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Book, music & lyrics by David Wood

THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN... was first produced at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester in 1979. Productions since include Nottingham Playhouse, the Palace Theatre, Watford, Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, and the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham.

There have also been many amateur productions. The play was written specifically as a small cast musical, but with a large chorus of children.


Mother Shipton is written as a ‘Dame’ character, but she has been played successfully by both male and female actors.

Though Mother Shipton’s shoe is crowded to its laces, she lives there happily with her vast brood of children, among them Jack and Jill. Unfortunately, however, the shoe is actually the property of a Giant, who lost it and has been looking for it – with one bare foot – ever since.

One day The Great Boon arrives, a genial and charming, but not terribly efficient, magician, looking for a Circus in which he is due to appear. His attempts to save Mother Shipton and family from the Giant involve the loss of her shoe because he is unable to bring the Giant down to human size and harmlessness without also reducing the shoe. However, after a lot of adventures and muddled magic all ends happily.

There is even a Circus with all the acts provided by Mother Shipton’s talented children.


Six principals, plus twenty children.


“Delightful characters … whatever you do don’t miss this super summer pantomime.”
Leicester Mercury

“A delightful summer pantomime for young ones up to about the 11 year mark … David Wood – the nation’s king of plays for children - has wondered about that over-productive female housed in an outsize example of footwear.”
Nottingham Evening Post


The Owl And The Pussy CatThe play and piano/vocal score are published by Samuel French Ltd. First Class Professional & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Repertory Rights : Samuel French Ltd. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd. US Stock and Amateur Rights: Samuel French Inc.