auditorium. It was the thrilling audience response to this play that truly excited me and made me determined to take the play further - it played in London the following Christmas - and to write more plays for children.


2. What were some of the first steps you took to pursue this?


Having persuaded two colleagues to help me produce THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE ... in London, and having directed it as well, I was delighted and encouraged by the response of the critics, as well as the box office success, which enabled us to repeat the production the following Christmas, and several times later on. Meanwhile my adult acting career continued. But I wrote at least one children's play a year, commissioned by John Hole at the Swan Theatre, Worcester, to whom I owe a great deal. He eventually commissioned 13 plays from me, which was an enormous encouragement to keep at it! The reason I directed the play was that we couldn't really afford to pay a director, and the two directors we showed it to, turned it down. I thoroughly enjoyed directing it, and have continued to direct many of my plays over the last 40 years.


3. In your opinion, what is the purpose of children's theatre as it's own art form?


Children have as much right to theatre as adults. I believe they need their own theatre, just as they get their own children's books. Theatre triggers a child's imagination. It makes him or her think, laugh or cry, it can be entertaining as well as instructive. These days a child spends a lot of time in front of a screen. The communal nature of theatre is liberating, exciting and empowering. Theatre can encourage role play, discussion, written responses, paintings and drawings, and an interest in story. Not only that, it can be fun!


4. What are some of the challenges faced when creating children's theatre?


I deal with this at great length in my book, THEATRE FOR CHILDREN, published by Faber. I think you have a copy! Please refer to it.


5. In your opinion, what gives you the most joy as a children's dramatist?


Standing at the back of an auditorium full of children totally engaged in something I have written, listening, participating, gasping, laughing and having a great time, displaying no cynicism, boredom or restlessness (N.B. This doesn't happen every time!).


6. Do you still believe that children's theatre is the 'Cinderella' of the theatre arts, and do you think it is changing?


It is still undervalued by the public and by the theatre profession. Working for children is still regarded as somewhat second division. There is still not enough funding. But things are considerably better than when I started. More practitioners want to do it. They see it as a career, rather than a rung on the ladder towards 'real' (adult) theatre. And theatres welcome it more readily, and the funding bodies respond a little more favourably towards it as a genre. But there is still some way to go!


7. You have a very impressive biography – do you have any favourite moments?


Watching a packed Old Vic audience of children of many different cultures reacting enthusiastically to THE GINGERBREAD MAN in 1977. Working on my first Roald Dahl adaptation - THE BFG - was very exciting, too. And I remember one wonderful performance (in fact the very first) of SAVE THE HUMAN at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge. A huge audience really enjoyed it, and I thought the play would have a great future. Sadly, we never got anywhere near as big an audience again, and the play has seldom been seen since.


8. My goal is to be involved in directing or producing new and exciting theatre for young people. Do you have any advice on how to enter the industry as a graduate?


I talk about this in my book. There is no accepted career path in the theatre, let along children's theatre. You have to make your own way. You need to find out about all the current practitioners and the companies that are doing work you admire. Try to get to know people. Write lots of letters and e-mails. Ask to do work experience. Failing that, do what I did and plunge in at the deep end. Yes, I was lucky, in that I was commissioned to write my first play. But subsequently I had to form my own company. If nobody else will employ you, employ yourself. Do a small-scale play at festivals. Try to make a mark!


9. In your opinion, what makes a good theatre director?


That is an impossible question to answer. You could say that a good theatre director makes good theatre. But a good theatre director certainly doesn't always make good theatre! If we all knew exactly what we were doing and what would work with our audience, we probably wouldn't do it, because the challenge wouldn't be great enough. Obviously a theatre director needs to work well with people, actors and all the technical team. He or she needs to understand how actors work, and how the theatre in general works. And it is a good idea to understand what you think the play is about!


10. Do you think a Diploma of Education would assist me in my endeavours, or would it be of more advantage to begin working in the industry as soon as possible? Why/why not.


If you see yourself as a teacher rather than as a theatre practitioner, get your Diploma. If you think a Teaching Diploma will help you understand how children's minds work, go for it. But a paper qualification is not necessarily going to get you work as a director. Having said that, a degree is never a waste of time, so probably this Diploma would be useful, too. But don't expect it to get you work in professional theatre!


11. What have been some of the most rewarding experiences, in terms of learning, throughout your career?


I don't really understand the question. Everything I have been lucky enough to do in children's theatre has been instinctive. I learnt by doing it. I have never had a lesson in directing, writing, acting or producing, or even composing music. And I do all of these things. I consider myself very fortunate. And I don't honestly believe that training in any of these skills would have automatically improved what I do. Having said that, it might have made a huge positive difference! But, to be honest, the academic approach to children's theatre rather worries me. I believe you learn far more by doing it than by talking about it.


12. Who has inspired you?


Everybody I have worked with, in their own way. But I don't have heroes or mentors, except for the late Frank Whitbourn, who led a drama course I attended when I was 14, and who read the first drafts of most of my plays. His comments were always much appreciated.


13. Do you have any advice for me as an aspiring children's theatre practitioner?


If you really want to do it, do it!

All good wishes.

David


 

Australia

 


Comments by Rachel Introna

 

 


Dear David,
My name is Rachel Introna and i am currently in my final year at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia studying 'BA Communications (theatre/media)'.
My interest and passion currently lies in theatre for young people and i am in the process of co-directing a touring children's show. You have been a great inspiration to our entire company and i would love the opportunity to ask you a few questions you at some point in the near future via e-mail.
Thank you for your time and i hope to hear from you,
Regards, Rachel.

Dear Rachel,

Thanks for your message.
Very pleased to hear that my book has been useful! And good luck with your touring production. It is good to hear that children's theatre is getting a fair amount of attention in Oz!

Please send your questions via the website and I will do my best to answer them by email.

Best wishes, David.

 

Australia

 


Comments by Claire Sweeney

 

 


I am doing The Tiger who came to Tea as a literacy topic with Year 1 and have found the trailer of your show. Is there a DVD available yet or any future plans for one? Thanks.
Dear Claire,

Thanks for your message. Delighted to hear that you are working on THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA.

I'm afraid that there is no DVD available of the production. However, we are hoping that there might be a CD next year, because there are plans to do the stage production again.

You probably know that there is an audio version of the book, which is quite fun. But this is nothing to do with my stage adaptation.

Many thanks for your interest.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Lucy Adams

 

 


Hello there David, Iam a recent graduate from Masters performing arts college in Essex and have seen on 'casting call pro' you are advertising for the cast of "The Plotters of the Cabbage Patch Corner". Do you have to apply in advance? or can I just attend on the day. I would love this opputunity to work for you and your company,as I have heard nothing but good things. If you would like me to send a c.v and headshot through, if you have an email account I would be willing to do so. Look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks,
Lucy.
Dear Lucy,
Thanks for your message. I'm afraid I am not personally involved in this PLOTTERS production. You need to contact Brentwood Theatre for more details. I hope you have a chance to audition. Good luck if you do!
All good wishes,
David.

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Harriet Mcgregor

 

 


To David Wood,
My name is Harriet and I am currently completing my second and final year of the International Baccalaureate in a school in Sydney.
For one of my main and final assignments in drama I have chosen to research the question:
'How would an actor playing the White Witch employ movement and gesture in a children’s theatre production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ to convey the character of the villain?'
I know that you probably don’t have experience with the specific production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ however, with such a great knowledge of children’s theatre I was wondering if you had any advice as to how an actor would approach the role physically for a production aimed at children – with special consideration of the fact that they are the villain. Otherwise any resources (other than your book Theatre for Children which has been a great help) which could be relevant for my research would really be appreciated.
Please let me know as soon as you can.
Thank you so much,
Harriet

Dear Harriet,

It seems to me that an actress playing any witch must decide what sort of witch she is. Sometimes in workshops I ask drama students to improvise a witch in such a way that a child would know instantly what they were. I sometimes suggest they do this vocally, so that a child listening to the radio would know within seconds it was a witch.

But a stereo typical witch is something you rarely come across in more modern stories. Roald Dahl suggests that witches fool people by looking like ordinary women! C.F. Lewis's witch is very different too. I would suggest that an actress should read the book - or the play - and glean clues from the descriptions given. Is she elegant? Is she imperious? How formally does she talk? Would this give here a regal nature? In other words, I would tell the actress not to think 'villain' too much, rather to get ideas straights from the characterisation in the book. The fact the play is for children should make little difference to the research needed.

All good luck with your assignment.

Best wishes.

David

 

Australia

 


Comments by Steve Broyles

 

 


Hello, David. My name is Steve Broyles and I'm the Artistic Director of theatre at Wesleyan School www.wesleyanschool.org in Norcross, GA (Atlanta). Our middle school theatre program will produce James and the Giant Peach in November. I am writing to ask permission to video tape the production in order to provide the cast and crew a memento of all their hard work. This is NOT for the general public and the charge would simply cover the cost of editing and duplicating the DVDs. I very much appreciate your considering this request.
Dear Steve,

Thanks for your message. First, I am delighted that you are producing JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH in November. Every good wish for a happy and successful production.

You ask if I can give you permission to video the production. Unfortunately, I am not in the position to grant this request, which should be put to Samuel French.

Personally I have no particular objection, but there are all sorts of copyright issues that Samuel French will know about, and will advise you on.

I will forward your message, and my reply, to Kenneth Dingledine in the New York office of Samuel French, and ask him to come back to you as soon as possible.

All good wishes.

David

 

United States

 


Comments by Christopher Carr

 

 


Hi David, you say in one of you articles that the best way to grasp the art of childrens performance is by doing it. I couldn't agree more, but right now, as a student attempting to forge a path in the world of children's theatre i have no clue where to start.
I really find your work fasinating, and from just reading you articles find your passion inspiring. A point in the right direction would be hugehly appreciated.
As director, what do you look for in an actor auditioning for one of your plays? Apologies for the broadness of this question, but i do genuinely find childrens theatre fasinating and would, one day, like to make a succesful career out of perfromance.
My thanks,
Chris Carr
Dear Chris,

Thanks for your message.

There is a chapter about acting in children's theatre in my book, THEATRE FOR CHILDREN (Faber). Maybe you have already read this, but there is very little I can add to what I say there.

You really need to find out as much as you can about all the children's theatre companies in the UK, and apply to the ones you like the sound of for an audition.

There is a very useful book called A GUIDE TO UK THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES, edited by Paul Harman, and published by Aurora Metro Press. The ISBN number is 978-19065820-9-8. Look it up on the www.aurorametro.com website. This has a very useful list of companies, plus other useful advice.

Many children's theatre companies will be looking for physical theatre skills and maybe puppetry skills, as well as acting skills. It will be useful if you can do a bit of singing and dancing too.

One of the things I always look for is an open, uncynical attitude to the audition, and to life in general!

I wish you well for the future. Believe me when I say that, to begin with, you must do all the running, and not to expect anything to fall into your lap! Keep bashing on doors, and one will open.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Anna Duff

 

 


Dear Mr Wood
I really enjoyed your speech at the Study School Speech Day today - you are very funny and speeches are normally boring, but yours wasn't.
from Anna
Dear Anna,

Thank you for your kind message. It is very rewarding to know that my speech went down well! I enjoyed coming to your school and giving away the prizes. Not sure if you got one!

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Charles Hargrave

 

 


Hello David. I am a student at Cleveland State University, in the theatre department. In the fall, we will be doing a production of James and the Giant Peach. I am very excited for it and was just hoping you could give me a little insight on your version of this great story. Also, I have not recieved my copy in the mail yet and was wondering, is this version a musical? Thank you very much, and I anxiously await your response!
-Charles
Dear Charles,

Thanks for your message. Very pleased to hear that you will be doing JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. My version has become increasingly popular in the United States, I'm happy to say!

It is not a musical, in that there are no specially-written lyrics and music. However, Dahl uses several rhymes in the story, which I have incorporated, with the suggestion that every production can interpret in any way it likes. Sometimes the rhymes are set to music, other times the rhymes are spoken, or even performed as a kind of rap!

The way I found to tell the story on stage was to start at the end, with James and his insect friends living in the peach stone in Central Park, New York. A party of tourists (including the audience) come to visit, are introduced to James, and then are told his story - by James himself and his insect friends, who play all the extra roles too.

The play seems to work very well, and lots of colleges and schools enjoy performing, as well as professional companies. Hopefully you will have a great time!

All good wishes.

David

 

United States

 


Comments by Flo O'Mahony

 

 


Hello David, I have recently become very interested in open air performance, having just returned from doing a production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at the Minack Theatre, in Cornwall, if you have been, you will almost definitely understand my newfound obsession! I love the itnamacy and interaction. However, being London based, Cornwall clearly isn't a convenient place to perform, and our company only goes down every third year. I wondered if there is any way that I can become involved, or attend auditions, for your annual children's show at The Open Air Theatre. I understand that this is far from the typical approach that you may receive from an Actress, but as a 17 year old performer, in between agents, I thought it may just be worth a shot! I am currently doing an Internship at a production company that is touring 'Tell Me on a Sunday' and our tour dates are often a day or two after your dates for 'Guess How Much I Love You' (my favourite childhood book!), so we appear to be following your show around the country!
I would love to hear from you, as there are so many aspects of your work that I find aspirational! I would love to work further in Children's Theatre and have an opportunity to perform outdoors once more.
Thank you ever so much,
Flo O'Mahony
Dear Flo,

Thank you for your message. Having visited the Minack, I quite understand your excited reaction to performing in the open air! Several of my plays have been presented at the Minack, including the production I saw - THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE ... It was great fun, and the setting, of course, was quite unique. Recently, a company called Illyria, who specialise in open air performances, presented my adaptation of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH at the Minack. I certainly think it would be worth your while applying for an audition with Illyria.

Unfortunately, I cannot help you get the chance to perform at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. I am no longer involved. I directed two of my plays there - BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG and FANTASTIC MR FOX in 2006 and 2007, and absolutely loved the experience. But the artistic director changed, and the new one decided to do things differently!

Feel free to send me your cv so that, should anything suitable come up, I can invite you to audition - even if the show is not in the open air!

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Stephen Masterson

 

 


Dear Mr Wood
I saw The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Theatre Royal Brighton last year with my son (4) and daughter (2). Simply put - they loved it.
I'm trying desperately to source a poster from the show to frame in their bedrooms. The Theatre do not retain any copies. Can you help or point me in the right direction?
Kindest regards.
Steve
Dear Steve,

Many thanks for your message.

Delighted to hear that your children enjoyed THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA. We are hoping that the show will be revived next year, when it may indeed come to Brighton again!

I will send you an e-mail with an address to which to write for a poster.

Meanwhile, I think your children would enjoy my new production - GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU, which will be at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings on 30th and 31st July. Unfortunately, I don't think it comes nearer to Brighton than that. But it is in Guildford, at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from 26th - 28th August. All details on www.guessonstage.com.

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Shana Khiroya

 

 


Dear David Wood.
It's Shana again!( With a different email). We have finished
'The plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner' and everyone enjoyed it. We had an amazing cake with cabbage and insects on it!
From Shana

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Jenna

 

 


Dear David,
I am sure you have already got messages from this but I am a student at Halstead school and am just telling you that we are doing that for our school play!!! We are so excited!
From Jenna
P.S. You are really popular in school!

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Constance

 

 


Dear David,
We signed out your book "Mole's Bedtime Story" from our local library. My daughter, who just turned two, is obsessed with the book! We got into the habit of reading it before bedtime and she's upset that we had to return it. It's such a great book, so I thought I would get it for her. Unfortunately, I've tried to find it for her and have been unsuccessful. Do you know if it's still available for purchase?
Thank You!!
Constance (and Gracelyn)
Dear Constance,

Thank you for your message to the website. David is delighted your daughter enjoyed MOLE'S BEDTIME STORY so much.

We are in the process of having some copies printed at the moment and hope to receive them in August. Would that be too late for you? We are also having FUNNY BUNNY'S MAGIC SHOW reprinted and they should be available at the same time.

We do have in stock MOLE'S SUMMER STORY, which is another very popular pop-through-the-slot book. Details of these books are on the website.

I will send a separate e-mail to you confirming costs and payment methods.

Best wishes.

Jane Devonald
Assistant to David Wood

 

Canada

 


Comments by Shana

 

 


Dear David Wood.
I find your plays amazing and at Halstead School we are doing THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER.
As you are coming to watch everyone has worked really hard.
Shana.
Dear Shana,

Thanks for your message. Delighted to hear that you are doing THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER at your school, and please pass on my very best wishes and lots of luck to everybody involved.

It is particularly pleasing that THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER still seems to be popular! It was written 40 years ago, before people showed much interest in green issues. Indeed, to be honest, I just thought I was writing a play about insects living in a garden!

All the best,

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Jan

 

 


Hi David,
Your through the slot books are very, very popular in our house! Mole and Funny Bunny are both much loved. I just thought you might like to know that whilst Mole's Bedtime Story may have been featured on the Tweenies (I have never seen it, but there may still be more episodes than I have seen - I do hope so!), Funny Bunny definitely was featured on the Tweenies. Max read the story and the Tweenies took turns at posting Funny Bunny and being amazed at his magic. The children loved seeing 'their' book on the television, being shared by the Tweenies and also magic being featured in the story. (Our great friend Chris Wardle always performs for them when we see him.)
Thanks for all your good work entertaining the family - we recently enjoyed your adaptation of George's Marvellous Medicine as performed by the Birmingham Stage Company, as well as enjoying your stories.
Kind regards,
Jan
Dear Jan,

Many thanks for your message and kind words. It is always rewarding to hear that one's work is appreciated! I am really pleased that the pop-through-the-slot books are popular in your family. Richard Fowler, who created the pop-through-the-slot idea, kindly allowed me to work on some books using this principle, and for some time our MOLE books, as well as FUNNY BUNNY'S MAGIC SHOW and SILLY SPIDER seemed to be very popular. Sadly, the publishers no longer reprint these books, so for a couple of year I have been the only possible source for people to approach for copies. Recently, the entire stock of FUNNY BUNNY'S MAGIC SHOW and MOLE'S BEDTIME STORY sold out.

I am delighted to say that I am in the process of having both these books republished myself, in the hope that their popularity will continue!

It is also pleasing to hear that you enjoyed GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, which is still touring and will be in London for Christmas.

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by jean williams

 

 


Hello David,
Les Allatt's daughter, Jeanne.
I,m working with special needs children at Ringwood Infants school. The children (6 year olds) are learning about the Victorian era.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a video which you presented about Harwell school. I would be really interested to know when you made it. Our school is 150 years old now.
I do hope that you and your family are keeping well.
Jeanne Williams

Dear Jeanne,

Very good to hear from you! Thank you for your message. Do hope that you are keeping well.

Interested to hear that you are teaching, and hope very much that you are finding it rewarding.

The television programme you saw was part of a series I did for the BBC called WATCH. Each episode was about the differences between life NOW and back in Grandfather's day. We made the programmes in 1992. I particularly remember doing the school one and also a holiday one, which we filmed in Eastbourne. It was fun doing things on the pier, dressing up in a Victorian bathing costume, and paddling in the sea! The school we filmed at was Harborne School, near Birmingham.

I wonder if Ringwood Infants School has any clues remaining of its past?

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Kim

 

 


Dear David,
I am currently writing an essay about you and your work for my Master’s degree and just wanted to thank you for being a self archivist! At undergraduate level I studied theoretical and practical elements of a variety of theatrical styles, both here and abroad. It was an excellent course with wonderful opportunities, making it all the more disappointing when, in my third year, I was discouraged from focusing my practical dissertation on aspects of Children’s Theatre. Needless to say, I ignored the advice. Talking to companies and watching performances highlights the depth and creativity which exists in Children’s Theatre and the little written about the subject by professionals is excellent. This makes it an exciting, if challenging field of study. My supervisor directed me to the excellent Seven Stories archive in Newcastle and I was delighted to see how extensive your section is! There is nothing better for researchers than an artist who keeps track of their work and the accompanying bits and pieces that would usually be discarded as unimportant.
So thank you for making this accessible for all!


Dear Kim,

You shouldn't be thanking me! I should be thanking you! It is very flattering to know that you are writing an essay about me and my work. It was great to hear that you ignored advice and decided to look more deeply at Children's Theatre. Sadly this discouragement often comes from well-meaning advisers and teachers at educational establishments, who wear the same short-sighted spectacles as so many people - they see Children's Theatre as very much in the second division - they probably think children are unimportant, too - and feel that their students will be wasting their talents by either contemplating it as a career, or even as a subject of study! Things are a little different in the United States, where Children's Theatre is featured in many theatre courses, and the academics do indeed take it seriously. This is one reason why I get invited to speak and do workshops at conferences and university events far more in America than I do in the UK.

It is also very exciting to know that you have been using my archive. Seven Stories is a wonderful institution, and I am very proud to be able to lodge all my jottings in their carefully managed store. You are quite right about me not discarding bits and pieces that might usually be regarded as unimportant. For some reason, every note on the back of an envelope or idea leading towards a book or play seems to get put into a file, 'just in case'. I thought hard about carefully going through every single box file before sending things to Seven Stories, but eventually decided against. Quite honestly, I haven't the time. Also, once you start looking through these old files, you find things which make you stop, think, remember, waste time, and eventually end up achieving very little! So everything is in there, warts and all.

You may be interested to know that any day now another 50 box files will be despatched to Seven Stories, so feel free to have another delve!

I do hope I get the opportunity to read your essay! Very good luck with your Master's degree, and with everything you do in the future.

Yours

David


 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Charlotte Harvey

 

 


Dear David Wood
This is just a quick message to say thank you for being such an inspiration within the field of children’s theatre! I am currently in my third year studying Drama at Royal Holloway and along with 5 other students we chose to work within children’s theatre for our final performance. With the help of your book ‘Theatre for children’ as well as witnessing children’s theatre, such as the spectacular ‘James and the Giant Peach’, we were able to create our own production which we called ‘Lost and found’. We aimed to extend the form of children’s theatre creating immersive theatre for children; we interacted with the children and engulfed them into the world. We structured the movement of the children, as well as constructed the action all around them. The positive comments passed between the children after the production proved it had been a success. Along with the fact that we received a first (76) too! I am currently writing an essay detailing the creative work I undertook, demonstrating I have an understanding of the field of children’s theatre as well as the performances I engaged with, and how I took on board and developed their ideas. Therefore, I would just like to say I really admire all of your work, and your book has provided me with many quotes that I have been able to use in my essay! I hope to continue working within the field of children’s theatre after university. I just wondered if you could give me any advise how my group and I ‘Chocolate Cake Theatre’ would go about getting our production out there? It was extremely successful and I am sure many 8 year olds would thoroughly enjoy it!
Thank you for your time
Charlotte Harvey

Dear Charlotte,

Delighted to hear about your final performance, your success with it, and your impressive mark!

It is always pleasing to hear that my THEATRE FOR CHILDREN book proved useful. Good luck with your essay!

Hopefully you will indeed continue to work in children's theatre after you leave university. My advice is to try to find one of the numerous children's theatre festivals out there, and persuade them to book you for a couple of performances. This could well lead to other opportunities. To find out more, I suggest you contact the British section of ASSITEJ, the international children's theatre organisation. Their website is www.tya-uk.org. They list most of the children's theatre companies in the country, and also have interesting newsletters about forthcoming festivals. Paul Harman is particularly knowledgeable! You really ought to join, perhaps, as an individual, rather than as a company. You would then be kept up to date with all the latest children's theatre news.

Wishing you well, and thanking you for getting in touch.

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Nikki Garland

 

 


My name is Nicole Garland and I am going to college for Children in Dramatics. I attend USAO in Chickasha, OK. I will be traveling to London for a month in July to study British theatre. I was wondering if I could do a personal interview to use in my Senior Seminar project? Your work is so inspiring! Thank you for your contribution to theatre!
Sincerely,
Nikki Garland
Dear Nikki,

Thank you for your message. I hope very much that I will be able to meet you in July. I will send you an e-mail about this.

All good wishes.

David

 

United States

 


Comments by Steve

 

 


We are about to put on The Owl and Pussycat went to see, and was wondering if you had any designs for the plum pudding flea costume.
Regards
Steve
Dear Steve,

Delighted to hear that your company are putting on THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE ... I still look upon this musical play as very special and significant, because it was the first one that 'took off', and seems to be still very much alive and kicking 42 years later!

On the website, in the SIGHT & SOUNDS section, there is a video of my own production of the play. One scene on view involves the capture of the Plum Pudding Flea by Professor Bosh. Hopefully that will give a good idea of what the costume looked like.

Meanwhile, I will see if I can find any helpful pictures or designs and send them to you.

Good luck to everybody involved in the production.

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Wendy Hammond

 

 


'When will we learn'
I heard this being sung at a Music Festival on Wednesday and thought how well it would suit our Church's childrens choir who I help rehearse. Please could you advise me where I could buy the sheet music from or CD with the number on. V many thanks. Wendy Hammond
Dear Wendy,

Thanks for your message. Very pleased to hear that you are interested in WHEN WILL WE LEARN? This song was originally written for my play with music, THE SELFISH SHELLFISH, a play set in a rock pool under threat of invasion by an oil slick. Sounds a bit grim, but it was a fun show, as well as providing food for thought, hopefully.

You will shortly receive an e-mail from me telling you how to purchase the sheet music and, should you want it, a 7 inch record of the song, sung by a children's choir. You may no longer have the facility to play records! But, unfortunately, the track is not available on CD.

Having said that, you can also find the song in JUNIOR VOICEWORKS 2 - 33 MORE SONGS FOR CHILDREN. Arranged by Kevin Stannard, this excellent anthology is published by Oxford University Press Music. It comes complete with 2 CDs, one of which is the accompaniment alone, the other of which has a children's choir singing the song.

There is another possibility - the song is included in the music and vocal score of THE SELFISH SHELLFISH, published by Samuel French Ltd.

Hopefully your church's children's choir will enjoy singing the song.

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Marc Jung

 

 


Dear David,
It's good you have your own website - I liked your first acting role (At least in films, in 'If...' - correct me if I'm wrong, looked it up on IMdB) and was glad to see that although you've theatrical talents and not always seen on the TV you've done so well. Well done with the OBE (Maybe I'm one of the last to congratulate you on that!) again, loved you in 'If...' - hope you remember it with fondness and not as something you'd rather orget! I may have put my foot in it, hope not! Keep up the good work with your artistic endeavours! Marc
Dear Marc,

Thanks for your message. You are quite right to say that IF ... was my first film. But I had already done a reasonable amount of theatre. IF ... was, and still is, a very important part of my professional life. In the late 60s and 70s it opened up to me the world of television, and I had many enjoyable roles in all sorts of tv shows, listed elsewhere in the website. These days, I am sometimes asked to represent the film or introduce it at its fairly regular showings at the British Film Institute and elsewhere. Last year I was invited to a film festival in Jersey, to do a question and answer session following a showing of the film.

Making IF ... was an unforgettable experience, and I am thinking of writing about it, before my memory fades!

Meanwhile I am still as busy as ever with my children's plays, which is also extremely satisfying.

Best wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Jen Holden

 

 


Hi David
Just a note to thank you so much for the letters you sent to our clients following their auditions for Guess How Much I Love You. It is so nice and rare for them to hear some personal feedback and is very much appreciated. Wishing you all the best with the production.
Many thanks and kind regards
Jen Holden
Dear Jen,

Thanks for your message.

It is very kind of you to thank me, but the practice of writing to everybody who auditions for me goes back a long way. I suppose it is because I was an actor for some years, and noticed how often I went to audition, but never heard whether I had been successful or not - obviously I had NOT been successful, otherwise I would have heard! But it would have been nice to be told that my audition had not been successful and, perhaps, to have a little bit of feedback as to why ...

So when I started directing, I made it my business to send out letters, once I had successfully found a cast.

Thank you for taking the trouble to write!

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 

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