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My Plays

David Wood's Plays
“LOTS OF SUDDENLIES…”

DAVID WOOD CELEBRATES OVER 50 YEARS OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Children are the future, and it is a privilege and challenge to write plays which may well be their very first introduction to the world of theatre; a world that can trigger their imaginations as well as entertain them, make them think as well as make them laugh, and open their minds to new ideas and the power of storytelling through theatre.

Since John Hole commissioned me to write THE TINDERBOX (unpublished, unsurprisingly, to be honest!) for the Swan Theatre, Worcester in 1967, I have written seventy plus plays. They fall into three main categories

      • original plays,
      • adaptations
      • and what I call “pantomime substitutes”.

ORIGINAL PLAYS

The ORIGINAL PLAYS including THE GINGERBREAD MAN, THE PAPERTOWN PAPERCHASE, HIJACK OVER HYGENIA and NUTCRACKER SWEET, are often fantasy-based. THE GINGERBREAD MAN features characters like Salt, Pepper and The Old Teabag, who live on a kitchen dresser. THE PAPERTOWN PAPERCHASE uses a Beauty and the Beast theme to tell the story of a fight between the inhabitants of Papertown and the Land of Fire. HIJACK OVER HYGENIA depicts the cleanest kingdom in the world when attacked by Measlygerms. NUTCRACKER SWEET is set in a world “peopled” by nuts. The lives of Kernel Walnut, Old Ma Coconut, Hazel and William the Conker are threatened by the arrival of the Chocolate Squirter, in search of nuts for his high-class confectionery.

Some of the original plays are environmental. In THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER, garden insects face uncertainty when the human Big Ones use anti-insect spray. THE SELFISH SHELLFISH depicts the dilemma of rock pool creatures facing pollution from an oil slick. THE SEE-SAW TREE looks at conservation from the point of view of the creatures living on an ancient oak tree endangered by a supermarket development.

Most of the original plays feature creative audience participation. Some of them are musicals.

ADAPTATIONS

Roald Dahl, Philippa Pearce, Dick King-Smith and Michelle Magorian  are some of the distinguished children’s authors I have been lucky enough to adapt. The classic titles include THE BFG, THE WITCHES, DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, THE TWITS, FANTASTIC MR FOX, GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, THE MAGIC FINGER, BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG and TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN.

For younger children there are adaptations of NODDY (Enid Blyton), SPOT (Eric Hill), MEG AND MOG (Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski), THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA (Judith Kerr), and GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU (Sam McBratney). All these stories I have tried to translate from page to stage faithfully and with theatrical flair.

 

PANTOMIME SUBSTITUTES

My “PANTOMIME SUBSTITUTES” have been mainly created for the annual pantomime slot. Some are original versions of classic stories, some are new stories featuring well-known characters. All of them have in common an action-packed plot, tuneful music, humour and a creative use of audience participation. Animals feature strongly, as children (and adults) relate strongly to animal characters. Sometimes they are constructed to include an optional chorus of adults or children.

 


The plays are produced professionally all over the world. In the UK there are many amateur productions too. Schools use them in their ‘Literacy Hour’ as well as perform them as school plays. I have recently written adaptations especially for schools, such as (for Puffin Books), THE BFG: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN, THE WITCHES: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN, THE TWITS: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN and DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN. And I have adapted Michael Foreman’s DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH and Ronda and David Armitage’s THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S LUNCH for large numbers of children working with two adult actors.

In all my plays there is a determination not to patronise children, rather to emotionally involve them in a strong and fast-moving storyline. They offer opportunities for imaginative set, costume and lighting design, for special effects and, sometimes, puppetry.

They all have “lots of suddenlies…”. A Canadian children’s book publisher, with whom I was once interviewed on television, when trying to explain what works for children, told how her own daughter, aged 8, put down a book, saying how much she had enjoyed it. “Why?” asked her mother, mainly out of professional interest. “Lots of suddenlies” came her daughter’s reply. It’s been my motto ever since.


Details of the plays, in alphabetical order, can be found below. A brief history, synopsis and cast requirements are given, plus press reviews and publishing and performing rights information.


David Wood's Plays

A

Aladdin
Aladdin
   

B

Babe the sheep pig
Babe, the Sheep Pig
Babes in the Magic Wood
Babes in the Magic Wood
The BFG
The BFG

C

You shall go to the ball
Cinderella

Clockwork

Cinderella
A Rhyming Play

D

Danny Champion Of The World
Danny The Champion Of The World
Dick Whittington & Wondercat
Dick Whittington and Wondercat
Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish
Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish

F

Fantastic Mr Fox
Fantastic Mr Fox
Flibberty and the Penguin
Flibberty and the Penguin
The Forest Child
The Forest Child

G

The Gingerbread Man
The
Gingerbread Man
George's Marvellous Medicine
George's Marvellous Medicine

Goodnight Mr Tom

Goodnight Mister Tom

Guess How Much I Love You
Guess How Much I Love You
   

H

Hijack Over Hygenia
Hijack Over Hygenia
   

I

The Ideal Gnome Expedition
The Ideal Gnome Expedition

 

 

J

 
Jack and the Giant
Jack and the Giant
Jack The Lad
Jack The Lad
James And The Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach

Jack and the Baked Beanstalk - A Rhyming Play
   

L

Larry The Lamb in Toytown
Larry the Lamb in Toytown
The Owl And The Pussy Cat
The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch

Lady Lollipop

M

James And The Giant Peach
Meg and Mog Show
Mother Goose's Golden Christmas
Mother Goose's Golden Christmas
Mother Goose's Golden Christmas
The Magic Finger

N

James And The Giant Peach
Nutcracker Sweet
Noddy
Noddy
More Adventures of Noddy
More Adventures of Noddy

O

 
Old Father Time
Old Father Time
Old Mother Hubard
Old Mother Hubbard
The Owl And The Pussy Cat
The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See...
The Old Man Of Lochnagar
The Old Man Of Lochnagar
   

P

The Papertown Paperchase
The Papertown Paperchase
 The Pied Piper
The Pied Piper
 The Plotters Of Cabbage Patch Corner
The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner

The Porridge Pincher - A Rhyming Play
   

R

 Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Rock Navity
Rock Nativity
Rupert and the Green Dragon
Rupert and the Green Dragon

S

Save The Human
Save The Human
The Sea Saw Tree
The See-Saw Tree
The Selfish Shellfish
The Selfish Shellfish
Spots Christmas Party
Spot's Birthday Party
   

T

The Owl And The Pussy Cat
There was an Old Woman...
Tickle
Tickle (One Act)
The Witches
The Witches
The Twits
The Twits
Tom's Midnight Garden
Tom's Midnight Garden
The Tiger Who Came To TeaThe Tiger Who Came To Tea

 

Theatre For Children : Guide To Writing, Adapting, Directing And Acting
Writen with Janet Grant


Presenting theatre for children as a separate art form, David Wood draws upon his experiences as a magician, actor, director, producer, composer and playwright, and analyses the skills involved in entertaining and involving audiences of children everywhere.

He reveals his special techniques for catching and holding a child's attention, provides a practical step-by-step guide illustrated with excerpts from his plays, and gives a behind-the scenes look at the work that goes into them. He also examines the business side, showing exactly how a good synopsis will help to sell an idea. This book has become a set text in the UK and also in the USA.

This book is avaliable to buy for £10.00


Most of David Wood's plays are published by Samuel French Limited, and can be bought from the Samuel French shop or by mail order. The plays are also available from David, but not at reduced prices. Here is a complete list.

CHILDREN’S PLAYS AND MUSICALS BY DAVID WOOD

Title Credits Publisher
P&P Price
ALADDIN   Samuel French Ltd.
8.50
BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG Based on the book by Dick King-Smith Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
BABES IN THE MAGIC WOOD   Samuel French Ltd.
8.50
THE BFG Based on the book by Roald Dahl Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
CINDERELLA   Samuel French Ltd.
8.50
CINDERELLA
Collins  £5.00
DANNY CHAMPION OF THE WORLD Based on the book by Roald Dahl Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
DICK WHITTINGTON AND WONDERCAT   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH Based on the book by Michael Foreman Samuel French Ltd.
£8.50
FANTASTIC MR FOX Based on the book by Roald Dahl Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
FLIBBERTY AND THE PENGUIN   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE Based on the book by Roald Dahl, Publisher Samuel French Ltd.   £9.50
THE GINGERBREAD MAN   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
HIJACK OVER HYGENIA   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE IDEAL GNOME EXPEDITION   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
JACK AND THE GIANT   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
JACK THE LAD Co-written with Dave & Toni Arthur Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
JACK AND THE BAKED BEAN STALKCollins£5.00
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
LADY LOLLIPOP Based on the book by Dick King-Smith Walker Books
5.99
LARRY THE LAMB IN TOYTOWN Co-written with Sheila Ruskin adapted from the stories of S.G. Hulme-Beaman Samuel French Ltd.
7.95
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S LUNCH    Based on the book by Ronda & David Armitage    Josef Weinberger Ltd £16.95
MEG AND MOG SHOW From the books by Helen Nicoll and Jan Piénkowski Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
MORE ADVENTURES OF NODDY Based on the stories by Enid Blyton Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
MOTHER GOOSE’S GOLDEN CHRISTMAS   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
NODDY Based on the stories by Enid Blyton Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
NUTCRACKER SWEET   Samuel French Ltd.

£9.50

OLD FATHER TIME   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE OLD MAN OF LOCHNAGAR Based on the book by HRH The Prince of Wales Samuel French Ltd.
6.99
OLD MOTHER HUBBARD   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE... Co-written with Sheila Ruskin Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE PAPERTOWN PAPERCHASE   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE PIED PIPER Co-written with Dave & Toni Arthur Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE PORRIDGE PINCHER Collins £5.00
ROBIN HOOD Co-written with Dave & Toni Arthur Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
ROCK NATIVITY Co-written with Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent Josef Weinberger Ltd
£8.95
RUPERT AND THE GREEN DRAGON Based on the Rupert stories and characters by Mary Tourtel and Alfred Bestall Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
SAVE THE HUMAN Based on the story by Tony Husband & David Wood Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE SEE-SAW TREE   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE SELFISH SHELLFISH   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
SPOT'S BIRTHDAY PARTY Based on the books by Eric Hill Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN…   Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
TICKLE (one act)   Samuel French Ltd.
£5.50
TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN Based on the book by Philippa Pearce Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE TWITS Based on the book by Roald Dahl Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50
THE WITCHES Based on the book by Roald Dahl Samuel French Ltd.
£9.50

 

General : List of plays and musicals - David Wood