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Previous Guestbook Entries
2005 - 2011

CatLeave me a message now...

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 6
pages>> 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17

Comments by Mark Tovey

 

 


Dear David,
Just a quick reply to say thank you very much for taking the time to recall memories from all those years ago! It's very interesting to have this background info. Well, whoever the mystery session singer is on "A Syllabub Sea", she did a great job. I'm not surprised that you continue to sell copies of the cassette - if only a few - it is a timeless production. It really deserves a CD issue, with new sleeve notes, etc. The original characters may be Mr Lear's, but you brought them vividly, and enjoyably to life. A new production of "Owl & The Pussycat Went To See.." would be most welcome - do include Hitchin, Hertfordshire on the tour! (The Queen Mother Theatre would be an excellent host). Why, I'd even drag myself (and daughter) into London for it.
Keep up all the inspired work & thanks once again.
Kind regards,
Mark

Dear Mark,

Thanks again for your kind words. You may well have inspired me to further the idea of a CD!

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

England

 


Comments by Neil Stevens

 

 


Dear David,
I have been looking at your work - in fact a drama group that my wife belongs to are doing THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER later this year - and were wondering if you might be able to offer some advice. My sister and I have just written our first original children's musical, FAST FORWARD TO FANTASY, a sort of parody of movies, which has just had its 'world premiere' this week at a school in Dartford. We have approached publishers, and have already had some interest, but would like to go into this sort of thing on a more professional level, as we've got lots more ideas up our sleeve. Is there any help you could offer to us budding new writers, as we are not really sure what is the best way forward? How hard is it to get ahead in this field?
Many thanks,
Neil Stevens
Dear Neil,

Thanks for your message. Very pleased that you and your sister have written a musical for children. I do hope that the first production went really well.

By the sound of it, this is a musical for children to perform, as much as for children to see. This will mean it has a large cast. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does mean that you may well have problems getting professionals interested. Very few plays for children are produced these days with a cast of more than 6 or 8, unless you are lucky enough to get the National or the RSC to put it on.

My advice is to study the market. Look on the websites of children's theatre companies. Try TYA UK - the organisation looking after the interests of children's theatre companies. ASSITEJ is the international organisation.

As far as publication is concerned, again study the market. There are a number of publishers who specialise in plays for children to perform. Not that many, I hasten to add, because the royalties tend to be spasmodic, making publication less viable than plays for adults.

Another way forward may be to target a number of schools similar in size to the one in Dartford. The only problem here, you won't be surprised to hear, is that the schools with the most active drama departments tend to write their own shows! But it is worth a try. I have often said in the past that there should be a central pool of this kind of play, not necessarily printed professionally, but available via a website. Schools could belong, send in plays and also read the plays of other schools, and pay to produce them.

Lots of luck!

Yours,

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Zara

 

 


David,
having just commented on the importance of theatre for children, the memory of my own first theatre visit was strongly invoked. It was 1983, i was 5 or 6 years of age and was taken to see The Selfish Shellfish at my local arts centre. The excitement and magic of that experience instilled a love of theatre that remains to this day, encompassing a performing arts degree and a stint working for the Arts Council!
So i thank you from the heart for bringing so much joy and inspiration to so many people.
Yours
Zara
Dear Zara,

Many thanks for your kind message. It is always very rewarding to receive comments like yours. Even though I liked to think that my work does indeed affect children and help to give them an interest in theatre, proof only comes years later, with messages such as yours! THE SELFISH SHELLFISH is one of the plays I look back on with real pleasure. The issues involved - oil pollution, care for the environment etc. undoubtedly struck a chord with the young audiences, and the death of the seagull always 'worked' - a wonderful hush descended in the auditorium! It's lovely to know that seeing my play gave you a memorable introduction to the theatre, and led you to work in the field!

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Katherine Child

 

 


To David,
Hello, just wondering if you could possibly help me at all. I am a student currently completing an Ma in illustration down in Cornwall, I am very interested in story telling and having just come across your website, am very excited by the number of my favourite children's books you have turned into plays! Before becoming a student again, I was working as a background artist for King Rollo Films (children's animation company based in Devon), which I loved, but I have always hoped to be involved in some aspect of set design, either the conceptual side, or the physical construction. Children's theatre appeals to me hugely. I would love to do some work experience or be involved in one of your productions.
Just wondered if you could point me in the right direction. Any advice would be much appreciated,
Thanks very much
katherine
p.s. very much looking forward to seeing The Tiger who came to Tea next month!

Dear Katherine,

Thanks for your message. It was interesting to read of your association with King Rollo Films. I have nearly worked with Clive Juster several times! One day, perhaps, we will actually get something off the ground together.

It might be possible to find some work experience on a children's theatre production. Why not send me your c.v.? Am I right in thinking that the design side interests you most?

You mention that you are doing an MA in illustration. Are you doing it at Falmouth? I am interested because my niece has just been accepted on the illustration course at Falmouth, beginning later this year. She might be very interested to meet you!

I will send you an e-mail, and hope to hear from you in due course.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Mark Tovey

 

 


David,
Hi, I'm presently collating information on the recordings of the late Roy Castle, who sadly never got the recognition he deserved as a singer. I still enjoy listening to the 1970 Philips LP production of your "Owl & The Pussycat" play (as does my 7 year old!)which has some fine songs & performances. Roy's duet (with Beatrice Aston??) on "A Syllabub Sea (reprise)" is particularly gorgeous. Do you have any particular memories of the recording of this LP and of working with Roy, and what are your thoughts on the LP. It was an inspired choice to use Harry S, Hattie J, and Roy - were you involved in this selection? Also, would you remember the studio it was recorded in, and the approximate month / date it was taped. Any info or memories greatfully received, if you have the time.
For anyone reading this who hasn't heard the LP, do check it out!!
Kind regards,
Mark Tovey

Dear Mark,

It is strange how things go in waves! As you may know, I sell copies of the cassette version of THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE ... LP you are writing about. We haven't sold many over the last few years, but recently about 5 copies have been sent to different people, most of whom remember the play from their childhood! Naturally I am delighted to think that nearly 40 years on, people still enjoy listening to the story and the songs. Indeed, a year or two ago I saw a production of the play which made me think I really ought to try to revive it in London and on tour!

The very first production was at Worcester in 1968. Christmas 1969 saw the first London production. I had recently written an adult musical called THE STIFFKEY SCANDALS OF 1932, which was not a great success, I am afraid, at the Queen's Theatre in the West End. The female lead was played by Terri Stevens, who was only 16, and was looked after by Jimmy Grafton, Harry Secombe's manager. I met Jimmy during the production of the musical, and must have told him about THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE ... He was interested to become the music publisher, using a company of which Harry was a director. This led to the idea of the album. Harry was obviously a wonderful choice for the Quangle Wangle, and later we decided he should be the narrator as well. Harry's recording manager at Philips was Johnny Franz, who generously agreed to make the recording with full orchestra and cast. I adapted the play, and casting began. Roy, of course, was a great friend of Harry. They had done PICKWICK on Broadway together, as well as numerous television shows. He was a natural and splendid choice for Owl. Several other members of the cast were from the stage production. These included Christopher Biggins, whose splendid performance as the Head Jumbly had been, in fact, his very first London appearance following drama school (I had met him working backstage when I was in a show at Salisbury Playhouse!). Franz suggested Billy Burden, the West Country yokel comedian as the Pig, which was inspired casting! I rather selfishly offered to play the Turkey myself, having taken over the role for a week when the original actor was ill. Hattie Jacques was another brilliant idea, though I cannot remember exactly whose idea it was! What was interesting was that once she had accepted the job, we realised that she couldn't sing! As a result, and this is the first time I have ever admitted this, Pussycat was sung by a brilliant session singer, whose name I am ashamed to say I have forgotten. But her clever impersonation of Hattie was a joy to hear.

We recorded the album in the main Philips studio in Stanhope Place, near Marble Arch. I cannot remember the exact date. I have the feeling we did the whole thing in a day, although it may have been spread over 2 days, which I hope she enjoyed.

I have met several people who talk fondly of their memories of this album. Not long ago I listened to it again, in the car, and felt that it hadn't really dated at all! This is thanks to Edward Lear, as much if not more than me. His characters will live forever. I was very lucky to have the chance of working with them.

Thank you, Mark, for your message, and for bringing back some happy memories!

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

England

 


Comments by Cally

 

 


Any more news on the playscript of Goodnight Mister Tom? Would be really grateful of hearing how/if it's progressing.
Dear Cally,

Thanks for your message.

I finished the first draft of my adaptation of GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM by Michelle Magorian earlier this year. Am awaiting news of possible production next year. Fingers crossed.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by abi kennell

 

 


My daughter and her friend, both 2 1/2, went to see the fabulous tiger show yesterday and i can't tell you how completely enchanted they were, i've never seen them so utterly engaged in anything, not even Shrek (current favourite!)so thank you so much for such a wonderful introduction to the theatre for them; we're enormously grateful to you and your fabulous cast!
we would have loved to get one of the big posters for lyra's room, i don't suppose you can tell me anywhere i can get hold of one - have tried the theatre and ebay with no luck!
thank you
abi xx
Dear Abi,

Thank you so much for your very kind message, which I am passing on to the production company and to the cast. We are all delighted that Lyra and her friend enjoyed TIGER. The first theatre visit is, for us, the most important one! Get it wrong and we risk putting small children off the theatre for life! Get it right, and maybe they will want to come to the theatre again and again!

I have asked the production company to contact you about the poster.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Damien Slattery

 

 


I have recently found a CD copy of the musical 'Jeeves'(finally!), it is a bootleg recording but I am enjoying it immensely. I wonder if one day you might write about your experiences in this infamous production? I would love to hear your stories! Thank you. Damien in Dublin.
Dear Damien,

Thanks for your message. Intrigued to hear about the bootleg recording you have found of JEEVES! Andrew Lloyd Webber said at the time that the album would become a collector's item and of course he was right! We didn't finish recording the album until after the show had come off in the West End! I think the record company made the gesture to Andrew of recording this show, which had, let's face it, not really set the world on fire, because of the huge success they had had with JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.

One day I will certainly write down my memories of JEEVES. In many ways the experience was a nightmare! But I certainly wouldn't have missed it for the world.

At the read-through, it became apparent that I was expected to fly in, hanging upside down from a chandelier, in the second act. Quite why this was necessary, I never found out. David Hemmings as Bertie Wooster, had to rescue me from my predicament. At the Bristol Hippodrome, where we opened, we had very little time to experiment with the effect. Early on the morning of the day we opened, I was hoisted on my Kirby flying wires way up high over the wings, then pulled across to a position over the centre of the stage. This proved a tricky manoeuvre, because I had to negotiate my way through lighting bars and various wires. I remember calling out, 'I feel like a piece of cheese.' To my shame, for the first and only time in my life, I completely freaked out and screamed to be let down. After a strong brandy in David Hemmings' dressing room, I was told that this moment would be cut from the show until we reached London.

At Her Majesty's Theatre, a special walkway was built from the wings, high up in the flies. A stage manager fixed the two wires to the attachments on the harness, and, when the green light flashed, I literally walked the plank! Hanging in mid air, I was lowered on to the chandelier, latched the back of my legs on to it, and hung upside down waiting to be lowered further, into the view of the audience. Having summoned up a certain amount of courage to do this, imagine my embarrassment and annoyance when, as I entered upside down on the press night, the less-than-enthusiastic Gallery First Nighters started booing and shouting 'Rubbish!'.

A few days later, as I walked to the stairs to get ready for my 'flight', I passed Inky, the splendid gentleman who held on to the other end of the rope, and in whose hands was quite literally my life! He had just completed another cue, acting as a counter balance with David Hemmings, on the end of a bell rope. This had gone wrong, and Inky had hit his head hard on a projecting strut from a piece of scenery. Blood was pouring from his head. Naturally this was a little worrying, and as my wires were attached to me, and as I awaited the green light, I prayed that Inky still had the strength to support me. The cue came, I felt the tension on the wires, I walked into space and was lowered on to the chandelier, as usual. Then, as I hung upside down, I heard the loud screech of an ambulance siren speeding down the Haymarket. Next, I felt myself lowered down to be rescued by Mr. Hemmings. By the time I came offstage, Inky had collapsed, unconscious, and was in the ambulance on his way to hospital.

What a professional! Inky has ever since been one of my biggest heroes!

All good wishes.

David

Dear Mr. Wood,

That has to be one of the most hilarious things I have read in my entire life!

Even funnier than Wodehouse !!

I laughed loudly from the third paragraph on, (you have a great gift of funny phrasing) and the picture of you hanging precariously over the stage space for otherwise unclear reasons ?!! The tears were flowing down my cheeks at the sheer lunacy of it!!

You have brightened the Dublin heatwave even more!

Who knew that your theatrical memory of horror -could make me split my sides?!


Please, please, write down these recollections! If not for my perverse sense of humour, for future record.

I was thrilled by that email and very chuffed you took the time to reply, in such a detailed fashion. I have been playing the bootleg the entire morning, recreating your tales in my head. A soundtrack to your horrendous experiences!

Isn't life a bigger farce than anything Feydeau could imagine?

A wonderful recollection,

Damien.

 

Ireland

 


Comments by Shaan

 

 


Dear David,
I would love to stage your adaptation of the B.F.G.
I already have the script but I’m struggling to find the music. I looked on the Samuel French website but I couldn’t find it, is there anywhere else I find it?
In my version of the B.F.G. I have children playing all the roles as I think this will be appealing to children to see other children on stage. I have also slightly changed the cast list and edited some of the narration.
Hope to hear from you soon, best wishes,
Shaan Latif-Shaikh (Director/B.F.G)

Dear Shaan,

Thanks for your message. Delighted that you would like to stage my adaptation of THE BFG. Peter Pontzen's original music is indeed available from Samuel French. This is the sheet music, not recorded music. So you will need a keyboard player! I suggest that you contact Paul Taylor at Samuel French to ask for more details. You could send him an e-mail on paul@samuelfrench-london.co.uk.

I am sure it will be fun having children playing the roles. Be careful about being too inventive in your production - changing the cast list and editing the narration is not strictly permissible.

Enjoy it, and very good luck for the performance.

Best wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Martin Sheehan

 

 


Hi David, I knew you in a previous life when I was "Peter Pan Man" at Great Oromond Street. I was lucky enough to be at Wimbledon on Saturday with my daughter, Milly: in the second row screaming out for "more Tiger"! I almost caught you just before curtain, and even closer after, but Milly's agenda meant I didn't get to say hello. Anyway, a wonderful show and such a treat to see not only the esteemed adaptor but also the genius creator in the flesh - wish I'd got an illicit photo! Thanks for a great early afternoon, and for teaching Milly the value of yummy, yummy sausages. Hope you're well.
Best regards,
Martin
Dear Martin,

Lovely to hear from you. So sorry I missed you at Wimbledon! Very pleased that Milly enjoyed THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA. She was part of an enormous audience! Over 1,200 people were there that afternoon! And, yes, it was a special moment when Judith Kerr came up on stage. Indeed, I wish you had taken a photo! Nobody else did! Nobody thought to organise a photographer. Heigh ho!

Do hope you are happy in your new job. Meanwhile, the Peter Pan award has changed its name to the Action for Children's Arts J.M. Barrie award. Very pleased that our association led to something lasting!

Maybe we will meet up one day. Till then ...

Best wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Amanda Pope

 

 


Dear David,
Along with assorted chiddlers i was lucky enough to see a splendiferous production of the BFG in Northampton at the start of this year's tour.My daughter who is mad about dogs was blown away to see a real live Corgi on stage too!
Do you know of any other of your plays going on tour this year or next and where in the Midlands we could catch them? We have recently moved from N'hampton to Stratford and are disappointed to find so little offered for chiddlers in the Bard's town.Having said that we met the magnificent Anthony Pedley doing his Taste of Dahl at the Stratford Literary Festival this weekend and when i wrote to thank him he gave me your contact details.He also mentioned that you visit schools from time to time. So, fired up by 2 lots of your work in as many months i decided to write!
Regards
Amanda Pope

Dear Amanda,

Many thanks for your kind message. Delighted that THE BFG went down well! And I am so pleased you saw Tony giving A TASTE OF DAHL at Stratford.

For small children, I currently have THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA on tour. This is my adaptation of the classic picture book by Judith Kerr, a production I have also directed. It has been on tour for the last 8 months, and arrives at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry for 3 days, at the beginning of July. 2nd, 3rd and 4th, I think. Daytime performances. TIGER has a website - www.thetigerwhocametotealive.com, with more details.

A little earlier than that, TIGER will be at the Oxford Playhouse on May 14th, 15th and 16th.

Later in the year, my adaptation of GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE by Roald Dahl starts a long tour. It might be worth looking at the Birmingham Stage Company website to see if there are more details yet. www.birminghamstage.net.

Also, as far as I know, there are three productions of my adaptation of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, all being presented at Christmas. However, they may not be very close to Stratford! They are at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury and the Castle Theatre, Wellingborough.

Yes, I enjoy visiting schools, where I do storytellings and talk about the ingredients of stories. More details on the website!

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write.

Best wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by glen tiernan

 

 


dear mr wood when i was a school child i would avidly read your vardo series and would love to be able to share those stories with mjy children in the future but i am finding them very difficult to obtain can you give me any advice as to find them many thanks

Dear Glen,

Thank you for your message. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I am not the David Wood who wrote the VARDO series. To be honest, I can't direct you towards the David Wood you want! This is a series of books I have never heard of! But I wish you well in your quest!

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Jessica Swale

 

 


Dear David,
I thought I would just write and let you know that I saw 'The See-Saw Tree' in 1986 and was spellbound by it. At the time I was five years old. I am luckly enough to have parents who value theatre as both a fun and educational tool. I was overwhelmed by the magic of the theatrical world and have such vivid recollections of the production, despite having been such a young audience member.
Over twenty years on, and I am now working in theatre. I am Associate Director at Out of Joint Theatre Company in London, whilst I regularly direct productions for my own company, Red Handed, and children's theatre company A Single Leaf. I am sure that the theatre visits I went on with my parents had a seminal effect on my and created a love of and respect for the world of imagination that I am not sure one ever loses. It is gratifying, speaking from the perspective of someone often involved in theatre for young people, that these memories last and form an important part of the way we learn to view the world.
This weekend I was reminded of your play. I work, on the side, as a LAMDA Examiner, and several young students performed monologues of Mr Jay for their acting exams. It was the first time I had encountered the text since 1986, yet it suddenly rung a bell in my head and I remembered it! It was lovely to see these students throwing themselves into the drama with so much vigour and enjoyment.
I just wanted to say a little thank you for inspiring me and I know there will be a great many others who feel the same way! And if I am ever looking for a children's play to put on, I know who to come to!
Yours in great admiration
Jessica Swale
Dear Jessica,

Thank you for your very kind message. It is always a real pleasure to find that my efforts have yielded results! Sometimes enthusiastic theatregoers, with no professional connection at all, tell me that the first play they ever saw was one of mine, and that it whetted their appetite! That's great. But it is even more pleasing, to be honest, when theatre professionals like yourself, tell me that they might not have got into this weird and wonderful profession if they hadn't been taken to see one of my plays when they were knee high to a grasshopper.

So I am really pleased to hear about your progress. You have packed in an enviable amount of work in a relatively short space of time, and I much admire the fact that you combine working for adults with the challenge of working for children. It is always refreshing to find theatre practitioners who don't see involvement in children's theatre simply as a rung on the ladder to 'real' (meaning adult) theatre. As you well know, although the basic skills may be similar, working for children is a craft - even an art - that is different, unique, and, for some of us, much more satisfying!

You may be interested to know that back in the late 60s I acted with Max Stafford-Clark in a musical (an adult musical!) of mine called A LIFE IN BEDROOMS. In those days, Max was the no. 2 in the artistic director's office. I have watched his subsequent career with great interest and admiration.

I will send this by e-mail, as well as putting it in the guestbook, in the hope that you will send me details of your forthcoming productions. I would love to come and see them.

Meanwhile, I seem to be as busy as ever, with THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA and THE BFG both on tour, and three or four new plays in the pipeline.

THE SEE-SAW TREE is a project I look back on with considerable pleasure. Hopefully it is an entertaining piece of theatre, while, at the same time, tackling an issue. It is very pleasing to know that Jay's speech is being used for exams. I hope the young people who have to learn it and perform it find it fun to do.

Thank you so much, once again, for such a kind and caring message. Every good wish for a happy and successful future.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Paul

 

 


Hi
I saw The Selfish Shellfish when I was a small child at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. I can still remember the main song ("When will we learn...") and the show has stayed with me for years (I'm now 37). I've continued to go to the theatre as much as possible ever since. David Wood YOU ROCK! I thank you.
Dear Paul,

Thank you for your message. It is always rewarding to receive comments like this! Those of us who work in theatre for children are always banging on about how our work can trigger children's imaginations and affect the rest of their lives in a positive way. But there is little research done to back up our beliefs! Interestingly, the Arts Council have recently done some research into the effect that participation in and exposure to the arts can have on young people between 12 and 16. Personally, I believe this is far too late! It is what children from the age of 2 or 3 experience that is probably most important! And it is great to hear that you remember THE SELFISH SHELLFISH so well, and that it has stayed with you all these years. It is certainly one of my favourites, looking back over the years. Maybe we can arrange a revival one day!

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Raine Sillito

 

 


Hello! I am interested in pursuing work in Children's Theatre, and have a few questions regarding the subject that I was hoping you could answer.
What kind of training is necessary or useful to have for work in Children's theatre?
Where could one find this training?
What would you suggest someone interested in Childrens theatre do?
Thank you so much!!
Raine Sillito

Dear Raine,

Thanks for your message. Your questions sum up the reason I wrote my book THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING. Janet Grant approached me and suggested I should be handing on the benefit of my experience to those who wanted to become children's theatre practitioners.

The problem has always been that children's theatre is not generally regarded as important as grown-up theatre, so specialist courses are unusual.

However, a general theatre training will not do any harm! And several colleges and universities offer theatre courses that include children's theatre modules. Some do more than that, and I am sure that an afternoon on the internet would yield results, simply by Googling 'children's theatre courses and training'.

I see that you are writing from Canada. The aforementioned Janet Grant happens to be Canadian! I will forward her your message, and ask her to contact you. She knows much more about what is going on in Canada than I do. Having said that, I know that children's theatre is highly regarded in your country, and there are several very impressive children's theatre companies that you might contact.

Have you heard of ASSITEJ? This is the international children's theatre association, which has a very healthy branch in Canada. Look up ASSITEJ on the internet!

Lots of luck. I hope you do indeed pursue your interest.

Meanwhile, I will ask Janet to contact you.

All good wishes.

David

 

Canada

 


Comments by Amanda Love Darragh

 

 


Hello,
I saw The Tiger Who Came to Tea with my son in Richmond last year and we both absolutely loved it - I was v. impressed by how engaging and entertaining it was, for both children and adults! I just wondered if you have ever considered a stage adaptation of the Ahlbergs' Cops and Robbers (or Burglar Bill, for that matter)? Every time I read it, I think about how well it would work on stage - lots of slapstick potential (although possibly a bit too much 'violence' to make it socially acceptable?!)... Anyway, 'keep up the good work'! best wishes, Amanda
Dear Amanda,

Thanks for your message. Delighted to hear that you and your son enjoyed TIGER at Richmond.

BURGLAR BILL has been adapted several times, I think, but not by me! I will certainly have a look at COPS AND ROBBERS. I don't know that I have ever read it. Strange, because BURGLAR BILL was a great favourite with our daughters when they were small.

I don't know how old your son is. He may be too young for THE BFG, my Roald Dahl adaptation that is currently on tour. But you may be interested to know that TIGER is at Wimbledon Theatre at the end of this month.

Thanks for your interest, and all good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by bridget barden

 

 


Hello David! I am desperate to find a zone 1 Gingerbread man DVD for playing in the states. Do the exist? Thanks!
Dear Bridget,

Thanks for your message.

There are two things I need to ask you! First, are you talking about the musical play version of THE GINGERBREAD MAN, as performed by Whirligig Theatre, and broadcast by Channel 4 TV in the UK?

Or are you talking about the TV animation series based on the play/book and released on two DVDs?

Both might be available.

Also, I am not sure what you mean by Zone One. Are you asking if the DVDs will work in the United States? If so I think the answer is that they will.

Anyway, please let me know what you are really asking for! I will send this message by e-mail too. Please reply by e-mail rather than to the website.

All good wishes.

David

 

United States

 


Comments by Susan

 

 


Hi David
Can you tell me the age suitability for The BFG? Looking to buy tickets when the show is in Glasgow in early September as a birthday treat for a 4 year old? (Who has a liking for Roald Dahl - as we've read The Magic Finger & The Enormous Crocodile). Thanks.
Dear Susan,

Thanks for your message. I honestly wouldn't recommend THE BFG for a 4 year old. Some of it is, like a lot of Dahl, potentially quite frightening for a little one! I think probably 6 or 7 up would be my recommendation. Sorry about this, but I would rather stop you going than have another message from you saying that it hadn't worked! THE MAGIC FINGER and THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE are written for younger children than THE BFG.

Hopefully something suitable will come along soon!

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Bob bayliss

 

 


Hi there David.
I am playing hermit crab in your play, Selfish Shellfish, which the Lindfield drama club are performing in May.
It is great fun, and the story is very near and dear to me, as a lifetime beach angler (56 years,since I was 11.)
I have nearly finished learning all my words- it is books down next week.
best wishes from
Bob Bayliss.
Dear Bob,

Thank you for your message, and all good wishes for your forthcoming performances in THE SELFISH SHELLFISH. I am sure you will have fun playing HC (the Hermit Crab). I think he is an interesting character to play, because he is, at the beginning, very 'crabby' and intolerant, but in the course of his journey through the play, becomes a respected leader of the rock pool creatures. I hope you have a nice home to live in! When I directed the play, we had a rather beautiful whelk shell-shaped shell, complete with front door. The actor playing HC, realising that he would have to spend quite a lot of time inside the shell, waiting to make his appearances, decided to make it comfortable. Rumour has it that he started off with a chair to sit on, with a newspaper to read, and, as the tour progressed, ended up with a portable television to watch! However, I don't recommend you to do the same - it might be better to take deep breaths and go through your lines in your head!

Please send my very best wishes to everybody for a happy and successful production.

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Fersad

 

 


Hi, I wonder if there is a DVD of gingerbread man play which you have made a trailer out of it. If there is how can I purchase it?
Dear Fersad,

Thanks for your message. I am afraid there is no commercial DVD released of THE GINGERBREAD MAN stage play. However, the Whirligig Theatre production of the play was televised, and it might be possible to arrange for a copy of the television broadcast to be sent to you. I will send you an e-mail about this!

All good wishes.

David

 

Turkey

 


Comments by Holly McNeill

 

 


My name is Holly McNeill and I direct and teach theatre at South Elgin High School in South Elgin, IL about 45 miles west of Chicago. I'm interested in getting a James and the Giant Peach script. Can you help me?
Thanks so much.
Sincerely,
Holly McNeill
Dear Holly,

Thank you for your message. Delighted to hear from somebody who lives near Chicago, one of my favourite cities! Whenever I fly home from somewhere in the States, I try to stop off in Chicago and meet my friends there, before getting the day flight back to London! The day flight, I find, leaves me without any jet lag, which is very helpful!

The script of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH is published by and available from Samuel French Inc. If you go on their website, I am sure you will find it listed and can order it. Alternatively, you could try ringing the New York office on 212 206 8990.

Or you could send an e-mail to Kenneth Dingledine at Samuel French, who will advise you, I am sure. His e-mail address is kdingledine@samuelfrench.com

Let me know if you have a problem, but hopefully you will find a copy very easily.

All good wishes.

Yours

David

 

United States

 


Comments by Jerry

 

 


Dear David,
I will like you to come to Ghana to teach us more about your field. I like acting and writing but its difficult to carry on when there is nobody to put you through. I shall be glad to get any response from you. Jerry
Dear Jerry,

Thanks for your message. I quite understand that you feel you need guidance. Unfortunately I am rarely available to travel and give workshops.

My suggestion is that you contact the International Association for Children's Theatre. They will be able to tell you about several African branches of the organisation, which is called ASSITEJ.

Send an e-mail to sec.gen@assitej-international.org.

You can also look on their website, www.assitej-international.org.

I wish you luck!

All good wishes.

David

 

Ghana

 


Comments by Gareth Webb

 

 


Dear David,
Three years ago I directed a production of your James and the Giant Peach. We hugely enjoyed putting Dahl on the stage without dumbing down the light and the dark (not a Disney fan), and we had a fantastic audience response. For next year I am looking at the BFG, and I understand that there is a 'straight' version of the script, which interests me. With some demanding giant puppetry to plan for I need to start working with the text soonish...
I can't find the straight script however and I wonder if I have to apply for it directly from you.
In general, thank you for all your hard work. Your plays more than do justice to the challenge of putting Dahl's imagination on stage.
All the best,
Gareth.
Dear Gareth,

Thanks for your message. I'm very pleased that you enjoyed doing JAMES.

And I am sure you will enjoy doing THE BFG. I'm not sure what you mean by 'straight version'. The Samuel French edition of the play is 'straight', in that it is not a musical. There is optional incidental music, but no songs. If this is what you mean, then Samuel French is where you should go.

For an American production I once removed the children's party framing device, but this actually made the play more difficult to stage. And this version has not been made generally available.

If I have misunderstood, you, feel free to contact me again.

All good wishes,

David.

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Alexander L'Estrange

 

 


Hi David - Alex L'Estrange here! I was Sam, Spot's dad in 2000, and had 3 fab months touring with Fallon-off-of-The-Archers et al ... I wanted to let you know that I've now got 2 wonderful little sons, and my wife Joanna and I took Toby, the elder (almost 3) to see The Tiger at St Albans, our local theatre in Feb. WHAT FUN! Thank you so much for his first introduction to the theatre. We still sing "Yummy yummy sausages, scrummy scrummy chips" together - Toby loves it.
I hope you're well - I love the website, and reading what you've been up to. My mum always remembers you in "Playaway" in the 70s very fondly (she was at Bristol with Jonathan Cohen...)
Anyway, one quick question: do you have, or do you know who to ask about, any cast photos of Spot's B-day Party from that first tour? I haven't any memories (apart from the lovely little CD we made) to show little Toby and Harry...
If you can help, that would be great - I'd be so grateful.
Finally, if you're interested, you can see some of what Joanna and I are up to on www.forbes-lestrange.co.uk
All the very best, David, and hope to see you or one of your plays soon!
Alex
Dear Alex,

Great to hear from you. I have often wondered how you were getting on! Yes, happy memories of SPOT'S BIRTHDAY PARTY!

Very glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA. The tour is going very well, I am happy to say!

Very soon I will send you an e-mail to answer your final question.

All good wishes.

David

 

United Kingdom

 

 

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