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80) Shaun 
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Thursday, 1 September 2016 20:28 Write a comment

Dear Mr. Wood,

I am co-directing an amateur production of your wonderful play; James and the Giant Peach. Firstly, I want to say how fun it is working with your script. It is my first experience with children's theatre (other than panto) and I'm thoroughly enjoying. We are still in the early stages but, your script is pure gold for a director!

I wanted to ask your opinion on a little creative issue that we've been having. In your script, you suggest a total of 6 a actors, 5 of which double as insects etc. Due to logistics, we have cast a total of 7 adult actors, plus several children to play James and the chorus.

Similarly to your original, we have the 7 adult actors playing multiple roles, which is a brilliant theatrical device. But we feel that stylistically, that the script works best if all of the adults have an "insect" counterpart. This is a problem as in the script there is only 5 insects and we have 7 adults.

However, in the original book, there are two extra insects - Silkworm and Glowworm. So we have been toying with the idea of writing them in. What are your thoughts on this? We have been scratching our heads, trying to decide if this would work, and we thought who better to ask than you!

We know that you omitted those characters for a reason. And it is very clear, that they don't do an awful lot in the book. But do you think they can be written into the play without looking too forced? Do you think 7 insects will just be over cluttered?

Of course we have many ideas whizzing around of our own, on how this could work. But we thought we should ask your opinion, seeing are so open to discussion and know the play better that anyone else! So we thought, we'd just ask what you think, and maybe if you did have any suggestions?

Thank you so much in advance,


David Wood Monday, 5 September 2016 15:37
Thanks, Shaun, for your message. Delighted that you are enjoying working with my adaptation of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.

I would rather you didn't try to 'write in' the two extra insects. As you say, they were omitted for a purpose. It would be too complicated to involve them in the action, without considerably extending the scenes.

However, what I suggest is that you have two actors play the two Aunts, without them having to double with an insect role. You will find this helps, because the quick changes necessary if all four roles are played by the two actors can be a real problem! Not only that, to have two 'dedicated' Aunts could be an advantage, costume-wise and character-wise, depending on who you choose to play them!

Hope this works for you and that everybody enjoys the production.

All good wishes,

79) sara athari 
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Wednesday, 29 June 2016 09:31 Write a comment

Hello I am Sarah from Iran. I graduated from university I analyzed the gingerbread man plays you're a great writer. smile

David Wood Thursday, 30 June 2016 15:13
Thank you for your message, Sarah. I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed my plays and that you have graduated successfully!

All good wishes,

78) J Smith 
West Midlands
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Sunday, 19 June 2016 19:35 Write a comment

Well this is the third message l have left you, had no reply from my first two, must be something wrong with me. All l want to do is buy some books off you.

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:19
First, sincere apologies for the delay, but we have been experiencing problems with receiving messages from the website. Hopefully this is now sorted, but I realise you first wrote to me on the 5th June and I’m sorry it has taken so long to reply. I see that your grandson’s birthday is at the beginning of July. If you want to put in an order, we will send off the books straightaway, if necessary before we receive payment.

MOLE'S SUMMER STORY, SCARY MARY and SILLY SPIDER posted together would cost a total of £18.50 including postage and packing.
77) Maria Hart (Whittern) 
Keynsham, Bath & NE Somerset
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Saturday, 18 June 2016 00:33 Write a comment

Hello David. I have just Google'd 'The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner, Little Thatre Bristol. To my delight it is recorded as playing there in 76/77. I remembered going to see this play and it has stayed with me all these years. My twin doesn't recall it or other junior school friends. I am so pleased as I can see the actors faces in my minds eye dressed as garden creatures. If anyone has photos of the Bristol production it would be great to see them. I loved it. I am 50 and saw this when I was 10. I have a special memory because of the school trip and the content of the play. I am more pleased to realise that it wasn't a figment of my imagination and I did see it at the Little Theatre.

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:35
Thanks, Maria, for your lovely message. I remember that production of PLOTTERS very well. It was directed by David Horlock, with whom I had been at school in Chichester. He was a year or two ahead of me, but we both ended up going to Oxford and from there into the professional theatre. Jenny Galloway played Maggot.

I’m sure that the Bristol Old Vic, of which the Little Theatre was a part, will have an archive. It may even be lodged with the University of Bristol Drama Department. I’m sure you might find photos of the production there.

The play had success in London for two years at the Shaw Theatre, and several repertory theatres produced it, just like Bristol. It is still performed, more than forty years later, in schools and by youth groups, and it is quite popular in Germany!

The play is published by Samuel French Ltd., if you were ever interested to read it!

Thank you so much for remembering the play with affection!

All good wishes,

76) Jenny 
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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 18:58 Write a comment

Dear David
I hope this finds you well. My story I'm afraid does not have a happy ending and I'm reaching out for your help.
A now 73 year old nun did your wonderful Cinderella adaptation many years ago. She was kind enough to lend her only score to have it binned by a corporate company where it was left in reception for collection and return. The company in question have not been helpful (at all) in assisting here and I feel terribly responsible. She is a collector and has many many scores. Is there any way we could replace this score for her.? Thank you for your taking the time to read this
Kindest regards

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:30
Thanks, Jenny for your message. I will send you an e-mail in reply. Delighted that my CINDERELLA adaptation found favour!

Best wishes,

75) Rodney Pearson 
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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 12:38 Write a comment

Dear David
I'm currently re-reading the Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner and the Papertown Paperchase with a view to directing as the January show for Cobham Players. I love them both. I have the original and revised editions of Papertown but has Plotters been revised? My 'used' copy, which I bought on the internet, looks like a SF original and dates from well before 1980.
Kind regards

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:33
Thanks, Rodney. Sorry for the delayed reply.

PLOTTERS has never been revised. Maybe it should be! I have always felt that the first half was a bit long!

THE PAPERTOWN PAPERCHASE was revised simply as a result of me directing it myself several years after the original production. I was fortunate enough to be able to re-shape it a bit in the rehearsal room!

Do hope you decide to do one of the two plays. Let me know dates if you do!

All good wishes,
74) Judith Selves 
East Grinstead, Sussex
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Friday, 10 June 2016 16:09 Write a comment

The Owl and the Pussycat went to See.
Dear Mr Wood,
I saw this play performed by Burgess Hill Theatre Club about 20 years ago and never forgot the villainous Plum Pudding Flea and other scroobidobious characters. Moving to present day, I found myself in a wonderful Prep School, with the responsibility of having to direct the 'Year 6 Play!' Owl and Puss was certainly a challenging play for thirty two 10-11 year olds, but they really did it proud when they performed it on 27th May. As a first time director, they really did me proud too and can honestly say that watching their performance was one of my career highlights. The children - thespians and audience alike went crazy for it and it was very well received by colleagues and parents. With thanks and very warm regards.
Judith Selves

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:26
Thanks, Judith for your message.

Delighted that THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE... went well! And that you have been invited to direct another play!

NUTCRACKER SWEET might not offer you enough opportunities for a large cast. But it is a play that I remember working very well when I directed it!

You might also look at THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER, which is about insects in a garden. THE PAPERTOWN PAPERCHASE is also worth looking at. There is a revised version – ask Samuel French to make sure you get that one!

Or you might fancy tackling a Dahl adaptation! THE WITCHES might be a little old for your age group, but probably not! FANTASTIC MR FOX would be particularly doable!

Very good luck with it all. Let me know what you decide and I will try to come to the school, if you wanted me to!

All good wishes,

73) Mrs J. Smith 
West Midlands
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Sunday, 5 June 2016 11:49 Write a comment

Hi David.
I would like to order 3 of your books for my grandson. The books l want are Silly Spider, Scary Mary and Moles Summer Story.
Could you tell me how l go about ordering them, and what the cost would be including post and packaging.
Thanking you
Josephine Smith
72) Gary Kennedy 
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Wednesday, 18 May 2016 15:17 Write a comment

Hi David
Rock Nativity is still popular. I first performed it with my youth group in 1983 now some 33 years later I am producing it for my daughter's youth group and I still remember most of the words (mind you I can't remember what I did yesterday).Keep up the good work all the best Gary

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:23
Thanks, Gary, for your message. I’m delighted to hear that you are producing ROCK NATIVITY. It is rewarding to know that the show is still performed and is still popular!

Tony Hatch and I keep in touch and meet up from time to time. We have not given up hope of a major professional production of ROCK NATIVITY being put on, but it’s not easy! One of the reasons why, perhaps, the show never received a West End outing, is that the title can be a bit of a problem. Some people are put off by the word ‘rock’ and other people are put off by the word ‘nativity’! We had originally wanted to call it FOLLOW THE STAR, but were gazumped by another writing team!

You may know that some years ago Weinbergers, the publishers, issued a demo CD featuring members of the National Youth Music Theatre. Sheridan Smith was in the chorus! If you don’t have a copy, and would like one, contact Weinbergers and ask for one!

All good wishes and good luck for the show.
71) tashi 
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Wednesday, 18 May 2016 10:11 Write a comment

can i download these plays to use in school plays

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:12
Thanks, Tashi for your message.

My plays are published and licensed mainly by Samuel French Ltd – []

I think you are writing from outside the UK. You may have a Samuel French agent in your area, to whom you could talk.

The plays do need a licence and do command a small royalty per performance.

All good wishes,

70) Lauren Canfield 
South Carolina, USA
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Thursday, 12 May 2016 12:21 Write a comment

Mr. Wood,
I am interested in perusing your play "Goodnight, Mr. Tom" in hopes of using it as our middle school main stage play this coming school year. I am having trouble finding who holds the North American rights. Can you help?

David Wood Monday, 27 June 2016 15:32
Thanks, Lauren, for your message. Apologies for the delay. GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM is published by Samuel French, and the American branch of the company, Samuel French Inc. are looking after the rights. However, I don’t know whether I have actually signed a contract to this effect, so the Samuel French staff in New York might not yet have information.

I will forward this message to Amy Marsh at Samuel French Inc. in the hope that she will help you.

All good wishes,

69) Natasha Weldon 
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016 23:35 Write a comment

Hello David.
I was one of the child extras in Aladdin performed at Queen a Theatre in Hornchurch in 1980.. I have vague memories of some sort of f the songs in that show but wondered if there is anywhere I could access them to hear the again, that you are aware of?
Thank you
68) Andrew Wilson 
Dudley, West Midlands
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Monday, 7 March 2016 13:20 Write a comment

Dear David
I teach drama at Dudley College and about 10 years ago I came across you wonderful 'Save the Human' and used it as an engaging and challenging piece for a group of special needs learners. I cut down the script to make it manageable and it was very successful and enjoyable in-class project. The themes of the play are more relevant than ever and it came to mind when considering a Community Arts Project for Level 2 learners to perform. Have you done any rewrites or amendments in the intervening years?

David Wood Tuesday, 8 March 2016 15:26
Thanks, Andrew. Delighted to hear that you like SAVE THE HUMAN. I was always rather proud of this play, which sadly didn't get much attention after the original production, which I directed for the Cambridge Theatre company and then for my own Whirligig Theatre.

I will reply more fully to you, in answer to your question.

All good wishes.

67) Richard Williams 
St. Neots
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016 00:13 Write a comment

Hi David, am I right in thinking you used to be on Playaway on the BBC? I used to like that programme with Brian Cant etc.
Kind regards, Richard.

David Wood Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:38
Thanks, Richard, for your message. Yes, indeed, I was a semi-regular on PLAY AWAY for several years back in the 70s! Brian Cant and Toni Arthur were the regulars, but several of us used to come in and out each series, people like Julie Stevens, Chloe Ashcroft, Floella Benjamin (all regulars on PLAY SCHOOL) plus occasional one-off visits from Julie Covington, Jeremy Irons and Tony Robinson. Music was, of course, provided by the wonderful Jonathan Cohen, along with Spike on bass and Alan on drums. The programmes were a joy to do, and they often started on BBC2, later to be shown on BBC1.

So pleased you remember ...

All good wishes.

66) Kate 
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Wednesday, 27 January 2016 21:40 Write a comment

Dear David,

On behalf of the family I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful books we received today, the girls are just delighted with them, as am I, made all the more special by you signing them. My daughter can't wait to Take them to show and tell in the morning. I have to say between her coming home, homework and bedtime we have already done THREE performances of Cinderella, she was a great Cinderella but her star turn was the ugly sisters! I have to say though the whole show was rather stolen by my one year olds performance of a mouse, his squeaking along side his siblings was adorable and that he could join in was real special. Thank you so much for giving me this wonderful evening with my children. I have no doubt I will be sending for some more of your books and plays very soon.

The best of wishes to you
Kate x

David Wood Monday, 1 February 2016 10:54
Thanks, Kate.

Delighted the books have gone down well!

All good wishes to you and your family.

Best, David.
65) Karol Steele 
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Saturday, 23 January 2016 09:30 Write a comment

Why won't they release Jackanory: The Hobbit on DVD?

I loved it - even though I was 17 at the time! It was the perfect way of de-stressing after a day at school studying for my Maths, Physics and Chemistry A-Levels!

Please persuade Aunty Beeb to release this marvellous piece of televisual history into the wild.

David Wood Monday, 25 January 2016 12:20
Thanks, Karol, for your message.

I agree with you! It would be great if the JACKANORY Hobbit could come out on DVD. But it took decades for it to come out as a CD! I think the reason was that the Tolkien Estate felt that there were too many versions of The Hobbit on the market, and refused the BBC permission to release it – as a video in those days!

Another possibility, of course, is that the BBC wiped it. Many programmes around that time were lost, because they were saving on recording tape! However, I suspect that is not the case with The Hobbit, because the audio content on the CD sounds very fresh, and was presumably taken off the original video tapes ...

Maybe you could write to the BBC!

The programmes (ten of them) were lovely to do. We recorded them at the old Lime Grove Studios. We were in a studio next to the GRANDSTAND Studio, where Des Lynham was introducing live the Saturday afternoon programme. In our lunch break Bernard Cribbins and I crept in to watch, and were tempted to interrupt the broadcast!! But we were too law-abiding!

Incidentally, I hope you passed your A-levels and that watching JACKANORY was never blamed for low grades!

All good wishes.

64) Carolyn Spice 
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Thursday, 14 January 2016 16:48 Write a comment

Hi David
I can't find any mention on your website about The Owl and the Pussycat in Edinburgh in 1974 or 1975. I know I saw it and loved it. I took a 6 year old boy who went on to become a professional playwright!Can you confirm I am not imagining this!

Carolyn Spice

David Wood Monday, 18 January 2016 10:33
Thanks, Carolyn for your message. Delighted to hear that you remember with pleasure THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE...

The play was first performed in 1968, and first seen in London in 1969. In the early 70’s, Cameron Mackintosh and I toured the play a couple of times, and I feel sure that it was one of these tours that came to Edinburgh in 1974 or 1975. There is the possibility that the play was performed by a local company at, say, the Churchill Theatre, or even that the Lyceum produced it as a Christmas show. But I’m afraid I don’t have records of every single touring date or production going back that far!

In 2018, the play will be celebrating its 50th anniversary! I’m hoping that we might be able to mount a production to coincide! Over the years the play has been performed in nearly all the repertory/regional theatres of the UK, and a very nice album was released by Philips in the early 1970s, featuring Harry Secombe as the Quangle Wangle, Roy Castle as the Owl and Hattie Jacques as the Pussycat! I was lucky enough to play the Turkey! All the tracks are available now on iTunes.

I was delighted to hear that the young person you took to see the play went on to become a professional playwright!

All good wishes.

63) Katherine Gee Perrone 
Seattle, WA
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Monday, 11 January 2016 15:55 Write a comment

David, I was 18 when I picked up your book "Writing for Children" on a trip to New York city. Nearly 12 years later, I am getting my MFA in playwriting, and have tried my best to write good plays for children, both to see and perform in. I have learned so much from your teachings, and the productions of the plays I have seen. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and words. If there was endless time, I would love to pick your brain and ask you all the questions that have boiled up in me over the years as I try to focus on becoming a excellent storyteller for children. But knowing your time is limited, I just want to send my enormous thanks for your remarkable and innovative example.

David Wood Tuesday, 19 January 2016 10:50
Thanks so much, Katherine, for your message.

Delighted to hear that my book has been helpful, and I wish you the very best for all you do now and in the years ahead.

Meanwhile, give my best wishes to Seattle and, if you are in touch with them, Seattle Children’s Theatre. I see that Linda Hartzell is leaving, which will be the end of an era!

Thanks again for taking the trouble to write.

All good wishes.

62) Kate Archer 
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Wednesday, 6 January 2016 13:53 Write a comment

Dear David,

I am writing to you to seek your advice please, but first I must say I have been directed to you by my lovely Aunt who is an ex English and Drama teacher (college years but she certainly knew your work and you were the first name out of her lips!) and wow, I feel very ashamed that I am not familiar with your work and how much you have written, so I truly apologise as I really don't know how I have missed you.

I am a mother of three children but only one of school age (currently 6), I'm sure your aware they go to school later in Scotland. My daughter is currently in P2 and was recently tested in school along with the other children on their maths and English skills using an external test, and I'm pleased to say she did very well. When we were given the results they came with recommendations for furthering her development in each subject and one of the recommendations for my daughter was to expand her reading by giving her more plays, poems, fiction and non-fiction to read. We have lots of poetry/nursery rhyme books and with two girls we have LOT'S of the classic fairy tale story books, we also are big fans of Juliia Donaldson, but we have limited non-fiction and NO plays!!! This has lead me to you (via my Aunt!) and now I have been on your site I'm not sure where to start or what quite to do hence my request for your help.

I would really like to purchase some plays but am not sure which ones to start with? My daughter loves to read and asked for books for her Christmas, she now also likes to read the bedtime story to us so they need to be something she could manage, obviously with my help also if needs be. They will be for reading in the home, mainly me and my daughter at first but as the younger children start to learn to read we can all be involved as a family. As I'm unfamiliar with your work I'm not sure if there are some smaller pieces to get us started or should I stick to a familiar classic i.e. Cinderella (I would like at least one to be one of your originals) or should I start with a book and a play? I notice you do a book with a few plays in you can see I'm in a bit of a quandary and so look to you for some guidance! Any recommendations you can give me on where to start our David Wood adventure would be greatly appreciated please. I do apologise for the long winded message but look forward to your response and to getting started.

Very best wishes

David Wood Tuesday, 19 January 2016 10:46
Thanks, Kate, for your e-mail. I would suggest you look at three plays of mine published by Big Cat, the educational part of HarperCollins. These plays are written in rhyme, and introduce the idea of different characters speaking. They are CINDERELLA (ISBN No. 978-0-00-733618-0), THE PORRIDGE PINCHER (ISBN No. 978-0-00-746208-7) and JACK AND THE BAKED BEANSTALK (ISBN. No. 978-0-00-722875-1).

Your daughter may be a little young for Roald Dahl, but you might look at my four Puffin papaerback books that contain playlets adapted from my full-length adaptations of THE BFG (ISBN No. 978-0-140-36367-8), THE TWITS (ISBN No. 0-14-131596-2), THE WITCHES (ISBN No. 978-0-141-31084-8) and DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD (ISBN No. 978-0-141-32376-3).

If you fancy introducing your daughter to some of my full-length plays, I would suggest THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE... (Samuel French ISBN No. 0-573-05027-9). This could be read in conjunction with Edward Lear’s verses and stories, upon which the play is based, using lots of other Lear characters. And THE GINGERBREAD MAN (Samuel French ISBN No. 0-573-05042-2).

THE GINGERBREAD MAN was originally written as a play (the Samuel French edition, as above), but is also available as a storybook and two DVDs from the television animation series.

Most of the items above will be available via Amazon, but I can also supply them. If you want details of cost, including postage, just let me know.

All good wishes.

61) Nicola G 
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015 23:11 Write a comment

Dear David,

Thank you for sending me a copy of Mole's Bedtime Story last week.

The book first came to my attention many years ago when I worked in a library in my late teens. It was the most popular book for younger children that we had and it was always returned with positive comments from parents.

I bought a copy for my nephew a few years later and he always enjoyed the story.

Moving forward a number of years and I now have my own child. It was time to have a copy of the book back in the family.

Mole arrived last week and we have read the story many times. My three year old has already memorised many of the words and will 'read' the adventure himself.

It is with delight to say 'thank you' for the pleasure I have experienced and witnessed from Mole's tale. I think some of the other slot tales will be making their way to us this year.

Kind Regards,


David Wood Wednesday, 8 April 2015 17:08
Thanks, Nicola, for your very kind and encouraging message! MOLE'S BEDTIME STORY was indeed quite successful when it was originally published. Later on, Richard Fowler provided new illustrations and the book was republished. Richard and I had hoped that the character of Mole could be developed further, with counting books, colouring books, activity books etc., as well as more stories, but we only managed to produce three! The original plus MOLE'S SUMMER STORY (still available) and MOLE'S WINTER STORY (sadly no longer in print).

However, our other three pop-in-the-slot books are still available, FUNNY BUNNY'S MAGIC SHOW, SCARY MARY and SILLY SPIDER. Hopefully they will give pleasure to you and your child in due course!

All good wishes.

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