Latest News

Latest News and Forthcoming Productions


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My adaptation of Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA returns to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket for a fifth summer season. We are now in our sixteenth year of the production, which is also currently on tour throughout the UK.

For more details please visit

The Tiger Who Came to Tea - Theatre Royal, Haymarket 2024


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Philip Hawkins, for whom I have already enjoyed online conversations about THE NEW AVENGERS and IF…., is organising another one about SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS. Sophie Neville, who played Titty, Peter Robb-King, the make-up artist, and I will meet up on Zoom on Saturday, 15th June at 7.00 pm.

To register, go to

Swallows & Amazons 50th Anniversary Celebration


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On April 6th 2024, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the release of the film version of Arthur Ransome’s SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, for which I wrote the screenplay. The memorable reunion took place of the four Swallows and one of the two Amazons, who had not been all together in one space since filming in the Lake District half a century ago! Sophie Neville, who played Titty in the film, and who has been flying the flag ever since, notably in her book THE MAKING OF SWALLOWS & AMAZONS, has described the screening and Q&A sessions at the wonderful Cinema Museum on her website, and has allowed me to share it here.

Click here for more details


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It’s good to know that my 1997 adaptation of Dick King-Smith’s classic children’s novel, THE SHEEP-PIG is still alive and well. Here is a link to a youth theatre production in Finland, coming up in the summer of 2024. The title of the play, BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG, attempts to link the book with the celebrated film version. We toured the play with my company, Whirligig Theatre, in 1997, and it has received many productions since.

Click here for more details


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THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, my adaptation/direction of Judith Kerr’s children’s classic, has set off on its UK tour. Details can be found here

Here is a photo of Team Tiger

Team Tiger 2024

Back row, L to R: Edward Jackson (Company Stage Manager), David Wood (Adaptor/Director), Scott Howlett (Tiger Understudy/ASM), Holly Clack (Understudy/Wardrobe), Joseph Saunders (Tiger/Daddy)

Front row, L to R: Emma Clayton (Associate Director/Choreographer), Tia Bunce (Sophie), Ellie Shove (Mummy)

A second production will be returning to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket for a summer West End season 2024. Details are on the website


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In 1974 the family film, SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, for which I wrote the screenplay, was released and well received. Over the years it has been shown many times on television. Arthur Ransome’s classic children’s novel is still very popular. The Cinema Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary with a screening and a Q&A, featuring all four Swallows. They were children then, but now they are all in their 60s! I will also be there to be interviewed by Brian Sibley.

Here are details of the event: Event Details


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2024 sees the 50th anniversary of the film of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, for which I wrote the screen play. Several celebratory activities are planned, including screenings and Q&A sessions at The Cinema Museum on Saturday April 6th. Meanwhile, here is an interview I gave to Peter Willis for the The Arthur Ransome Society magazine, the name of which is Signals.

Click here for the interview: Interview


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I'm grateful to the Society for Theatre Research for publishing, on their website, my History of Whirligig Theatre, the company I co-ran for 25 years, and which produced many of my children's plays.

Here is the link:


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For many years I have been delighted to be a Patron of the Wimbledon BookFest, the highly successful programme of events that is arranged annually by the highly dedicated Fiona Razvi, and Mandy Mallen. On October 20th, I had the pleasure of interviewing Timothy West, author of a new book, PRU AND ME, in which he writes about his long and happy marriage to Prunella Scales. Tim is one of the most versatile actors we have. He is as at home with Shakespeare as he is with Eastenders! It was a pleasure to talk to him, in front of a sold-out audience.

David Wood interviews Timothy West


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As a proud member of The Frank Matcham Society, I was delighted to be interviewed by Giles Woodforde for the Society’s magazine. Many years ago Giles, when working for BBC Radio Oxford, used to interview me about my children’s plays when they played a week at the Oxford Playhouse. Now we chatted about my FRANK EXCHANGES memoir, featuring another Frank, Frank Whitbourn, and also talked about theatre design. Here is the article.

Matcham Article page 1

Matcham Article page 2


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In 1982 I was thrilled to be asked to play Paula Wilcox’s husband in a Radio 4 series called SEMI CIRCLES, written by my friend and fellow writer Simon Brett. Produced and directed by Pete Atkin, the series was about a young couple aspiring to what they believe are the finer things of life. We had a wonderful time recording these programmes, and it is thanks to Simon’s acute and witty take on contemporary life that the issues in the series still seem very relevant. The episodes are currently being repeated yet again on Radio 4 Extra, going on air each Monday.

Semi Circles


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It doesn’t seem possible, but it is almost exactly sixty years since I started my university course at Worcester College, Oxford. I was very fortunate to be accepted to read English with Professor Christopher Ricks, the brilliant scholar and critic who has just reached the age of 90! The latest edition of the College magazine has kindly given me an interview/photo. See below.

Worcester College Magazine 2023 - Article

Worcester College Magazine 2023 - David Wood


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On August 7th 2023 I was delighted to be invited to BBC Radio London to be interviewed by Robert Elms, and to become a 'Listed Londoner'. To hear my thoughts about living in London, please click here.


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We have been busy rehearsing my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, getting ready to open on July 10th at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, for a summer season, running until September 3rd. This will be the ninth West End season, and our fifteenth year of producing the play. Our second Team Tiger are currently touring the UK. I have been, as director, fortunate enough to retain the same creative team over all these years. We enjoy coming together again and re-creating the classic story. Here is a photo of the Haymarket team. L-R Emma Clayton (Assistant director/Choreographer), Scott Penrose (Magical Supervisor), Reece Kilminster (ASM/Understudy), Abbey Norman (Sophie), Paul Sockett (Daddy/Milkman/Postman/Tiger), Jenanne Redman (Mummy), Abi Harvey (Understudy/Wardrobe), David Wood (Adaptor/Director).

Here is a link to the Tiger website -

Team Tiger Haymarket 2023.

Team Tiger Haymarket 2023


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Philip Hawkins, who produces the interesting LIVES IN THE PICTURES series of interviews and discussions about iconic films and television shows, invited Malcolm McDowell and myself to chat about our memories of working with Lindsay Anderson in his classic 1968 film, IF…. We talked via Zoom, with Malcolm in California, and me in Wimbledon! We much enjoyed looking back, and hope that our audience did too.

Now the event is available on YouTube. Here is the link -

Malcolm McDowell and David Wood reunited


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Here is the front cover of my new book, FRANK EXCHANGES, which is published on June 28th. If you feel the urge to purchase a copy (!), you can pre-order from the publisher, using this link: or save £1 and buy it from Amazon here: Other online retailers are advertising it too!

Frank Exchanges


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David Chadderton, of the British Theatre Guide, offered to talk to me about FRANK EXCHANGES, my forthcoming memoir, a collection of letters between myself and my mentor. The conversation developed into a consideration of children's theatre over the last fifty years or so! As a result, the interview was possibly longer than David expected. It is available on YouTube.

Here is the link


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Correspondence between my mentor and myself has been edited into FRANK EXCHANGES, to be published by The Book Guild in June.

Here is the press release:

Frank Exchanges

Advance orders can be made by contacting The Book Guild.


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The 2023 UK tour of my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA continues. Venues and performance times can be found at Meanwhile, we are preparing to open the West End production for an eight week summer season at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. First performance July 10th. Delighted that TIGER is now in its 15th year of production.


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Recently I recorded an audiobook version of my book THE SEE-SAW TREE, based on my play of the same name. It is available from Google Play and other retailers.

The See-Saw Tree Audiobook


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A delightful new independent cinema has arrived near Holborn/Covent Garden, in Parker Street. Delighted to be attending a screening of IF…., and doing a Q&A afterwards. It takes place on March 9th at 8.00 pm. I also hope to sell a few copies of my FILMING IF…. book. This year sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lindsay Anderson, the legendary director of IF….

Here is the link to the Garden Cinema:


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Here is news of a Zoom event, during which participants watch and discuss the film NORTH SEA HIJACK. I am a guest at the event, having acted in the film way back in 1979! I well remember my scenes with Roger Moore and Anthony Perkins. Most of all, I remember many days setting off from the port of Galway at 6.00 am, in an oil rig supply vessel, looking for bad weather, returning ten or twelve hours later. Happy days!

North Sea Hijack a Celebration


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Delighted to confirm that my adaptation/production of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, based on the classic picture book by Judith Kerr, will be touring the UK throughout 2023, and will also be paying a flying visit to Singapore! I find it hard to believe that it is fifteen years since we first put on the play, which has been playing continuously – except for the pandemic months – ever since. This year we open at Dorking Halls on January 31st. See the list of venues and dates and times on the show’s website.

Here is the link:

Here is Team Tiger 2023 in the rehearsal room.

Team Tiger 2023

Front row, L to R: Emma Clayton (Assistant Director/Choreographer), Millie Robins (Sophie) and Katie Tripp (Mummy)

Back row, L to R: David Wood (Adaptor/Director), Tia Bunce (alternate/Wardrobe), Benjamin Stone (Tiger/Daddy/Milkman/Postman), Jack Huckin (Understudy/Assistant Stage Manager) and Zoe Doy (Company Manager)


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I recently recorded an audiobook version of my memoir ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S KISS And Other Brushes with Hollywood. It is now available from various retailers. Here are the links to some of them!







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Chris Grimes interviewed me for his show, and has kindly made it available for you to listen on my website. Many years ago Chris gained his Equity Card by understudying Peter Duncan in my Whirligig Theatre production of DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH. It was good to be reunited with him for this in-depth interview.

Here is the link:


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While TIGER is on at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, I will be giving an event for Seven Stories, all about adapting classic books into plays for children.

Here is the link for more information:


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In 1974 I enjoyed working for Granada Television on the very popular CROWN COURT. Suddenly the episode has turned up on YouTube, and I thought I would add it to the website. Looking back, the whole job was really fun, because my friend Maureen Lipman was the prosecuting counsel, attacking me in the dock! Not only that, my other friend, William Dexter, was in the cast, as was Ronald Lewis, with whom I had worked on a play called TOYS for Yorkshire television. In the cast of that was Janina Faye, who was married to William Dexter!

Here is the link to watch what I think is a rather good production, directed by Anthea Browne-Wilkinson. She was also known to me beforehand, because her relative (not quite sure what the relationship was) was Canon Browne-Wilkinson, who was one of the clergymen at All Saints Church, Banstead, when I was a choir boy from 1952-1954!


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I enjoyed my interview with Brandon Relph for the Children’s Media Conference. It brought back happy memories of my early theatre-going and television-viewing. My thanks to Zoe Daniel, Brandon Relph, Joe Childs and the Children’s Media Conference for permission to post the interview on my website.

Here is the link -


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On August 1st Jo Good interviewed me on BBC Radio London about my memoir, ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S KISS And Other Brushes with Hollywood. I enjoyed the interview very much. Here is the link to the programme. My interview starts 37 minutes in:


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My new memoir is to be published on July 28th. Here is a description of the contents:

In his sparkling new memoir charting his many years in show business, David Wood reflects on his time working alongside several movie legends.

Two of my friends have kindly endorsed the book:

“What a treat. An all-star cast with one thing in common: they worked with David Wood. And just for us he’s brought them to life again – and so vividly – in this irresistible memoir of his ‘brushes with Hollywood’.” – Gyles Brandreth

“It’s a window into another time and some of the wonderful people that David knew when he was just starting his career as a young actor. I couldn’t put it down. It has all the charm and warmth and wit that is David Wood and his lifelong passion for the theatre is inspiring. I loved it.” – Hayley Mills

In this memoir, actor and writer David Wood recalls his ‘brushes with Hollywood’, notably being kissed on the lips by Elizabeth Taylor as midnight struck on his 22nd birthday; playing Richard Burton’s servant on stage in Dr Faustus; being seduced by Shelley Winters in The Vamp, a television two-hander play; hanging upside down from a chandelier and being rescued by David Hemmings in the West End musical Jeeves; singing songs and being shot down in flames as a Royal Flying Corps officer in the film Aces High, in which he was reunited with Malcolm McDowell (his fellow rebel schoolboy in the film If….) and acted alongside Christopher Plummer and Simon Ward; sharing the screen at sea in an oil rig supply vessel with Roger Moore, Anthony Perkins and James Mason in North Sea Hijack; penning the daytime Emmy-nominated Back Home, starring Hayley Mills, thereby becoming a Disney-approved writer; and writing The Queen’s Handbag to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday, performed in Buckingham Palace Gardens and seen live by 8,000,000 BBC TV viewers.

The book’s full title is ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S KISS And Other Brushes with Hollywood, and is published by The Book Guild. Here is a link to the publisher’s website, where copies can be ordered. And here is the link to the Amazon listing


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Here is the new promo advertising our summer season of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket from July 11th to September 4th; view promo.

THE SEE-SAW TREE – The Reviews are in!

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The storybook version of my play THE SEE-SAW TREE was published recently by The Book Guild. The response has been very encouraging, with particular praise for Joanna Padfield’s lovely linocut illustrations.

Here are four 5-star reviews on Amazon; view 5-star reviews.

Here is the link to the entry in Amazon where copies of the book may be bought;

COMING TO ENGLAND – coming to Birmingham!

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My adaptation of Floella Benjamin’s inspirational memoir, COMING TO ENGLAND, opens at Birmingham Rep on Thursday, 31st March and runs until Saturday 16th April. The dates originally announced had to change, because of Covid. But now Omar Okai, the show’s director, has assembled an excellent cast, who will, I’m sure, faithfully act out Floella’s childhood journey from Trinidad, her less-than-welcoming experiences on arrival in London, and the remarkable resilience and determination she showed in her subsequent rise to become a celebrated Dame in the House of Lords.

Here is a link to the Birmingham Rep website information:


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My daughter Rebecca came across this article online. It’s a mystery who the kind writer might be, but I much appreciate his flattering rundown of my acting career! And he has found photographs I have never seen before! My thanks to her or him for bringing back some happy memories. Click here to read the online article.


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The new Team Tiger has been rehearsing in readiness for opening the new tour at the Theatre Royal, Brighton on February 2nd. Here is the company in the Rehearsal Room.

Back – L-R - Scott Penrose (Magic Supervisor) Nicole Roper (Company Stage Manager) James Carlisle (Tiger/Daddy/Milkman/Postman) Tia Bunce (Understudy/Wardrobe) Benjamin Stone (Understudy/ASM) David Wood (Adaptor/Director).

Front – L-R – Emma Clayton (Assistant Director/Choreographer) Jennifer Addey (Sophie) Katie Tripp (Mummy)


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To celebrate the publication of my new book for children, THE SEE-SAW TREE, an event is being organised at The Story Museum, Oxford, during which I will read from the story, and introduce Joanna Padfield, the illustrator, who will show how she creates her beautiful linocut illustrations.

The event is on April 22nd and takes place in my very own theatre! By that I mean The Woodshed, The Story Museum's delightful studio space, which was very kindly named after me.

Here is a link to details of the event on The Story Museum website.


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My new book for children, THE SEE-SAW TREE, is due to be published on February 28th by The Book Guild. Joanna Padfield, the Norfolk artist, has contributed splendid linocuts to illustrate my story. Her style is particularly suited for the animal and bird creatures featured.

THE SEE-SAW TREE started life as a play over 30 years ago. The environmental organisation Common Ground challenged me to write a play about a tree and the result had its première at the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham, followed by my own Whirligig Theatre touring production, which had success at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. The story is all about an ancient oak tree that is in danger of being felled to make way for a supermarket carpark and children’s playground. The problem is viewed from the point of view of the animals and birds who live on and around the tree. It is sad that the story seems even more relevant than it did back in the 1980s. HS2 and the construction of huge warehouses mean many beautiful, healthy trees are being lost. My play was successfully revived by the China National Theatre for Children in Beijing three years ago, and is still in their repertoire. The production reminded me that I had once written a storybook version, which had never seen the light of day. Now I’m delighted to say, thanks to The Book Guild, it will be published.

Here is a link to the Advance Information Sheet.


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Covid has created havoc in the world of the arts, with many theatre productions managing to reopen, but then being stopped in their tracks as members of the cast or crew test positive. My adaptation of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA has managed to keep going, I’m delighted to say. After our very successful summer season at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, we set off on tour, and in spite of the occasional hiccup, never missed a performance. And we also managed to complete our Christmas season at the Arts Depot, Finchley.

Huge thanks to Team Tiger for their talent, loyalty and determination to keep going! They started with us nearly three years ago, rehearsing in February 2019. Jocelyn Zackon, Lizzie Dewar and David Scotland were with us throughout – except, of course, during lockdown. Sarah Horton, our long-serving understudy/wardrobe person, left to have a baby, and we welcomed Tia Bunce to the job. She distinguished herself within the first two weeks of our Theatre Royal, Haymarket season, by playing both Sophie and Mummy (not at the same time!), when Jocelyn and Lizzie were unable to perform. And when Jocelyn was indisposed for a longer period, we welcomed back the original Sophie, the brilliant Abbey Norman, who held the fort splendidly. Graeme Reid was our caring and reliable Company Manager until he was succeeded by the equally efficient Nicole Roper. Glen Newham, who had been our ASM/understudy ever since our season at the Piccadilly Theatre, had some time off, during which we welcomed back Adam Gardiner, who last played Daddy/Tiger in China nearly three years ago. Finally, Stephanie Summers, who started out as the understudy/wardrobe person nearly a decade ago, returned occasionally to stand in as Mummy, a role she had played many times on tour, abroad and in the West End.

My thanks to everybody for helping to keep us on the road, and for making our tour and resident seasons so successful.

On January 10th we are start rehearsing the new Team Tiger, who open at the Theatre Royal, Brighton on February 2nd, and will be touring throughout 2022. I look forward to working with Jennifer Addey (Sophie), Katie Tripp (Mummy) and James Carlisle (Daddy/Tiger) and to welcoming back Nicole Roper, Tia Bunce and Benjamin Stone, our ASM/understudy, who was last with us for our China tour nearly three years ago.

Believe it or not, our production of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is entering its 14th year. I hope Judith Kerr, whose classic picture book inspired my adaptation, would be pleased to know that her Tiger is still roaring. We miss Judith hugely. Next year, 2023, is her centenary, which I hope will be appropriately celebrated.


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During Lockdown I was invited by Philip Hawkins to take part in a Watch Along Party about the episode of The New Avengers I acted in many years ago! It proved to be a very enjoyable session, during which the director of the episode, Ray Austin, Zoomed in from America. The event was recorded and is available to watch on YouTube. Click here.


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With huge pleasure – but with fingers still firmly crossed – I am delighted to report that my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA has at last returned to the stage of the stunningly beautiful Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

On July 12th we welcomed our first audience – socially distanced of course – and it was a real treat to greet our young audience and hear their squeals of surprise and pleasure again.

From July 19th we return to ‘normal’, and advance booking for the show is very encouraging. We will no longer have to socially distance our audience, and will hopefully enjoy a summer season without Covid interruptions. Here is a photo of yours truly surrounded by several members of our brilliant company, standing on stage with the wondrous Haymarket auditorium behind us. Left to right, David Scotland (Tiger/Daddy/milkman /postman), Jocelyn Zackon (Sophie), Glen Newham (Assistant Stage Manager/understudy), David Wood (playwright/director), Stephanie Summers (Mummy) and Tia Bunce (understudy/wardrobe).

Lizzie Dewar will be returning to play Mummy from July 15th. We were very grateful to Stephanie Summers, who played Mummy in the last Haymarket season, for coming back for our opening performances.

When the Haymarket run finishes, Team Tiger will be taking to the road for another UK tour, culminating in a Christmas season back at the delightful Arts Depot in Finchley.


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Birmingham Rep is now selling tickets for my adaptation of Floella Benjamin’s classic book! They have created an effective image for the publicity. Click below to read more details about the production:


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Congratulations to Wimbledon BookFest for organising the Sunrise Festival on Wimbledon Common, 9th-13th June 2021. Open-sided tents will host real live authors talking to real live audiences!

An event to launch my new anthology, David Wood Plays for Five to Twelve Year Olds, will take place at 4.30pm on Wednesday 9th June. I am delighted that Vicky Ireland MBE will interview me. As a former Artistic Director of Polka Theatre, and as the present Chair of Action For Children’s Arts, she is the perfect person with whom to discuss the value of Drama in schools. The event will be aimed at teachers, who can come along in person or can wait to see the recorded version. I’m looking forward to taking part in my first live appearance since the first lockdown in March last year.


To view a recent article from the summer 2021 issue of the magazine Drama and Theatre click here.

To read a review of David Wood Plays for 5-12 Year Olds click here.

To watch David Wood OBE in Conversation with Vicky Ireland MBE at Wimbledon BookFest click here and use password 'Sunr1se2021'.

Sunrise Festival 2021


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Delighted to be able to announce at last that my adaptation of Floella Benjamin’s autobiographical children’s book COMING TO ENGLAND is scheduled to take the stage at Birmingham Rep, opening on February 19th 2022. Dame Floella asked me to adapt her memoir several years ago. Production plans were halted by the pandemic, but now all systems are go. The Guardian announced the show as part of its forthcoming season. Here’s the link:

Link to Guardian announcement

Floella and I first worked together in the 1970s, presenting the BBC programme PLAY AWAY. I was later a guest on her series LAY ON FIVE. I’m delighted to be working with her again. The BBC announced our collaboration. Here’s the link:

Link to BBC announcement

On the Birmingham Rep website, the production is announced as follows; ‘Floella Benjamin’s book about her childhood COMING TO ENGLAND (19 Feb-6 Mar) bursts onto the stage with music, story-telling, humour and pathos in a world-premiere production. Adapted by David Wood, ‘the national children’s dramatist (The Times), this thoughtful stage version of Floella’s inspirational true story follows her difficult and courageous journey towards becoming a TV icon, successful business woman and eventually Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham.’


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With fingers firmly crossed, I’m excited to report that my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is scheduled to return to the splendid Theatre Royal, Haymarket for an eight-week summer season, opening on July 12th. The pandemic cut short our tour in March 2020. We can’t wait to bring our Olivier Award-nominated show back to the West End. Following this season, the production will tour once again. For more information, here is a link to the Haymarket website:

Link to Haymarket website


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The pandemic has, of course, meant that most theatres have been unable to operate, and productions world-wide have been cancelled or postponed. It was heartening, therefore, to hear that my stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE TWITS is to receive a unique professional production at the beautiful Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, in the Covid-free Isle of Man. The enterprising Chloe Shimmin and Michelle James, actors and now producers, with their company Hello Little People, are presenting three performances from 11th-13th June. I wish them well and envy their ability to play to live audiences in these strange times! The lucky children on the Isle of Man are in for a treat!

Click here to read more and book tickets.


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I’m pleased to announce that Methuen Drama, now part of Bloomsbury, is publishing a collection of five of my plays, aimed at schools and drama groups, in the hope that they will be performed by children. The plays are THE GINGERBREAD MAN, THE SEE-SAW TREE, THE BFG, SAVE THE HUMAN and MOTHER GOOSE’S GOLDEN CHRISTMAS. The Teachers’ Notes are by Paul Bateson, and I have written a Foreword. DAVID WOOD PLAYS FOR FIVE TO TWELVE YEAR OLDS will be published on 6th May.

The publishers are offering 35% off the cost of the anthology. Click here for details of a special discount code!

Click here to be taken to the book’s Amazon page.


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My colleague and much-respected CBBC presenter, Chris Jarvis, has interviewed me for Little Radio, his exciting new children’s radio station. I have already recorded some of my poems and stories for Little Radio, and they sometimes play my songs. Chris has kindly allowed me to put the ‘Littlecast’ interview on the website in advance of its airing on Little Radio. In it I talk about my work in children’s theatre and we discuss the parlous position of children’s arts in the pandemic. Click here to listen.


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It’s not everyone that gets a theatre named after them. And I never dreamed I would have such an honour bestowed on me. But, mirabile dictu, that wonderful extremely special institution, The Story Museum in Oxford, have opened their brand new theatre space called ……. the Woodshed. I have been proud to be a Trustee of The Story Museum since its earliest planning stages and have been thrilled to watch it become a reality.

But this is the unlooked for cherry on the cake! I am flattered and delighted and can’t wait to visit, when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, take a look at The Story Museum website – - and watch a storytelling filmed inside the Woodshed - Story Telling.

The Story Museum presents Stories from the Woodshed, a weekly online storytelling series featuring some of the UK’s most celebrated storytellers.


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Much of my archive lives happily at Seven Stories, the splendid institution in Newcastle. The founders were the first to take seriously the idea of collecting the archives of children’s authors and illustrators. I was delighted when they offered to take everything relating to my children’s books and plays. Recently I found this lovely article by an intern who took an interest in my work.

Click here to read it.


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I was pleased to find this blog by Dr Eve Tandoi, who delved into my archive and then wrote about my adaptation of TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN and my correspondence with its brilliant author, Philippa Pearce. The only thing I would like to point out is that Philippa’s frustration at the ‘missed opportunities of ‘opening up’ the story’ referred to the film version, not my play!!!

Click here to read...


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A few years ago Sally Chen, a Professor at the University of Taiwan, translated into Chinese my book THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: A GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING. I’m glad to say that her translation has now been re-issued. Here is the front cover.

Since Sally’s translation first appeared, my play THE SEE-SAW TREE has been successfully produced by the China National Theatre for Children in Beijing, and my adaptation/production of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA has twice toured in China. Hopefully, Sally’s book will encourage more productions.


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During the pandemic, sales of the pop-through-the-slot books created by Richard Fowler and myself have been steady. I’m glad if they are helping parents and carers to entertain small children during these difficult times. It was pleasing to find so many positive reviews of the books on Amazon.

Here is a link to a selection of some of the reviews.


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Richard Fowler and I have realised that our pop-through-the-slot book FUNNY BUNNY’S MAGIC SHOW celebrates its 20th anniversary this year! It’s rather appropriate that 2020 should be the 20th anniversary! So for the rest of this year, whenever I receive an order for the book via Amazon, I will enclose a free copy of our other pop-through-the-slot book, SCARY MARY.

GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM featured in Podcast!

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The enterprising team at the Little Theatre, Leicester, who recently produced my adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, have created a podcast, for which I was pleased to be interviewed about adapting this classic children’s novel. The whole podcast is very interesting. My interview starts at 27 minutes in.

Listen here:


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The enterprising organisers of the Barnes Film Festival are creating an exciting online event this year, with many interesting films and talks. The Festival runs from 18th – 26th June. Full details on On Thursday 25th June at 8.00 pm there will be a screening of Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 film IF…., now regarded by many as a classic. This is the film in which I was lucky enough to play a major role 52 years ago! After the screening I will take part in a Q&A session. My memoir, FILMING IF…., is available direct from me via Amazon.

Malcolm McDowell and David Wood reunited 50 years after filming IF….


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Celebratory Gift!

June 8th 2020 is the 25th anniversary of the publication of MOLE’S BEDTIME STORY, the children’s pop-through-the-slot book, which Richard Fowler and I co-created, and which has remained popular ever since. To celebrate, customers who buy a copy from me via Amazon (click here) will, for a limited time, receive a free copy of our SCARY MARY, which uses the same device of a character (in this case a young hippo) moving through the pages as the story progresses.


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Lockdown led to the cancellation of my Q&A at the screening of IF.... at Chichester University on March 18th. But my book about filming IF.... is still available from Amazon, now with a slightly reduced price! Click here to be directed to Amazon. If you would like me to sign the book, please let me know by sending an email to me at, warning me that an Amazon order is coming!


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An inevitable result of these strange and surreal times is that the tour of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA has had to pause. We don't want to disappoint our audiences, so have created a video storytelling which we hope will bring a little of the magic of Judith Kerr's classic story to everybody who clicks on the link below.

Click here to see the video.


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Congratulations to Axminster Drama Club, whose production of my adaptation of Roald Dahl’s GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, performed in December 2019, has been nominated for a Noda award. The results will be known in May. The award is for Best Company Crafted Production. The Noda reviewer was very complementary about the show.

Click here to see the review.


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Friend and colleague Chris Jarvis, the very popular CBeebies presenter, has invited me to record some of my stories for his Little Radio, a brand new children’s radio station. The first two stories I have recorded are THE PORRIDGE PINCHER and CINDERELLA, both rhyming plays published by Big Cat, the educational arm of HarperCollins. I thoroughly enjoyed being in front of a microphone again! Little Radio can be heard online.

Go to


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Back in 1982 I was lucky enough to co-star with the lovely Paula Wilcox in a Radio 4 comedy series called SEMI CIRCLES. Described as a ‘sitcom about an upwardly mobile husband and wife climbing the social ladder in suburbia’, the series was the creation of Simon Brett, the novelist and playwright. Simon and I were at Oxford, where we co-wrote and appeared in revue. We also discovered that we had been at the same school when we were about nine years old. Pete Atkin, who gained fame as the musician who wrote music for Clive James songs, produced SEMI CIRCLES, which proved to be an immensely enjoyable experience. I loved working on radio, and wish I could have done more!

Now Radio 4 Extra are repeating all the episodes. They go out every Monday at 9.30 am and 4.30 pm. Here is a link: SEMI CIRCLES episodes


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My adaptation of Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA has been enjoying a rewardingly busy season at the beautiful Theatre Royal, Haymarket. It has been a privilege to work there. We were delighted to welcome the newly-appointed Dame, the wonderful Baroness Floella Benjamin, and her family to see the show only hours after the news of her elevation. After the performance, Dame Floella joined me and the Company – David Scotland, Jocelyn Zackon and Stephanie Summers, for the photo below.


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On Wednesday 29th January 2020 at Roehampton University I will be introducing a screening of IF…., followed by a Q&A, and an invitation to buy my memoir, FILMING IF…. The University are offering free tickets. Follow the link below to a Registration Page.

Click here to visit the: Registration Page


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Here is a joyful clip of school children in the Dubai Opera House joining in TIGEROBICS during a performance of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA.  This performance formed part of the International Tour 2019 to China and the UAE.  What a wonderful theatre for Team Tiger to play!  And how rewarding for me to see the children’s enthusiastic participation.

Click here to view the: Video Clip


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It’s exciting to report that my adaptation/production of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA will be spending Christmas at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, a truly beautiful venue in London’s West End. The show is currently on tour, in its 11th year, and a second company will shortly be leaving for China and the United Arab Emirates.

TIGER at the Haymarket opens on December 9th and runs until January 5th. Click here for more details


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During one short October week I had two pleasant surprises. First, I went to Lunch at Joe Allen in London and suddenly saw on the wall a poster for FOUR DEGREES OVER, the revue I co-wrote and appeared in at the West End’s Fortune Theatre in 1966! Fifty three years on, the poster looks as fresh as when it first appeared. Amazingly, I was having lunch that day with Bob (now Sir Bob Scott), who was also in the show! The discovery led to a nostalgic conversation about touring the revue and playing at the Edinburgh Festival, immediately after our Oxford University degrees, the day producer Michael Codron saw us and transferred us to the West End, and making the cast LP for Parlophone Records, produced by the legendary George Martin. We also remembered our much-missed colleague, pianist/composer/comedian John Gould, who sadly died a few years ago, and Adele Weston, the other performer, who is well and now successful as a writer, Adele Geras.

A couple of days later I was at the Victoria & Albert Museum and went to the Theatre and Performance exhibition, where I was excited to find two posters of my children’s productions, THE WITCHES (based on the book by Roald Dahl) and MEG AND MOG SHOW (based on the books by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski). Flattered to receive this attention!


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Samuel French, who publish most of my plays, invited me to take part in a series of articles in which their playwrights answer questions. Here is my contribution, which originally appeared on Breaking Character at


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Actor David Wood, left, with The Picture House owner Kevin Markwick and the original poster of the 1968 film he acted in.

The chance sighting of an original film poster on the wall of The Picture House Restaurant in Uckfield led to an actor visiting town for a special screening of the 1968 film he appeared in.

It was actor David Wood’s sister-in-law, who lives locally, who saw the poster for the classic film, ‘if’.

David’s daughter then contacted The Picture House to see if it would be interested in hosting a special screening of the film, directed by Lindsay Anderson and which won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 1969.

David Wood on screen in ‘if’


‘if’ told the story of life in an English public school and was made to reflect the revolutionary fever of the late 60s.

Writers of the story and screenplay David Sherwin and John Howlett were both pupils at Tonbridge public school in Kent, and the film is based on their experiences there.

Coincidentally David Wood has just written a book ‘Filming If’ in which he recalls being a young actor on set, working hard, while enjoying being in what has become a cult classic British movie.

David Wood in the foyer of The Picture House Cinema with copies of his book Filming If


The special screening was held at The Picture House and David took part in a Q&A session with insights into the making of the film.

Some audience members were ex-pupils of Tonbridge School and had known both David Sherwin and John Howlett. Another audience member was in the film as an extra.

The film made a star of the lead actor Malcom McDowell who went on to be the star of Kubrick’s cult film A Clockwork Orange after Kubrick saw him in ‘if’.

Interestingly the cinema also has the original poster of A Clockwork Orange on display and it will be screening A Clockwork Orange on September 22 as part of its Cinephile Sundays strand. Now the team is wondering: “Perhaps we could get Malcom to pay us a visit too!”

This is an article from the Uckfield News. Thanks to them for allowing me to reprint it.


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As part of the PR for THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, Surrey Life have published an interview.

Click here to read the article.


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Last year, a number of cinemas across the country hosted 50th anniversary screenings of IF.... the Lindsay Anderson cult classic in which I was lucky enough to co-star alongside Malcolm McDowell.

I'm delighted that the celebrations are continuing this year so even more people can enjoy the film on the big screen!

Come and join me at Richmond Curzon on Tuesday 6 August at 6pm

or at the Picture House Cinema in Uckfield on Tuesday 3 September at 7pm. Tickets are available now.

After each showing, I will be taking part in an audience Q&A and signing copies of my book FILMING IF.... (available to buy with cash on the day for £8.99). In addition to the events mentioned above, I'm very pleased that Roehampton, Chichester, Brunel and Queen Mary universities will be hosting screenings for their students in the next few months.

The film resonates with audiences just as much today as it did fifty years ago and I'm very proud to have been a part of it. Hope to see you there!


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Filmmaker Chris Wade interviewed me for his film about Lindsay Anderson, the legendary director of IF…., the Palme D’Or-winning film in which I was lucky enough to appear alongside Malcolm McDowell, back in 1968. Chris also interviewed Stephen Frears, an assistant director on IF…., who became one of the UK’s finest movie makers; and also Brian Pettifer, who so memorably played Biles, the boy who was bullied by his classmates.

Here are two links, one to see the trailer, the other with information on how to buy the DVD:

View the trailer

Information on the DVD


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Since meeting the extraordinary Judith Kerr in 2006, and since being privileged to adapt for the stage her classic picture book, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, Judith has become a dear friend of me and my family. Her death on May 22nd, 2019, may not have come as a total surprise – Judith, still working, was an incredible 95 – but it has sadly left us, and all the TIGER theatre team, with a sense of sad loss, yet also an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for her amazing legacy.

The show goes on. The current tour dates can be seen on

We will never forget Judith and it is heartwarming to realise that children will continue to love her books for a very, very long time.

Here is the last photo of Judith and myself, enjoying lunch at our favourite restaurant overlooking the river.


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Good news recently came in that Cheltenham Playhouse will be presenting a Christmas season of my adaptation of Philippa Pearce’s classic novel, TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN. Bill Cronshaw will be directing a professional company in this magical story about a boy mysteriously living in two time zones.

The play was commissioned by Tony Graham at Unicorn Theatre in 2000. It twice won Best Children’s Production in the UK Theatre Awards.

Here is a link for more details:


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Everybody connected with my production of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA was very sad to hear the news that on May 22nd the author/illustrator of the classic picture book, upon which my adaptation is based, had died at the remarkable age of 95.

Since first meeting Judith (at an event at Buckingham Palace – a fact we were often pleased to regale people with!) Judith had become a dear friend to my wife and me. She was very supportive of my adaptation and has often come to see the show, which has now been touring nationally and internationally for 11 years.

Judith was working until a very short time before her death, and her brand new book, THE CURSE OF THE SCHOOL RABBIT, will be published within the next few weeks. Her output was amazing. And I will never forget her humour, humility and brilliance as a storyteller and illustrator. Thank you, Judith. You will never be forgotten. Click here to see me talking to Judith when she kindly came to speak at the presentation to me of the JM Barrie Award 2017.


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I was extremely flattered to be nominated for the prestigious ASTRID LINDGREN MEMORIAL AWARD, the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature.

To be honest, I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t win! 246 candidates from 64 countries were nominated for the Award. But I felt very privileged to be among the 24 United Kingdom nominees, who included many imminent writers and illustrators, some of whom I have been delighted to work with, including Michael Foreman, Michelle Magorian, Michael Morpurgo and Jan Pienkowski. Other major figures on the list were Allan Ahlberg, David Almond, Malorie Blackman, Shirley Hughes and Quentin Blake.

Why, you might ask, have I been included in this list of luminaries. Dr Marta Minier of University of South Wales, who arranged my nomination, believes that a children’s playwright deserves to be considered, as well as writers and illustrators. I am very grateful to her for her interest.

Dr Marta Minier’s citation for my nomination is a generous summing-up of my career. Click here to read it.


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My adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, has begun its 2019 UK tour. It’s hard to believe the show is in its 11th year! Here are some photos of the new Team Tiger – Jocelyn Zackon as Sophie, Lizzie Dewar as Mummy and David Scotland as Tiger/Daddy/Milkman. For more information and tour dates, visit


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It was with great delight that I met up with brilliant magician Paul Zenon at a Magic Circle event on April 23rd, 2019. Unbelievably, 29 years had passed since we worked together on the BBC1 children’s series TRICKY BUSINESS. I played a version of myself called Woody, who ran a magic shop, and Paul played my assistant, Mickey (who knew much more about magic than I did!). We had a lot of fun making the series, which featured a young Patsy Palmer, and gave the first tv exposure to ventriloquist Paul Zerdin (although he didn’t do ventriloquism then, he performed an illusion).

Here is a photo of Woody and Mickey reunited!

David Wood and Paul Zenon

And here we are posing for publicity shots for the series, along with the magical rabbit, Crabtree. Happy days!

David Wood and Paul Zenon

David Wood and Paul Zenon


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51 years after playing the rebellious schoolboys in Lindsay Anderson’s iconic film IF…., Malcolm McDowell and I were reunited on April 7th, 2019. It was a real pleasure to meet up with Malcolm again after many years, and we much enjoyed reminiscing about making the film, and especially remembering dear Richard Warwick, who completed our trio – he played Wallace. Sadly he died some years ago, as did the lovely Christine Noonan, who played The Girl. Malcolm was in the UK for the re-release of CLOCKWORK ORANGE, the other iconic movie in which he appeared (1971). At a Q&A at the Curzon Mayfair, he was kind enough to mention my book, FILMING IF, for which he kindly wrote a foreword.

FILMING IF…. is still available. Here is the link to find it on Amazon -

David Wood and Malcolm McDowell

Filming IF.... by David Wood


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Some years ago Dick King-Smith, the brilliant children’s writer, suggested I might adapt his book LADY LOLLIPOP. I had already adapted his book THE SHEEP-PIG into the play BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG. It seemed to me that LADY LOLLIPOP would be perfect as a school play, or something that children would enjoy reading together. The play was first published by Walker Books. Now Samuel French are publishing a new edition, and will be licensing performances. I hope very much that schools and youth groups will enjoy presenting this play. It is the story of a clever pig – Lollipop, her keeper – Johnny, and Princess Penelope – a spoilt royal brat!

There are lots of parts to play and jobs to carry out, and the acting edition includes tips on mime, movement, music and props.


Follow the link to Samuel French by clicking here:

TIGER 2019

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Rehearsals are under way for the new 2019 tour of my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA. A new team opens at the Palace Theatre, Mansfield on March 26th. The production will play at 55 venues throughout the year. Our usual team of creatives are working on the production. Emma Clayton is the assistant director/choreographer, Susie Caulcutt designed the set and costumes, Peter Pontzen is the musical supervisor, Angie Burns is the wardrobe supervisor, and lighting and sound are once again in the regular hands of Tony Simpson and Andy Shaw (Shock Audio Visual).

Jocelyn Zachon is our new Sophie, David Scotland plays Daddy and the Tiger, Lizzie Dewar is Mummy. Graeme Reid and Glen Newham return as Company Manager and as assistant Stage Manager/understudy, and Hannah Miller joins us as understudy/wardrobe.

For more information about the tour click on this link to the website; Tigers Tea Live


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As a Patron of the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama, I am always happy to go and give a workshop to students, offering them a taster of what it might be like to work in children’s theatre. The class of 2019 third-years were delightful – enthusiastic and cooperative. I thoroughly enjoyed my day. Many thanks to Emma Clayton, who heads the MADD teaching team, for inviting me. Emma, of course, is my long-term collaborator, choreographer and assistant director, with whom I so enjoy working on THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA.



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Just before Christmas it was my pleasure to make the trip to China to see the opening performances of my play THE SEE-SAW TREE presented by the China National Theatre for children, in their splendid theatre in Beijing, near The Forbidden City.

The play was beautifully directed by Adam Stafford, who has for many years acted and been the Assistant Director/Director of my plays. The Chinese cast did a terrific cast, acting in an unfamiliar style. The Chinese producers had been adamant that they wanted a British-style production, and all their creative and technical team worked hard in this direction.

Here are some photos from the production and from my trip, plus a video of an interview we did for a Chinese English-speaking tv channel. Also a video of the concluding moments of the play, in which the audience vote on whether or not to save the tree. It is rewarding to hear them shouting out that they do not want Mr Jay’s children’s playground! They would rather save the tree.




Link to SEE-SAW TREE feature on

Video clip of the concluding moments of the play!

Award Nomination!

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I am extremely flattered to have been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature.  This year 246 candidates from 64 countries have been nominated for the Award.  I feel very privileged to be amongst the 24 United Kingdom nominees, who include many eminent writers and illustrators, some of whom I have been delighted to work with, including Michael Foreman, Michelle Magorian, Michael Morpurgo and Jan Pienkowski.  Other major figures on the list are Allan Ahlberg, David Almond, Malorie Blackman, Shirley Hughes and Quentin Blake.

It would be fair to ask why I have been included in this list of luminaries. Dr Marta Minier of University of South Wales, who arranged my nomination, believes that a children’s playwright deserves to be considered, as well as writers and illustrators.  I am very grateful to her for her interest. The Award winner will be announced later in 2019.


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My adaptation of Judith Kerr's classic picture book, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, is entering its 11th year in 2019. To celebrate, a new trailer has been released, which is on the show's website and social media. To see it, click this link:
The Tiger Who Came to Tea Trailer


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As President of Action for Children’s Arts, I was proud to attend the JM Barrie Awards 2018. Check out the highlights of the enjoyable ceremony at the Prince of Wales Theatre by clicking on this link:
JM Barrie Awards 2018 at the Prince of Wales Theatre


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There was a happy event at Oxford Playhouse on October 27th. The Story Museum, of which I am a Trustee, organised a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA. My adaptation was playing in the theatre, so the cast could join in the fun. Here they are, with Judith, receiving the celebratory cake.

Happy 50th Birthday Tiger event at Oxford Playhouse 27th October 2018

IF…. at FilmBath Festival

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Following a screening of Lindsay Anderson’s IF…. as part of the film festival in Bath, I will be doing a Q&A. November 7th is the date and 6.00 pm the time. Chapel Arts Cinema. Here is a link to event info.


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On August 28th I was delighted to host a party at the Piccadilly Theatre, where my adaptation of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is playing. The party was to celebrate my fifty years of productions in London theatres, and to thank many of the people who have been so significant in helping me over the last five decades. I was delighted that John Hole, who commissioned my very first children’s play for the Swan Theatre, Worcester in 1967, was able to be there, as well as producers, actors, agents, publishers etc. etc., to whom I am truly grateful.

Here are some photos from the event.

Current TIGER company; Abbey Norman, Tom O'Connell, StephanieSummers

Current TIGER company; Abbey Norman, Tom O'Connell, Stephanie Summers



During the party I was interviewed by Giverny Masso of The Stage. Here is the article she subsequently wrote:
Click to view article


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Congratulations to the British Theatre Academy on their production of my adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s classic novel GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, which has been enthusiastically received at the Southwark Playhouse. Here is an ecstatic review!


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My adaptation of Dick King-Smith’s classic novel THE SHEEP-PIG has opened at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Here is a lovely review:


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Filming If... David Wood

It's been two months since the publication of my latest book, FILMING IF.... in which I share my memories of co-starring in Lindsay Anderson's iconic British film IF.... alongside Malcolm McDowell and Richard Warwick.
Click here to see the Times Literary Supplement review. 

The Book costs £8.99 and is available from Amazon.
Click here for the link.

2018 is the 50th anniversary of the film and special cinema screenings have been scheduled in celebration. Each event features a Q&A session with me and I will also be signing copies of my book. Here's a list of what's coming up. I hope you can come along to one!

Film 'IF....'
Date Time Event/Venue Screening Q&A Book signing

These screenings and Q&A sessions have been very enjoyable. At Wimbledon Film Club, we had a cinema virtually full and some very interesting questions.

David Wood and Cameron MackIntosh

Q&A session at Wimbledon Film Club.

The screening at the Cambridge Film Festival on October 28th was very well attended, I’m delighted to say. And I sold quite a lot of books! Here is a photo taken by my friend from Oxford days, Adele Geras, who sent out a tweet following the event.

David Wood at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge

David Wood at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge.

At the Cambridge Film Festival we had a particularly good Q&A. And I sold quite a few books! Here is a photo, taken at the event by Jean-Luc Benazet.

David Wood at Cambridge Film Festval - photo by Jean-Luc Benazet

David Wood at the Cambridge Film Festival.


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THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA has opened successfully at the Piccadilly Theatre. This year my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book celebrates its 10th anniversary. It is also the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book. Here is a link to a video featuring members of the audience and their reactions to the production...


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Here is an article I wrote for ENCORE Magazine, following the ceremony at which I was presented with the JM Barrie Award 2017. The article reflects on my fifty years of writing plays for children, the attitudes now and then towards children’s theatre, and my concerns about the education system’s dismissive attitude towards the arts.

In 1967, thanks to John Hole, then the Artistic Director of the Swan Theatre, Worcester, I wrote my first play for children.  THE TINDERBOX, adapted from Hans Andersen, didn’t set the world on fire, but thankfully it didn’t put off John from commissioning another play for the following Christmas, and the result was THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE…  This one got a great reaction, and, following its debut in London the following year, ended up being produced by most of the reps.  Cameron Mackintosh and I co-produced it on tour, Samuel French published it, and its success convinced me that children’s theatre was what I wanted to focus on.

David Wood and Cameron MackIntosh

David Wood and Cameron Mackintosh

Fifty years on, and about seventy-five plays later, it was a real treat to be presented with the JM Barrie Award 2017.  It was particularly special because I helped to create this lifetime achievement award back in 2004, to celebrate the centenary of the opening performance of PETER PAN.  Action for Children’s Arts, with great generosity, saw fit to honour my efforts in a joyful event at the Prince of Wales Theatre.  Several colleagues kindly came and said lovely things, including Cameron himself - now Sir Cameron ­-, Judith Kerr, whose book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA I adapted and still direct, Philip Pullman, whose book CLOCKWORK I adapted as an opera, Peter Duncan, who played the title roles in my musical THE GINGERBREAD MAN and in my adaptation of Dahl’s FANTASTIC MR FOX, and Anthony Pedley, the actor who created the role of the BIG FRIENDLY GIANT in my production/adaptation.

David Wood and Judith Kerr

David Wood and Judith Kerr

This warm and nostalgic event made me think about how far theatre for children has come since I started fifty years ago.  More product than ever for small-scale, middle-scale and even large-scale theatres.  More theatres and theatre directors making work for children an integral part of their programming.  More practitioners – actors, writers, directors, designers, composers – viewing children’s theatre as a career rather than as a step on the ladder.  More acceptance within our profession that work for children is important, both in terms of entertaining and inspiring children today, and in helping create the adult audience of the future.

There are still problems, of course.  Theatre critics and arts editors still don’t give enough attention or space to the work.  Not enough training establishments give students information or experience in the field.  Funding is still a headache for most children’s theatre companies.  The general public and schools are too conservative in their choice of shows to be seen, so big, commercial titles still hold sway.

Most worrying of all is the government’s apparent determination to sideline arts subjects in schools.  In primary schools teachers are under pressure to improve test results in reading, writing and maths, so art, music and drama rarely get a look in.  ‘Creative subjects being squeezed, schools tell BBC’ was the headline of a recent article by the BBC’s Education Editor.  Things are no better in secondary schools.  Rufus Norris, the director of the National Theatre, wrote recently in the Guardian, ‘Since 2010 there has been a 28% drop in the number of children taking creative GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of specialist arts teachers being trained.  Hardly surprising when the Ebacc, a government school performance measure focusing on a core set of academic subjects studied for GCSE, does not include a single creative discipline. Add the funding squeeze into the mix, and the result is that the practice and study of drama, design, music and art are rapidly disappearing from the curriculum. The pipeline of talent into the industry is being cut off by the government’s misguided sidelining of creativity in education.’

Rufus Norris, like many of us, would like to see the Ebacc policy reversed.  He also points out the irony that the private schools have a much more enlightened attitude to the arts and their value.

My mission, since the late sixties, has been to enable parties of primary school children to come to the theatre.  We know that many of them would never come if it were left to their parents.  Teachers are indispensable in being able to offer all children a ‘suck it and see’ experience of live theatre.  Yet the primary school party market is dwindling, partly because of the cost (not just the ticket, but also the coach) and partly because teachers feel the time would be better spent preparing for the wretched tests.

Another irony is that there is a growing market for theatre for under-fives, but the majority of the young children coming to see shows like my adaptation of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, are from the more privileged middle class, whose parents believe in the benefits of such an experience.

We are at risk of theatre for children and young people becoming, along with other opportunities to experience and take part in creative activities, unfairly elitist.  We cannot, we must not, allow the positive developments in the sector we have witnessed over the last fifty years to be cancelled out by a blinkered and philistine education system.

David Wood


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The two sharply contrasting sides of my so-called career manage to combine on Wednesday, May 30th, at Storyhouse, Chester.

This splendid new venue, which combines two theatres, a cinema and a library, has invited me to perform my DAVID WOOD'S STORYTIME show for children at 2.30 pm.

Then, in the evening, there is a screening of Lindsay Anderson's film IF...., celebrating its 50th anniversary. After the film, I will take part in a Q&A session, remembering the very special weeks I spent as an actor working on the film. Afterwards I will be given the opportunity to sign copies of my book, FILMING IF....

I'm looking forward to my day in Chester, a fascinating city, much enhanced by Storyhouse, this very special new venue. I don't think I have been to Chester since my play THE GINGERBREAD MAN was the Christmas show at the Gatehouse Theatre many moons ago!


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I'm looking forward to seeing two new productions of my adaptation of Michelle Magorian's GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. The talented young actors of the British Theatre Academy are performing the play at Southwark Playhouse from July 25th – August 25th 2018.

And the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds present the play, starring the legendary Roy Hudd as Mr Tom, from August 24th – September 8th 2018.

Roy Hudd

Lots of luck to both production teams!


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Delighted that my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is returning to the West End, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre on June 28th. This West End run is part of a double celebration – Judith’s book celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and the production of my play celebrates its 10th anniversary.

For more details, performance times etc. please follow this link:
The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The Tiger Who Came To Tea


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L-R Richard Everett (Pussy Graves), Robin Askwith (Keating), David Wood (Johnny), Brian Pettifer (Biles) at the Southend Film Festival

L-R Richard Everett (Pussy Graves), Robin Askwith (Keating), David Wood (Johnny), Brian Pettifer (Biles)


It was enjoyable chatting to Paul Ryan about IF.... and THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA in an interview on Soho Radio. Here is the link - Thanks to Soho Radio, Tony Shrimplin of the Museum of Soho ( and Erik Moore at 01 Studios Soho (

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lindsay Anderson’s iconic film IF...., in which I was lucky enough to play one of the rebel schoolboys, alongside Malcolm McDowell and Richard Warwick, I have written a short memoir, which is to be published on April 28th. Click here to see the book cover.

Am delighted to have been invited to several screenings of the film, to do Q&A sessions and, hopefully, sign books! Here is the current list ...

Film 'IF....'
Date Time Event/Venue Screening Q&A Book signing
19 April
6:00pm Prince Charles Cinema,
29 April
3:00pm Soho Curzon,
24 May
7:30pm Southend Film Festival
(Odeon cinema)
25 May
6:00pm BFI
30 May
6:00pm StoryhouseLive,
9 June
tbc The Cinema Museum,
16 August
8:00pm Myers Studio, Playhouse Theatre
(Epsom Community Cinema Club)
11 September
tbc The Oldie
screening with dedicated lunch
(London venue tbc)

The book costs £8.99 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Click here for the link.

Here are some of the first reviews of the book:

If you are interested in this film or indeed the making of any film this book is a must read. It gives a great insight into the making of If.... from the casting to the opening and beyond. A lovely memoir revealing some of the films secrets, a great tribute ALL involved.

A fascinating insight into a classic British film. Definitely worth a read!

I really enjoyed reading this background on the filming of If.... and I made the conscious decision to read it before actually watching the film. Up until recently, this cult phenomenon had somehow evaded my radar. I have to say that now I have some added excitement for viewing it and it will no longer sit waiting in my queue. Actor (in the film) Wood, provides some really interesting insight into the production and the creatives involved.

The book is well written and and beautifully supported with still shots and sample script pages (including the infamous 'dummy script') peppered throughout the book. It is a gift that David Wood took the time to provide fans and film historians with this edition, marking the 50th anniversary of the film's release.


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For many years I have sold copies of my published books on Amazon.  Recently my account was suspended, because EU regulations have changed, it seems.  For a few weeks my books were not available on Amazon, but now I’m glad to say normal service has resumed.  So copies of MOLE’S BEDTIME STORY, FUNNY BUNNY’S MAGIC SHOW, SILLY SPIDER and all the others are available.


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It was an honour and a very great pleasure to be awarded the JM Barrie Award 2017. This is a kind of lifetime achievement award, presented annually by Action for Children’s Arts, the charity of which I was Chair for nearly 20 years.

The Award has a special significance for me, because I was instrumental in creating it, back in 2004, the centenary of the first performance of JM Barrie’s PETER PAN. ACA organised the celebrations at the Duke of York’s Theatre, and then made the first Award to the great children’s writer Dick King-Smith.

Since then, children’s arts luminaries including Michael Morpurgo, Judith Kerr, Roger McGough and Shirley Hughes have been recipients. I was surprised to join the list. The news came a short time after I had announced my resignation from the Chair. The presentation, which was beautifully organised by Vicky Ireland, the Acting Chair, and her team, took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre. I was immensely flattered that amongst the guests saying lovely things were Sir Cameron Mackintosh, with whom I produced my children’s plays years ago, Maureen Lipman, who played Meg in my adaptation of MEG AND MOG, and Philip Pullman, whose book CLOCKWORK I adapted into an opera, with Steven McNeff’s exciting music. And the amazing Judith Kerr came and spoke too, and together on stage we listened to six of my Whirligig Theatre actors singing the song I wrote for THE SELFISH SHELLFISH called WHEN WILL WE LEARN? It was all rather moving and uplifting – for me, anyway! Many thanks to everybody involved.

Click here to see the Awards presentation: Awards Presentation

David Wood with Vicky and Sacha Lee Khan

David Wood with Vicky Ireland and Sacha Lee Khan

David Wood and Maureen Lipman

David Wood and Maureen Lipman

David Wood and Cameron MackIntosh

David Wood and Cameron Mackintosh

David Wood and Philip Pullman

David Wood and Philip Pullman

David Wood and Judith Kerr

David Wood and Judith Kerr

Team Tiger with David Wood and Judith Kerr

Team Tiger with David Wood and Judith Kerr

David Wood and Anthony (The BFG) Pedley

David Wood and Anthony (The BFG) Pedley

David Wood and Floella Benjamin

David Wood and Floella Benjamin


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The splendid Mercury Theatre, Colchester has announced a summer production of my play BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG, adapted from Dick King-Smith’s book, THE SHEEP-PIG. After I directed the original production of this play for Whirligig Theatre, Dick King-Smith became a dear friend. He was a wonderful human being and a brilliant children’s writer. I’m so pleased that the play is getting another airing, following the successful Christmas season 2016/17 at Polka Theatre. Incidentally, this production is scheduled to tour Australia later this year.

Here is a link to more details about the Colchester production:


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2018 sees the 50th anniversary of Lindsay Anderson’s iconic film IF...., in which I was fortunate enough to co-star with Malcolm McDowell and Richard Warwick. As part of the celebrations, I have written a memoir called FILMING IF...., to be published by The Book Guild on April 28th. In it I share my memories of being on the set and working with Lindsay Anderson, a hugely talented director. The book has a Foreword by Malcolm McDowell and an Afterword by film writer George Perry, who has written a superb appreciation of Lindsay and his work.

Curzon Soho, in Shaftesbury Avenue, are screening the film on Sunday, April 29th at 3.00 pm. I have been invited to introduce the film and to take part in a Q&A afterwards, plus a book signing. Please follow the link for more details: Curzon Soho

Filming If... David Wood


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Delighted that Curve, Leicester, produced a successful Christmas run of my adaptation of Roald Dahl’s GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, faithfully directed by Julia Thomas and now embarking on a tour. The show received splendid reviews, including The Stage (5 stars), below.

George’s Marvellous Medicine at Curve, Leicester

Review – ‘an outstanding adaptation’:

Follow this link to read the review: Review

For tour dates please follow this link: Tour Dates

George on Tour - photograph by Manuel Harlan

Photograph by Manuel Harlan


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A new publication called CHI HIGH, CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE AND ME is now available. It is published by the Chichester Local History Society in association with the University of Chichester. This is particularly pleasing, because I was at school in Chichester, and my association with the Chichester Festival Theatre has continued for fifty years.

The idea of the book came when I was fortunate enough to receive an Olivier Award for my adaptation of Michelle Magorian's GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. As I went up on stage with Angus Jackson, the director, to receive the Award, I realised that it was almost fifty years to the day since I had first trod the boards at Chichester Festival Theatre, as an extra in SAINT JOAN, starring Joan Plowright, who was, fifty years later, sitting in the audience of the Olivier Awards, named, of course, after her husband Lord Olivier. I then realised that I had worked at Chichester as an extra, a professional actor, a playwright and director. And it remains my favourite theatre!

The book is available from Chichester Festival Theatre and other outlets in Chichester. It costs a mere £3.00 plus postage, from Alan Green, who nobly and skilfully edited the book. Contact him at ''.

Chi High, Chichester Festival Theatre and Me - David Wood, OBE


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Recently I heard that an episode of CROWN COURT, the Granada series, was available on YouTube – the episode from 1974 called ‘Do Your Worst’ was a very enjoyable acting experience, alongside my friends Maureen Lipman and William Dexter. Also in the cast was Ronald Lewis, with whom I appeared in a Yorkshire television play called TOYS, playing opposite Janina Faye, who was married to the aforesaid William Dexter. Watching CROWN COURT again reminded me how effective this series was. Here is the link:


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Another event has been announced to celebrate my 50th year writing plays for children. In 1967 I adapted Hans Christian Andersen's THE TINDER BOX for the Swan Theatre, Worcester, and have since written about 75 more plays for children. Wimbledon Bookfest have kindly invited me to be In Conversation with Roman Stefanski and Vicky Ireland. This will be on Thursday 12th October at 5.00 pm.

Roman is Associate Director of Polka Theatre. He has directed several of my plays there. Vicky Ireland is Vice-Chair of Action for Children's Arts, the charity of which I was Chair for many years. She is a children's playwright/director, who was a very successful Artistic Director of Polka Theatre. Click here for more details.


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In the late 1950s I was a teenager doing magic shows. I bought a special magic table on which to put my props. It came from Max Andrews, who ran a company called Vampire Magic in Soho's Brewer Street. Nearly fifty years later I decided it should have a new home, and have sold it to a Max Andrews enthusiast and collector.

Here are two photos. The first shows me aged about 16 posing in performing mode! The second picture shows me with the table in July 2017, the day its new owner came to collect it! Happy memories!


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Delighted that CHIPS' COMIC, the children's television series I co-created for Channel 4 in 1983/84 has been written about, with great understanding and appreciation, by Ben Ricketts in his print book THE CURIOSITIES OF BRITISH CHILDREN'S TV.

To read this chapter, click here

For details of how to buy Ben's book on Amazon, click on this link. Click here


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Since 1984 the excellent Leeds Children's Theatre have been regularly producing my plays. The next one is, I see, is GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. In a recent e-mail from Karen Waddicor, the Chair of the organisation, she says some very kind things about my work in this, my 50th anniversary year, I'm particularly touched by her comments.

I'd like to offer you our congratulations on your 50th Anniversary. At the risk of sounding gushing, I'm sure I'm not alone in believing that Children's Theatre in the UK, and no doubt across the world, owes you a great debt of gratitude. You have provided such a huge body of work for us to produce, and enabled us to introduce theatre and performance to thousands of children and young people locally here in Leeds. Many of our members tread the boards for the first time in one of your plays, and some have of course gone onto direct the same plays themselves. Thank you.


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So sad to hear the news that dear Brian Cant has left us. Love and thoughts to Cherry, his wonderfully caring wife and all his family.

Brian was without question the most loved children's television personality of his day. One of the original presenters of PLAY SCHOOL, he later went on to be the star of PLAY AWAY, the programme on which I was proud to be a semi-regular for several years. We had such fun on those programmes. Brian and Toni Arthur were the two mainstays joined by semi-regulars like myself including Julie Stevens, Chloe Ashcroft, Tony Robinson, Nick Wilton and others, plus guests like Jeremy Irons, Anita Dobson and Floella Benjamin. Plus the wonderful music made by Jonathan Cohen with Spike Heatley on bass and Alan Rushton on drums.

Very happy memories. Brian taught me so much about working on television, playing to camera and thinking of one child not millions! But I could never get anywhere near his wondrous ability to be so relaxed and so warm and so talented ...

Goodbye, dear Brian. You will be much missed.

Here is a photo from PLAY AWAY. Left to right, Toni Arthur, David wood, Brian Cant and Chloe Ashcroft.


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The company of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, my adaptation of Judith Kerr's classic picture book, were delighted to welcome the celebrated author/illustrator to see the touring production at Richmond Theatre. After the show, we all enjoyed a company meal attended by Judith.

Clockwise from the front, Nick Brooke (Producer), David Wood (Adaptor/Director), Molly Waters (Sophie), Stephanie Summers (Mummy), Sarah Horton (Understudy/Wardrobe), Philip Noel (Producer), Niall Rooney (Understudy/ASM), Steve Mackie (Company Manager), Alan Atkins (Daddy/Tiger), Judith Kerr.


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Here is a nice article, written by Steph Siegle, in TIME & LEISURE magazine.

Click here to read it


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I was very sorry not to be able to see the Minack's production of my adaptation of Michelle Magorian's GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. The trailer, available below, looks excellent. And their Sammy the dog puppet looks brilliant.

Also a nice review


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Recently I found these reminders of THE GO-BETWEEN season at the Apollo in London's West End. For those who saw the production, they provide a nice reminder of the show. For those that didn't see it, they give a flavour of the musical adaptation I wrote with Richard Taylor, based on LP Hartley's novel. Michael Crawford starred, and the delightful Gemma Sutton played Marian.


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Curve's very well-received production of my adaptation of Roald Dahl's THE TWITS, directed by Max Webster, is currently on tour. Here is a link to a review from the Theatre Royal, Brighton.

Read the review here


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As part of the 50th anniversary of me writing my first play for children, two events have so far taken place.

On April 6th at 6.00 pm at The Story Museum in Oxford I was interviewed by Libby Purves about my '50 Years of Suddenlies'.

Click here for the OXFORD TODAY article/review of the event

On March 21st, at Seven Stories in Newcastle, I talked about 'The Theatricality of Dahl'. Then Sarah Lawrance interviewed me about my Dahl adaptations, and also aspects of my archive, which is looked after by Seven Stories.

Click on this link for more details


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Tom O'Connell is presenting the Polka Theatre production of my adaptation of Dick King-Smith's BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG on tour. The opening performances at West Yorkshire Playhouse were enthusiastically received. Michael Fentiman, the director, and the extremely talented ensemble are doing a great job.

Here is a review. Click Here

For a list of venues Click Here


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In 1989 Walker Books published my story SIDNEY THE MONSTER, with extraordinary illustrations by Clive Scruton. It had a strange history, in that Walker Books had commissioned me to write a story, but I failed to deliver. Very kindly, Sebastian Walker (with whom I had acted at Oxford University) gave me another chance to come up with the goods. That night I woke at about 3.00 am with a line in my head – 'There was once a monster called Sidney ...'. Quite where the line came from, I don't know. My father-in-law was called Sidney, and he was a bit of a monster sometimes ... but I don't think this was the spark. Anyway, I got up and wrote the story incredibly quickly on the kitchen table. Then I wrote it out in 'best', not even bothering to type it up. Then I set off on an early-morning train and pushed the story through Walker's letterbox long before anybody arrived at the office. At midday the same day the phone rang. My story had been accepted for publication! This must surely hold the record for the shortest time taken for a book to be written from conception through to acceptance – no more than 9 hours or so!

The book won the Nottinghamshire Children's Book of the Year Award.

Recently I found a wonderful blog about the book. Click to read the blogger's lovely comments!

Read the blog here


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The Curve, Leicester production of my adaptation of Roald Dahl's THE TWITS, directed by Max Webster, played a very successful Christmas season there. Now the production is on tour.

Tour dates

  • Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (24 – 28 Jan 2017)
  • Brighton Theatre Royal (31 Jan – 4 Feb)
  • Royal & Derngate Northampton (14 – 18 Feb)
  • Northern Stage (21 – 25 Mar)
  • Nuffield, Southampton (28 Mar – 2 Apr), with further dates to be added.
  • The show then plays at Rose Theatre, Kingston (5 – 16 Apr).

Curve's very well-received production of my adaptation of Roald Dahl's THE TWITS, directed by Max Webster, is currently on tour. Here is a link to a review from the Theatre Royal, Brighton.

Read the review here


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The tour of my adaptation of Dick King-Smith's BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG starts very soon. Michael Fentiman's production for Polka Theatre is produced on tour by Tom O'Connell.

Click here for the tour dates and watch a trailer below


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Delighted that I will be once again directing my adaptation of Judith Kerr's classic picture book, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA for a long 2017 tour. For a list of venues, click on the link below:

The Tiger Who Came To Tea


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Delighted that my play THE GINGERBREAD MAN, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, is currently playing in Istanbul. The play has been popular there for many years.

Read about it here


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Delighted to report that my adaptation of Dick King-Smith's BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG has opened successfully at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon for the Christmas season, before setting off on a long UK tour produced by Tom O'Connell Productions. Here is the first review:

Babe, the Sheep-Pig A play by David Wood. Based on the book by Dick King-Smith.

A Polka Theatre, Tom O'Connell Productions and Limelight co-production.
society/company: Polka Theatre (professional productions) (directory)
performance date: 03 Dec 2016
venue: Polka Theatre, Wimbledon
reviewer/s: Susan Elkin (Sardines review)

Wiggling woolly bottoms, energetic folksy music, much baa-ing and a fabulously scary Lion King-style larger-than-life dog puppet spirits us away to Dick King-Smith's retro country farm. There, a piglet, won in a competition and mothered by the farm's resident sheepdog, turns out to have an unlikely talent for sheep herding. It's a story well known to, and much loved by, at least two generations and David Wood's play version, which dates from 1997 has been revived many times and does it real justice.

Polka present it as an eight hander with lots of imaginative choreography and tight ensemble work under the imaginative direction of Michael Fentiman. In the past I've seen Babe played by a child or young actor dressed as a pig. Here he's an engaging piglet puppet managed and voiced by an ensemble member who alternates between this and evocative violin playing – often dancing at the same time.

Fine puppetry is one of this show's (many) great strengths. Directed by Mathew Forbes, puppets include a nice group of stripey brown ducks, and extra sheep as well as Babe himself and that sheep-worrying dog who kills an elderly sheep while the others huddle in impotent fear. This is real life in the country. Although there's a lot of charm it is also a truthful piece. Babe, for example, is destined to be fattened for bacon until his unusual qualities emerge.

It's a noticeably well-paced show. At times it pulses with energy. Other moments are quiet. The first half ends on a powerful cliff hanger and the scenes leading to the sheepdog trials – which of course Babe wins against all odds and expectation – give a satisfying structure to the second half. The length at 1 hour 45 minutes (with an interval) is spot on for the target audience too and that's surprisingly unusual. Many shows are too long.

I was accompanied by a seven-year-old and a four-year-old. By the end the four-year-old was literally hopping up and down with gleeful excitement. Her brother, a fairly seasoned theatregoer for his age, deemed it "the best show I've seen." I don't think the producers could ask for more.

Here is a link to the website showing the tour dates in 2017. Babe Tour Dates 2017


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I have suddenly realised that next year, 2017, sees the 50th anniversary of the production of my very first play for children. It doesn't seem possible that five decades have passed since I wrote THE TINDER BOX, based on Hans Andersen, for the Swan Theatre, Worcester, where I was in rep as an actor. John Hole invited me to write the Christmas play and, without realising it, effectively changed my life! Seventy-five plus children's plays later, I am eternally grateful to John for giving me the chance to create something especially for children. Although I don't think THE TINDER BOX was very good, it nevertheless led to him inviting me to write the next six Christmas plays for the Swan, including THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE..., which was subsequently seen in virtually every repertory theatre in the country.

Will we do anything to celebrate the 50th anniversary? I must think about that!

Meanwhile, 2017 also sees the 20th anniversary of the publication of my book, THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING (Faber). Again, the years seem to have flown by since Janet Grant persuaded me to try to analyse what I do! I'm glad to say that it has become a standard text book in both the UK and the United States. I was particularly pleased, the other day, to find some very recent Customer Reviews of the book on Amazon.

On May 25th, 2016, a buyer wrote - 'The most inspiring book I own. Buy it if you have any interest in Children's Theatre.'

Catherine said on October 29th, 2016 - 'Interesting read, even if you are not a playwright. But, if you are, is full of essential tips.'

Three years ago, Alex May commented 'This is simply a must-read for anyone creating theatre for young people. I have already recommended this to so many people! It is a really simple and engaging read, which is unusual for guides like these. I would honestly say that, from my experience, there is not a better guide for creating theatre for young people.'


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On November 10th I was privileged to host the 2016 Action for Children's Arts JM Barrie Awards in the BBC Radio Theatre. The theatre was full to see celebrated children's author Michael Morpurgo receive the main prize, the JM Barrie Award itself. Linda McClelland MBE won the Outstanding Contribution Award for her work with children in art galleries in Scotland, and ACA Members' Awards went to Julian Butler, Nick Graham, Tom Jelley, Annemarie MacDonald and Miaomiao Yu.

As Chair of Action for Children's Arts, I was thrilled to welcome several previous winners of the JM Barrie Award – Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Judith Kerr OBE, Lynne Reid Banks, Lyndie Wright and Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE. We were also thrilled to welcome the current Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell.

Here are some pictures

Ben Murray, Michael Morpurgo, Dr. Tessa Stone, Tom Morris, Jenny Agutter, Professor Kim Reynolds

Emma Rice, Michael Morpurgo, Professor Kim Reynolds, Anne-Janine Murtagh, Michael Foreman, Chris Jarvis

Lily Pritchard and Michael Morpurgo

Miaomiao Yu and Michael Morpurgo

The whole group


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Occasionally I am asked to give a talk about Roald Dahl, his stories and my adaptations. I call the talk THE UTTERLY INVENTIVE WORLD OF ROALD DAHL.

The next presentation will be at Curve, Leicester in advance of their Christmas production and tour of my adaptation of THE TWITS. The talk is at 4.30 pm on 18th November. Here is a link to the Curve website with more information.

Click here for more information


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On October 15th the twenty week season of THE GO-BETWEEN at the Apollo Theatre in London's West End came to an end. It took fifteen years for Richard Taylor, the composer, and I to achieve a West End production, thanks to Greene Light Stage (Joe Smith and Becky Barber) and Bill Kenwright. Huge thanks to the wonderful company and creative team and crew. Here is a picture of our star, Michael Crawford, surrounded by the six boys in the show (three teams of two playing Leo and Marcus). What a tremendous job they all did. THE GO-BETWEEN will be published by Samuel French Ltd. Hopefully the show has a future, having had this splendid start!


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There has been a lot of activity this year connected with Roald Dahl's centenary. Several productions of my adaptations of his books are taking place and described elsewhere in LATEST NEWS. Samuel French, who publish my Dahl adaptations, recently had a Dahl window at their shop in Fitzroy Street, London. Here is a photo, showing copies of most of my Dahl adaptations on display.


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Several of my adaptations will be playing all round the UK. Here are some dates. For full details click on the theatre websites.


GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, presented by Birmingham Stage Company, directed by Phil Clark. GEORGE will be opening at the Theatre Royal Nottingham on the 19th October. Touring dates are Cardiff, Guildford, Reading, Bromley, Manchester, Birmingham and Brecon.

Click for more details


THE MAGIC FINGER. South Hill Park, Bracknell, present the UK premiere of my adaptation of Dahl's book. October 28th, 29th and 30th.

Click for more details


JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. Northern Stage in Newcastle present my adaptation of Dahl's book from November 18th – December 31st.

Click for more details

BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG. My adaptation of Dick King-Smith's classic novel is at Polka Theatre from November 25th – February 5th

Click for more details

The play will then be touring through 2017. Tom O'Connell Productions present the tour

Click for more details


THE WITCHES. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, present the Curve/Rose Theatre, Kingston production of my adaptation of Dahl's novel, 2nd December – 21st January

Click for more details

THE TWITS. Curve, Leicester present my adaption of Dahl's novel, directed by Max Webster. Following a run in Hong Kong, the play will be on in Leicester from December 10th – January 21st

Click for more details


GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. The UK amateur premiere of my adaptation of Michelle Magorian's novel will be produced by the Cambridge Theatre Company, 20th-23rd December in the Great Hall, The Leys

Click for more details


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My adaptation/direction of Judith Kerr's THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is back in London, this time at Cadogan Hall. Here is a link for more details

BBC Radio London invited me to be interviewed - Click here to listen

Here is an interview with Benjamin Wells, who plays Daddy/Tiger at Cadogan Hall. It was made for Kids Week and the Official London Theatre website.

Click here to listen


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Following the Brexit vote, West End theatres are encouraging the world to see that London is still welcoming visitors. Here is a photo of THE GO-BETWEEN company proclaiming the news!


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Reviews are in for Roman Stefanski's lovely production of my adaptation of Roald Dahl's JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, currently playing a summer season at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon.

"an energetic, whacky and mesmerising world of wonder"

"A true triumph for children's theatre" ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

"a lovely children's play" ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

"An utter delight." ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Watch the trailer below


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The Press Night of the musical I co-wrote with Richard Taylor, based on THE GO-BETWEEN by LP Hartley was an exciting event, culminating in a standing ovation for Michael Crawford and the acting company. It has been a thrill to watch the production in rehearsal, having waited fifteen years to get this far! When the show won the Best Musical Production in the UK Theatre Awards 2012 we hoped very much that the West End might follow. And it has! With the legendary Michael Crawford singing beautifully and acting sensitively, never leaving the stage throughout the show! Thanks to Roger Haines for a wonderful production.

The Evening Standard Advert

Jenni Bowden, Issy van Randwyck, Gemma Sutton, Stuart Ward and Luka Green. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Michael Crawford, William Thompson, Gemma Sutton. Photo by Johan Persson
Samuel Menhinick, Luka Green Photo by Helen Maybanks


Here are some reviews and other bits of information that may be of interest.


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My adaptation of Roald Dahls THE MAGIC FINGER, first seen in the United States, is to be seen for the first time in Australia, where it will be produced by the Pymble Players from November 24th 2017 to December 2nd 2017. It seems a long way away, both time and place! But the time will probably go very quickly, even if the distance from the UK doesnt change!

The UK premiere of THE MAGIC FINGER takes place at South Hill Park, Bracknell from 26th - 30th October 2016. Distance no problem with this production. I certainly aim to go!


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Previews have started at the Apollo Theatre for THE GO-BETWEEN, the musical I co-adapted with Richard Taylor, the composer, from the classic novel by LP Hartley. Press night is on June 7th. Here is a photo of a front-of-house advertising board being put in place.


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Very happy to announce that Polka Theatre, the childrens theatre in Wimbledon, will be presenting a Christmas production of my adaptation of BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG, from the classic book by Dick King-Smith. By the sound of it, there will be a splendid mix of actors and puppets recreating the heart-warming story of the young pig who wants to be a sheep-dog. The book, of course, inspired the film BABE.

BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG plays from 25th November 2016 - 5th February 2017

For more information click here

A new production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls THE TWITS will play at Curve, Leicester for Christmas, as well as touring. It will come to the Rose Theatre, Kingston, who are co-producing. Max Webster is the talented director. He did a splendid production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH at West Yorkshire Playhouse a couple of Christmases ago. Im much looking forward to seeing his interpretation of my play.

For more details click here

THE TWITS plays from 10th December 2016 - 15th January 2017.


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Here are two first morning read-through pictures of the cast of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, my adaptation of Roald Dahls book, opening later in the month at Polka Theatre, directed by Roman Stefanski. Good luck everybody! Enjoy rehearsals!


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Rehearsals for THE GO-BETWEEN have begun. Here are some photos of the first day of the rehearsal meet and greet. Very exciting to see the cast all together in one place for the first time, and to hear them sing! And Mr Crawford was in great form too.

The Go Between Rehearsals

Click here to reach the official website with info about the show and how to book -


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Sell A Door Theatre Company are producing JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH for a short season and tour. They open at Greenwich Theatre and then travel to the Middle East. Click below for full details


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My adaptation of Judith Kerrs THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is returning to China by popular request! The production will open in Shanghai on April 29th, 2016 and play until 2nd May, before transferring to Beijing.

On their way home, the company will also play Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. More details on


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Illyria, the splendid open-air company run by Oliver Gray, has announced that my adaptation of DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD (Roald Dahl) will tour from May to August.

For more details and dates, please click here


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Having left the Duke of Yorks Theatre in London, my adaptation of Michelle Magorians classic novel, GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, is on the road. Angus Jacksons production has had a great reaction once again. Here are a couple of the latest reviews ...

David Woods stage adaptation of Michelle Magorians classic childrens book is by now a firm family favourite. Rightly so, for when its well done - as it certainly is here - its a truly engrossing piece of theatre, deeply moving and beautifully played.

The story is set at the beginning of the Second World War, and revolves around Tom Oakley, an elderly curmudgeon living in the heart of the English countryside who is reluctantly persuaded to take in William Beech, a withdrawn and shy young evacuee from London. The growing friendship between the reclusive Oakley and his young charge is pivotal to the book and forms the shows emotional anchor, so casting here is crucial.

Three boys alternate the role of William - Alex Taylor-McDowall appeared when I saw it, and he brings real poignancy and quiet confidence to the role of a young boy who gradually blossoms with kindness. David Troughton is nothing less than superb as the grumpy, obstreperous Oakley; with the exception of John Thaw (who turned in a magnificent on-screen performance) other f
From Essential Surrey

There wasnt a dry eye left in the house at the end of this moving and enjoyable adaptation of Michelle Magorians wartime novel, myself included! My heartstrings were well and truly pulled following the story of evacuee William Beech (Alex Taylor-McDowall), sent to live with the irascible Mister Tom,(David Troughton) and his faithful dog, Sammy (puppeteer Elisa De Grey). From the moment William appears in his doorway, head bowed and shoulders slumped, our sympathies are stirred, especially with bruises on his legs and his surprise at being told to sleep in the bed, instead of under it. His vulnerability and unorthodox religious upbringing by his mother baffle Tom at first, and it was heartwarming to watch the mismatched pair slowly care for each other. The cracking chemistry between the two was funny and touching, and Troughton was splendid as the gruff man with a painful past who discovers a reason to love again.

So William joins the welcoming Dorset community who show him the love and care of which he has been deprived. His exuberant friend Zac (Oliver Loades) drew many of the laughs, and was a joy to watch! It was most fascinating however, to watch Hawkins transform William from a frightened child, into a happy boy who experiences birthday parties and picnics for the first time.

The economical stagecraft brilliantly depicted the cosy countryside, with a jolly backdrop, then seamlessly shifted to grey, grim sets like Williams home. This horrifying scene with his mother finally reveals the cruelty he suffers, drawing shocked gasps. Melle Stewart (also playing Mrs Hartridge) was excellent as the tyrannical bully, and the subsequent events were too heartbreaking to watch. But the bittersweet ending left a tear in my eye, as I reflected that war can destroy many things but the power of love.

***** Malaka Chowdhury



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For the third time, Roman Stefanskis production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH will be playing at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, from Friday May 27th - Sunday 14th August 2016.

This is one of several productions and other entertainments organised to celebrate Roald Dahls centenary year. Im delighted that Romans production, which will, Im sure, be a delightful as the original one in 2004/5.

For more information, visit the Polka website

Save Childhood Movement - a splendid initiative

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The new organisation, Save Childhood Movement, aims to protect and promote the rights and freedoms of early childhood. I was asked to contribute something in support of this initiative. Click here to find the short video I made


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Several years after the first production of the musical adaptation of LP Hartleys THE GO-BETWEEN first appeared at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Derby Theatre and Theatre Royal, Northampton, Im delighted to spread the news that the show I created with composer Richard Taylor is coming to the West Ends Apollo Theatre in May, starring the legendary Michael Crawford.

Read more here

Roger Haines returns to direct the production once again, having led us to win the Best Musical Award in the 2012 UK Theatre Awards. The splendid organisation, Perfect Pitch, helped us develop the musical in its early stages.

Here are links to more information about the show -


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When the West End run of GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM finishes at the Duke of Yorks Theatre on February 20th, the company will be setting off on tour. Click on the link to find the tour dates, with subsequent links to each theatre for performance times, dates etc.


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Delighted to say that the archive of Whirligig Theatre, the childrens touring theatre company I ran with John Gould for 25 years, is now described on the online catalogue of the Theatre Museum at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The archive contains material relating to all the productions we mounted from 1978 (the pilot project) through to 2004, including our London seasons at Sadlers Wells.

Here is the link to the online catalogue -


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Seven Stories is the brilliant organisation dedicated to childrens literature. They look after my archive of my plays and childrens books, complete with all the notes and letters and drafts that I have collected and hoarded for more than fifty years.

In 2015, Seven Stories employed a young Spanish intern, Paula Pintos, who spent a considerable amount of time ploughing through all my stuff! Im glad to say that she seemed to enjoy the task, and wrote about it in a splendid blog, the link to which is below.

Paula, who has an enviable mastery of the English language, sent me the following e-mail, once she had returned to Spain:

Hello, Mr Wood!

Its that Paula Pintos who has been working with your archive at Seven Stories. I just wanted to tell you that I had a brilliant time immersing myself in your work. It was absolutely delightful and it was so hard to pick which angles in your career I wanted to highlight for the blog, to do you and your archive justice. I am happier than happiest that you liked the blog post enough to share it on your site! I only blushed under the desk for five seconds, before the excitement won and I decided to celebrate it by decorating a couple of the gingerbread men that the lovely people from Seven Stories Collection Departament gave me as a goodbye gift. (I kept babbling about how funny and interesting the material was, I guess!)

Thank you for your with and your kindness!


Click here to read Paulas blog, which is called A Twits Story at Seven Stories.


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Early in December I enjoyed being interview by Miriam Gillinson for Exeunt Magazine. We talked about childrens theatre in general, plus THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA and GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM in particular. Miriam asked interesting and intelligent questions, which I tried to answer to the best of my ability and experience!


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So pleased that my adaptation of Michelle Magorians classic novel, GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, had successfully returned to the West End. When the production, directed by Angus Jackson, received a Olivier Award in 2013, I hoped very much that it might signal the return of a show which means a great deal to me. Now, with David Troughton movingly playing the title role, the show has settled in at the Duke of Yorks Theatre, thanks to Fiery Angel, the Childrens Touring Partnership and ATG.

It is particularly appropriate that the play should be at the Duke of Yorks. Included within the story are short excerpts from PETER PAN and TOAD OF TOAD HALL. In 1904 the very first production of PETER PAN took place in this very theatre. And for many years David Convilles annual Christmas production of AA Milnes adaptation of Kenneth Grahames book THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, played on this very stage! There have been several reviews in newspapers and on websites, all of them extremely positive.

Please click on a selection below.

Official London Theatre invited me to contribute an article about the return of GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. Click here to see the article on their website.

Here is the link to the new trailer for the production

Click to view Trailer

Here is a link to an interview with Angus Jackson, the director, David Troughton, who plays Mister Tom, and two of the young actors playing William and Zach

Click to view interview


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To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, sixty playwrights were asked to contribute a play lasting no more than sixty seconds. These were then recorded by professional members of the acting company, and put online, introduced by Sir Alan Ayckbourn, who ran the theatre for many years.

Click here to the link to Sixty by Sixty. My play is in the Library section. It is called SPEAKING VOLUMES ...


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Nikolai Fosters production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls THE WITCHES is exciting audiences at Curve Leicester. A very clever company including several actors/musicians, tell the spooky tale with relish, energy and humour.

The Curve, Leicester production of THE WITCHES, my Roald Dahl adaptation, has been extremely well received. It is now touring for several weeks.

Here are the dates:

  • 16-20 February - Nuffield Southampton
  • 23-27 February - Hall for Cornwall
  • 1-5 March - Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
  • 8-12 March - Corn Exchange, Newbury
  • 15-19 March - Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
  • 21-26 March - Lowry Studio, Salford
  • 29 March � 10 April - Rose Theatre, Kingston

Click below on some of the excellent reviews.


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It was a pleasure and an honour to be on the panel talking about the BBC tv institution that was JACKANORY. Along with producer Jeremy Swan, actors Hannah Gordon and Bernard Holley, illustrator Paul Birkbeck and (on film the wonderful Bernard Cribbins) I was able to reminisce about my first appearance in 1969, reading OVER SEA, UNDER STONE by Susan Cooper, my second appearance a year later telling stories from the ballet, and my exciting JACKANORY 3,000, ten-episode storytelling of THE HOBBIT, with Cribbins, Jan Francis and Maurice Denham.

We were expertly interviewed by writer/presenter Matt Brown, and the event was put together with care and skill by Edward Pugh, who worked on many BBC programmes (I first met him on PLAY AWAY, when he was an assistant floor manager, and later was delighted to be in the cast of his first job as programme director of a JACKANORY PLAYHOUSE) and later became Head of Childrens at Granada TV. It was great to see familiar faces from way back when smiling in the audience! Below are two photos I discovered on Twitter. Apologies for not crediting the photographer! In one photo I am seen demonstrating my pop-in-the-slot book FUNNY BUNNYS MAGIC SHOW - everyone graciously joined in the rhymes, and provided vocal audience participation, the one ingredient that tvs JACKANORY could never have!


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whatsonstage reviewer Jane Kemp really has understood exactly what we are trying to do in THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA. Here is her review.

Theres nowhere to hide with an audience of under-fives. They either like your play and join in wholeheartedly, or theyre bored and start squirming about and crying.

Thankfully the enduring appeal of The Tiger Who Came to Tea makes this a delightful show that could scarcely fail to entertain any child, whether they already know the story or not. The adaptation by director David Wood determinedly keeps faith with the combination of homely charm and surreal events that have made Judith Kerrs 1968 picture book so loved by generations of children.

And its clear from the audiences eager prompts that many of them are very familiar indeed with the tale of the greedy Tiger, who politely but resolutely eats the entire contents of Sophies tea table, kitchen cupboards and fridge, and even drinks Daddys beer and all the water in the taps.

Capturing the feline charm of this visitor is Benjamin Wells, (who does duty as Daddy too). Capering gracefully inside his tiger costume, he conveys the gentlemanly elegance of a courtier, while maintaining an undercurrent of danger, after all, this tiger does seem to be extremely hungry.

Sophie, complete with her famous harlequin-patterned tights and smock dress, is played by Abbey Norman with huge energy and enthusiasm, while Jenanne Redman is a safe and reassuring presence as Mummy.

David Woods music and lyrics are deceptively simple but very appealing. Its perhaps a little ambitious to expect such a young audience to tackle singing a three-part round about sausages and chips, but they all have a go, and the title song was being warbled in the loos afterwards, which is always a good sign.

The design and costumes are an absolute triumph for Susie Caulcutt. Ultimately this show stands or falls by the quality of its hero, and the fluffy fur, adorable face and perky tail of this majestic Tigers costume have true child appeal. When a book is as well known as this one, no one wants too many departures from the familiar, and recreating the gentle warmth of Kerrs original illustrations has been achieved by Caulcutt with sensitivity and imagination.

Lighting designer Tony Simpson also excels during the night-time scenes, capturing the shimmering city streets as Sophie, Mummy and Daddy set off for the thrilling outing in the dark to have their dinner in a cafe.

The show has been touring successfully since 2008, and Wood credits Kerr for her helpful input into creating the original production.

Seeing your favourite characters jump out of the pages of a book and onto the stage is a magical experience, and this is a Tiger who really has earned his stripes.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea runs at the Lyric Theatre until 19 January.


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Some lovely reviews have come in for THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, my adaptation/direction of Judith Kerrs classic book. Here are some links, including one to a television excerpt recorded by LONDON LIVE.


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That wonderful institution SEVEN STORIES, based in Newcastle, is ten years old this year! It has been a huge success promoting and celebrating childrens books with exhibitions, activities, educational work, a great bookshop and its collections. It was the first organisation to take seriously the archives of childrens writers and illustrators, and now has a remarkable array of fascinating material. A splendid book has been published, DRAWN FROM THE ARCHIVE, by Sarah Lawrance, to mark the anniversary.

My own archive is lodged with Seven Stories, and it is warming to know that all my hand-written manuscripts, drafts, notes on the backs of envelopes and early efforts are safe in the hands of experts.

Here I am giving my speech, watched by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England

Click here to see the Seven Stories website.


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Available on Amazon, MOLES BEDTIME STORY, the book I created with Richard Fowler, is currently selling lots of copies, as Christmas presents I imagine.

Here is a lovely message from a satisfied customer!

Have received my new copy of Moles Bedtime Story. This book was, and is, my daughters all time favourite bedtime story - and shes now 20! Im delighted that I can continue to share this magic with friends grandchildren as my daughter wouldnt allow her copy to be used by anyone else. Thank you for your lovely compliments slip.

FUNNY BUNNYS MAGIC SHOW is also selling well!


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Delighted that Sarah Esdailes production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls THE BFG has had a lovely review in The Stage.

Roald Dahls fictional gentle giant famously finds getting his tongue round human words "a twitch-ticking problem." Director Sarah Esdaile and her production team,... READ MORE


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I was very pleased to be asked to record some memories of my association with Chichester Festival Theatre since before it was built back in the 60s until the production of GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM a few years ago. In that time I have worked at Chichester as an extra, a playwright, an actor and a director. The Festival Theatre has instigated a brilliant project called PASS IT ON, which is assembling an archive and an oral history. More details below.

Pass It On started in January 2013 and is a three year project to capture, explore and share the history of Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) and its incredible Post War 60s building. We have been collecting peoples memories of CFT and putting together a public archive of the theatres work as well as an online archive exhibiting some the great items and stories that have made CFT what it is today. To find out more visit:

Listen to the interview


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The 11th JM Barrie Awards took place on November 5th and proved to be an enjoyable and inspirational afternoon, during which Sir Ken Robinson was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Childrens Arts Award, Dame Jacqueline Wilson was presented with the JM Barrie Award 2015, and Members Awards were presented to Carolyn Mairi L. Forsyth, Sahana Gero, Daniel Jamieson, Mike Kenny and Charles Way.

250 people attended the event, which I was privileged to host as Chair of ACA. Vicky Ireland, Vice-Chair, joined me in the presentation duties, along with ACA Patrons Peter Duncan and Baroness Floella Benjamin. Speakers included the current Childrens Laureate, Chris Riddell, his predecessor, Malorie Blackman OBE and many of Dame Jacqueline Wilsons associates and colleagues, paying tribute to the extraordinary contribution she had made to childrens literature.

Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE

Chris Riddell

Dame Jacqueline Wilson

Malorie Blackman OBE

Mike Kenny, Adaptor of The Railway Children

Vicky Ireland


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Susan Elkin, who has recently been championing theatre for children in her Stage columns, wrote a very complimentary and comprehensive article about me and my work in the October 15th edition of The Stage. Here is the link...


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I was delighted to receive the message below from my friend Michele Brandenburger, who has just directed the Australian premiere of my adaptation of Roald Dahls GEORGES MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. It played in Sydney at the King Street Theatre for 15 sold out performances. Congratulations Michele, and thank you!

"Thought I would let you know that our entire run has been sold out with people clamouring for tickets.

Your adaptation works a treat on stage, and the young audiences are loving it, while all the adults in the house get as involved as the kids in all the stirring and blowing etc

Thank you for sharing your magic with the world. You have such a special gift which I for one am so delighted that I stumbled upon, all those years ago, when I first directed `The Owl and the Pussycat went to See... which got me totally hooked on your work.

Take care and best wishes Michele"


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Seven Stories, the splendid institution in Newcastle, otherwise known as The Centre for the Childrens Book, kindly acquired a major part of my writing for children archive, and have been diligently cataloguing and preserving all my manuscripts and notes for posterity. Now Paula Pintos, a work placement student from Spain, has written a delightful article all about working on the archive. She has kindly allowed me to put it on my website.

Read the Article Here


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Recently I found on YouTube the Irish television recording of ROCK NATIVITY, the musical I co-wrote with Tony Hatch back in the 70s. RTE made the programme, featuring their splendid concert orchestra. In the cast were Colm Wilkinson, later to become a star in LES MISERABLES, and Johnny Logan, who, I think, holds the record for performing/writing the most Eurovision Song Contest winners! Although the production is somewhat unimaginative, the musical content, in my view, stands up rather well! Until I found this on YouTube, I had never actually seen the production on television, although I was watching the recording in Cork Opera House.


Gingerbread Line There are several productions of my plays scheduled for Christmas seasons. Here are some ...

  • THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, based on Judith Kerr's classic picture book. Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. 25 November 2015 � 10 January 2016.

  • GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, based on Michelle Magorian's classic novel. Duke of York's Theatre, London. 17 December 2015 � 20 February 2016.
  • THE BFG, based on Roald Dahl's book. Octagon Theatre, Bolton. 13 November 2015 � 9 January 2016.

  • THE WITCHES, based on Roald Dahl's book. Dundee Rep. 2 November 2015 � 31 December 2016.

  • THE WITCHES, based on Roald Dahl's book. Curve, Leicester. 9 December 2015 � 10 January 2016.

    The production also visits Hong Kong 27 � 29 November 2015 and tours to the following theatres in 2016

    • Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
    • Hall for Cornwall, Truro
    • Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
    • Corn Exchange, Newbury
    • Lowry Studio, Salford
    • Watford Colosseum
    • Rose Theatre, Kingston
    • Everyman Theatre, Liverpool


Gingerbread Line Absolutely delighted that my adaptation of Michelle Magorians classic novel, GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM is returning to the West End for a ten week season, opening on December 11th at the Duke of Yorks Theatre.

In 2013, Angus Jacksons production, presented by Fiery Angel, ATG and the Childrens Touring Partnership won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family. Now its coming back, featuring the splendid David Troughton as Mister Tom.

Click on this link for further coverage.

Michelle Magorian tells The Guardian readers how her book was turned by me into a stage play ...

Read the article here


Gingerbread Line Very pleased to read Susan Elkins OPINION column on The Stage website. She says it all!

Read Susans column

A week later, in her published Stage article, Susan kindly mentioned my STORYTIME show ...

Read Susans Article here


Gingerbread Line It was enjoyable meeting old friends and making new friends at the Annual UK Theatre AGM/lunch at Kings Place. Mags Patten, communication director of the Arts Council made a positive speech, assuring us that ACE were fighting hard our corner, arguing for public money for the arts in the next spending review. Lets hope ACE succeeds in achieving, if not an increase, at least a standstill grant

I was pleased to hear her say, we have to remind our politicians that we make a massive impact on hearts as well as minds. We should explain to them how every child deserves the chance to take part in the arts � and lets use powerful human stories and images to bring alive that impact of the arts on our souls and wellbeing.



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....that Cilla has left us. She was part of most peoples lives whether as pop princess or queen of Saturday night popular tv. My own happy memory of her is playing her boyfriend in her sitcom series CILLAS WORLD OF COMEDY in 1976. Also in the cast , playing her father, was the lovely actor Leslie Sands, with whom I had acted in AFTER HAGGERTY for the Royal Shakespeare Company. I remember her being kind and professional, and never more than a few feet away from Bobby, her husband and manager. We recorded the show in the ATV Studios at Elstree, with a live audience. On the day, there was a technicians strike, which meant we couldnt do the show. But there was no time to notify the audience and stop them coming. Cilla immediately decided they mustnt be disappointed. She called the cast together and asked to know our party pieces. That night the audience were treated to Cilla hosting a cabaret, in which Leslie did a comedy monologue, I performed a magic trick, and Cilla sang, unaccompanied, with feeling, I CAN SING A RAINBOW. To be honest, I think the audience enjoyed it as much, if not more than they would have enjoyed the sitcom episode!

Also sad to hear that the brilliant theatre director Robin Phillips has died. He had many successes in the UK, including ABELARD AND ELOISE, but arguably did his best work in Canada, where he ran the Stratford, Ontario theatre. Our paths rarely crossed except way back in 1958, when we both took part in a residential young peoples week-long drama course in West Sussex. For me, aged 14, this week was a revelation and confirmed my belief that the theatre was my wished-for future career. Robin was the star of the course. He was 18 and on his way to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. We acted together in a Kabuki play, a stylised, physical Japanese theatre form. Robin was very impressive indeed, and clearly destined for great things as an actor. This came true, but his directing career will probably be remembered even more.



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The award-winning Imagination Stage production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls THE BFG has successfully transferred to the National Theatre in Washington. Here is the first review.

Read the Review



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Looking forward to giving two performances of DAVID WOODS STORYTIME � THE GINGERBREAD MAN in the summer.

On Tuesday, 25th August I will be at Greenwich Theatre � two performances at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm. These performances will be included in the annual KIDSWEEK. Click here

I will be at the Swan Theatre, Worcester at 11.00 am on Saturday, 29th August. Click here for more information



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My production/adaptation of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is going to be seen in China in September/October, in Beijing and Shanghai. This is the first time one of my productions has toured to China.

Later the production will be back in the West End for a Christmas season at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, opening on November 25th.


Sorry to hear that ...

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The brilliant ventriloquist Keith Harris has died. My children and millions of others grew up with Orville and Cuddles. Keith and Orville recorded two of my songs OLD FATHER TIME and IF WISHES WERE HORSES. They also sang OLD FATHER TIME on their television show. Here are links to the two tracks from their album.

Keith Harris & Orville - If Wishes Were Horses.MP4
Keith Harris & Orville - Old Father Time.MP4



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It was a great pleasure to return to the Swan Theatre, Worcester on March 17th, 2015, for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Chris Jaeger, who runs Worcester Live, who run both the Swan and Huntingdon Hall, put on a very enjoyable and amusing evening of performances by the various local companies, both professional and amateur, who regularly perform at the Swan.

It was a happy yet sobering thought that I first trod the boards of the Swan nearly fifty years ago! I was in the second production to visit the theatre. It was an Oxford University revue on its way to the Edinburgh Festival, directed by and starring Michael Palin, with Diana Quick, Robert Hewison, Mick Sadler and myself. Two years later, in 1967, John Hole, who had been appointed as Artistic Director of a brand new repertory company, invited me to be one of two actor/directors. The other was Sam Walters, later to run the Orange Tree Theatre for Richmond for many years. For me, at 22, this was an unbelievable opportunity. I directed the very first play of the Worcester Repertory Company (THE KNACK by Ann Jellicoe) and acted in the second (NEXT TIME ILL SING TO YOU by James Saunders). There followed several other enjoyable productions. John Hole also asked me to run childrens theatre on Saturday mornings, which led to him inviting me to write the Christmas production, 1967. This was THE TINDER BOX, based on the Hans Andersen story. It was my first childrens play and, in many ways, changed my life. The following year I co-wrote THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE..., and was hooked from there on! Childrens theatre became a major part of my life.

Im delighted to say I will be going back to the Swan to perform DAVID WOODS STORYTIME � THE GINGERBREAD MAN, on August 29th 2015.


TYA US One World Conference in Chicago

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Thank you, TYA US, for inviting me to lead two sessions at this excellent conference, much of which took place in the splendid new Theatre Department building at De Paul University. I met up with old and new American childrens theatre practioner colleagues, many of whom have created productions of my plays, including my Dahl adaptations and BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG.

My sessions � The Business and Craft of Adaptation and Theatre for the under-fives � a growing market were well-attended, and I also saw some good performances and heard some interesting talks.

Samuel French in New York asked me to write an article for their magazine.

Click here to read it.



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The BFGGreat news from Imagination Stage, the splendid childrens theatre in Washington DC. Their production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls THE BFG has won two Awards in the annual Helen Hayes Awards.

Best Scenic Design Award and Best Theatre for Young Audiences Production.

Congratulations to Janet Stanford, Kathryn Chase Bryer and all the company.

Visit their website here -Imagination Stage

The production is, I am very pleased to say, transferring for a short season to the National Theatre in Washington DC. It will play there from July 14-25th. Here is the trailer.



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The Tiger Who Came to TeaDelighted to announce that my adaptation of Judith Kerrs THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA will be playing a season at the Edinburgh Festival, 2015. Full details at Tiger Tour Dates. This production will be running at the same time as the current tour, which continues until the end of August.

Click here for all dates.


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The Tiger Who Came to TeaMy adaptation of Judith Kerrs classic picture book,
THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is on tour until the end of August, 2015.

Click here for all dates.


At some venues TIGER is sharing with PETER PAN GOES WRONG produced by Kenny Wax, co-producer of TIGER. At Glasgow Theatre Royal, for the benefit of the press, a tea party was organised featuring a delightful young Sophie enjoying tea with Captain Hook and the Tiger.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Peter Pan Goes Wrong


Enjoyed The Stage New Year Party!
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Met up with Bob Carlton, creator of RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET

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Following its very successful run at Birmingham Town Hall, my production/adaptation of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, adapted from Judith Kerrs classic picture book, is now on tour. The first date was Radlett Centre. Here is a lovely e-mail we received from a local nursery school ...

"Please pass on our thanks to the amazing team who produced and performed The Tiger Who Came to Tea today in Radlett. We brought our whole nursery school to the performance and every single one of them was in awe during the show and absolutely buzzing when they saw their parents and told them about it.

We do a theatre trip each year as a school and this was by far the best production we have seen for this age range. As adults we loved the fact the story was kept so true to the book and this made it more engaging as we had done some preparation with the children beforehand. Thank you so much to all involved we will certainly be looking out for any more tours next year!"

Click here to read a lovely review from the Lowry, Salford

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Pleased to announce that the much-praised London Contemporary Theatre will be touring a new production of my adaptation of Roald Dahls DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD from March 2015. The company will be visiting middle-scale and smaller venues, who might usually not be offered a Dahl tour.

Enjoyed Lotte Wakeham’s production of my adaptation of DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, presented by London Contemporary Theatre. 

Happy to meet the cast and Lotte after the performance at the Paul Robeson Theatre, Hounslow.

Dates are;


  • 26, 27, 28 - Paul Robeson Theatre, Hounslow.
  • 30, 31 - Charter Theatre, Preston.
  • April

  • 1, 2, 3 - Norwich Playhouse.
  • 7 - The Roses, Tewkesbury.
  • 8, 9 - The Castle, Wellingborough.
  • 10 - The Place, Bedford.
  • 11 - Farnham Maltings.
  • 14 - Lighthouse, Poole.
  • 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 - South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell.
  • 20th - 26th - OFF
  • 27, 28 - Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock.
  • May

  • 1 - Playhouse, Whitley Bay.
  • 2 - Carriageworks, Leeds.
  • 4, 5 - Victoria Theatre, Halifax.
  • 7, 8, 9 - The Egg, Bath Theatre Royal.
  • 10, 11 - Chipping Norton Theatre.
  • 13 - Pommegranate Theatre, Chesterfield.
  • 14, 15, 16 - The Beck Theatre, Hayes.
  • 18, 19 - Brewhouse, Taunton.
  • 20, 21 - Theatre Royal, St Helens.
  • 22 - Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe.
  • 24, 25 - White Rock, Hastings.
  • 26, 27, 28 - Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

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Sales of the pop-in-the-slot books I co-created with Richard Fowler have been steady over the years.



Here are some of the nice comments we have been receiving recently from Amazon customers ...

I received this as a gift as this was one of my favorite books as a child (now 17). I was extremely happy as I remember being upset when the mole was ripped and lost after years of use. I was glad to find that the author was kind enough to enclose a signed note with the book as such a lovely gesture. I dont usually leave feedback but this meant so much that I wanted to share my appreciation.

Thank you for the prompt despatch of this book. It is a replacement to keep for when I have grandchildren! The old, very used book was beyond repair. It was one of my childrens favourite bedtime books (and particularly one of mine, which is why I now have a replacement!) Thank you for entertaining my four children endlessly with these well loved mole books!

What a lovely story I was slightly apprehensive about buying this book as Id bought it for my class who love books, however on occasion they can become very enthusiastic and things do break. However they love mole and so far hes still in one piece!! Looking forward to reading more about Moles adventures

Fantastic books that I would recommend for any child. Have previously ordered a book from this seller - comes direct from the author who always writes a personal message inside the package. Nice personal touch. Wish he would write more books like this as my daughter absolutely loves them

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The productions for Christmas 2015/15 have now opened! Here are some press comments ...

THE BFG Birmingham Rep � Enchanting and absorbing ... a thrilling introduction to theatre for any child A family treat that will leave the children beaming Entertaining ... charming and striking

THE BFG � Lyceum, Edinburgh - Swish, sparkling take on Roald Dahl, with strong puppetry and plenty of subversion

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH � Waterside Arts Centre, Sale Children sat upright and wide eyed marvellous magic this weird and wonderful production makes it almost believable through a childs eyes.

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So pleased that my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA is proving a great success in the Playhouse at Sydney Opera House.  Here is a review ...

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As Chair of the charity Action for Children’s Arts, I was delighted to host the annual JM Barrie Awards, presented to people who have made a significant contribution to children’s arts.  The major award this year was won by the legendary actor and storyteller Bernard Cribbins OBE.  During the presentation he was reunited with fellow stars of the film THE RAILWAY CHILDREN.  Northern Ballet received an Outstanding Contribution Award for their series of SHORT BALLETS FOR SMALL PEOPLE.  Wayne Sleep OBE presented this award.  Several of our members nominated winners of the Members’ Awards – children’s arts practitioners all over the country who, without much prestige, make a great contribution, often largely unrecognised.

This year’s Awards took place in the splendid Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House, hosted by the BBC.  We were delighted that the Director General spoke passionately about children’s arts, as did one of our Patrons, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE

To Watch the Awards presentation, please click on this link ..

And here are a few photos

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Novel Entertainment are putting together a series for CBBC, with the working title of CINEMANIACS.  This is a series about the movies, for children.

I was delighted to record a contribution about the film adaptation of SWALLOWS & AMAZONS, for which I wrote the screenplay over 40 years ago!  It has just been re-released as a DVD and Blue-ray.  Sophie Neville, who played Titty in the film, was interviewed with me.  

Here is a photo of us.

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There are several Christmas season productions of my plays coming up, including several of my Roald Dahl adaptations

james_and_the_giant_peach_xmasJAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH will be at Dundee Rep (25th November 2014 – 7th January 2015)

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH will also be at West Yorkshire Playhouse (5th December 2014 – 24th January 2015)

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH will also be at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, Cheshire from 12 December 2014 – 3rd January 2015.  This is Watershed Productions presenting the Polka Theatre production.

The BFG Christmas
is at Birmingham Rep (26th November 2014 – 17th January 2015)

THE BFG is also at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh (28th November 2014 – 3rd January 2015)


is at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter (9th December 2014 – 4th January 2015). This is the Birmingham Stage Company production that has been so successful on tour and in London.

Danny Champion of the World

is at Brentwood Theatre (8th December 2014 – 3rd January 2015).

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Meanwhile, my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA will be at Birmingham Town Hall for Christmas (from 23rd December 2014 – 14th January 2015)

The Nutcracker Sweet

One of my early original plays, NUTCRACKER SWEET, can be seen at the Blakehay Theatre, Weston-Super-Mare (17th – 22nd December 2014)

Gingerbread Line

Over the years people have asked if there are recordings available of some of my shows, particularly the songs. Commercial recordings have been made from time to time, but in the days of vinyl and cassettes!

First Night Records, who produce so many original cast albums of West End musicals, released two recordings of my shows back in the 80s and 90s. THE OLD MAN OF LOCHNAGAR, my adaptation of HRH The Prince of Wales’ book and CHISH ‘N’ FIPS, the tv series based on my play THE IDEAL GNOME EXPEDITION.

Not long ago I realised that these two albums were now available only as a download from i-Tunes. This led me to wonder whether some of my other recordings might also be made available in this way.

John Craig of First Night Records kindly suggested that these recordings could be released via First Night Records, straight on to iTunes.

So it is with pleasure that I announce that songs from MEG AND MOG SHOW (featuring Maureen Lipman and Julia McKenzie and the original Unicorn Theatre cast), THE GINGERBREAD MAN (narrated by Bernard Cribbins and featuring the original Old Vic cast), THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE... (featuring Harry Secombe, Roy Castle, Hattie Jacques, Christopher Biggins and yours truly!) and THE DAVID WOOD SONGBOOK, in which I indulge myself by singing a dozen of my own songs, accompanied by the Allfarthing School choir – all are now available on iTunes.

I suggest that interested parties should go via the First Night Records website, which has all sorts of other interesting recordings listed

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My adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, will be off to Australia for Christmas, followed by seasons in Hong Kong and Singapore. Delighted that the current company performing the show at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, are all making the trip.

Here are the dates:
  • Sydney Opera House – 10th-28th December 2014
  • Melbourne Arts Centre – 2nd – 18th January 2015
  • Hong Kong – 4th-15th February 2015
  • Singapore 19th – February – 1st March 2015

  • Watch a video here 

    Gingerbread Line

    Every year the Society of London Theatre organises Kids Week, a splendid initiative whereby if an adult buys a ticket for a West End show, they can take a child free, and a second child at half price. Thousands of tickets are sold this way, giving children a chance to see a West End show. Not only shows specially mounted for children, like my own THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, but also major musicals and plays take part, so children of all ages are catered for. This year the launch took place in the splendid surroundings of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Children and parents saw excerpts from shows, joined in activities and heard famous children’s authors interviewed. Here are some pictures from the event. 

    Joey, the famous War Horse poses with, from left to right, Danyah Miller, the storyteller of I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS,Terry Deary, the creator of HORRIBLE HISTORIES, yours truly and Dame Jacqueline Wilson, celebrated children’s author, whose stories include HETTY FEATHER, currently in the West End.

    I had an enjoyable time giving a storytelling session to some of the guests.

    I was delighted that Judith Kerr, creator of the classic THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, which I adapted for the stage, and which is currently at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, joined me on stage to be interviewed.

    Gingerbread Line

    The MainStreet Theatre Company in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who recently presented my adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE MAGIC FINGER, have just done a very well received production of my adaptation of Dahl’s THE BFG. 

    Imagination Stage presents The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant), based on the book by Roald Dahl, adapted for the stage by David Wood, and directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer and Eric J. Van Wyk. Before you read on, let me just say this: I review shows quite often, but this is one of the best productions I have seen in a long time! Why? Read on.

    The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves). Photo by Margot Schulman.

    The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves). Photo by Margot Schulman.

    Eric J. Van Wyk is one busy man– not only does he co-direct this production, but he is also the set, puppets, and projection designer! As most of the plot takes place at nighttime, the set has an overall soothing effect– what looks like bright stars framing the stage turn out to be lit-up “dream jars” upon closer inspection, and a projection screen set into an archway shows different settings throughout the show, either inside the cave of a giant or flying across the London skyline. Lighting Designer Jason Arnold uses cool purples and blues, and the hues are beautifully coupled with Sound Designer Christopher Baines’ tinkling chimes. Be careful not to let the relaxed setting lull you to sleep before the show, or you’ll miss the puppets!

    Usually in a production of The BFG, an actor plays the giant whilst a marionette is used to portray Sophie, but Van Wyk decided to flip this notion, and the payoff is, well…GIANT. The puppets are truly masterful pieces. Larger than life (it can take up to four puppeteers at a time to control one puppet), the puppets also manage to have a delicate and fragile air about them, looking to be mainly made out of airy fabrics and gauze. They are a real sight to be seen, and watching the puppeteers work together to manipulate their movements is downright fascinating! Stagehands in black jumpsuits are also kept busy throughout the show, maneuvering a wide variety of props (fabrics, plastic cups, themselves, the list goes on…) to lend fantastic and creative effects.

    It’s the middle of the night, and Sophie (Megan Graves) is tossing and turning at the lonesome orphanage where she sleeps. When she is startled by the BFG (James Konicek) standing outside her window, and downright shocked when the giant lifts her up and whisks her away to his home in Giant Country. Since Sophie has seen him, he reasons, she now has to stay with him lest she spread the secret of giants and he ends up caged in a zoo! Luckily for Sophie, the BFG is a friendly giant, and she soon finds herself happily at home with her new friend, gathering pleasant dreams together to bring to children, which is the BFG’s life mission. However, other giants are not like the BFG…they like to eat humans! Matthew Schleigh, Matthew McGee, and Jon Hudson Odom make up a bloodthirsty trio as Fleshlumpeater, Bonecruncher, and Gizzardgulper. When a plot to snack on Sophie’s fellow orphans is discovered, it is up to Sophie and the BFG to stop them! This is an important task, and they will need some powerful help, so who else to turn to but…the Queen of England!

    If the plot sounds a little fantastical, it’s because it is. The plot is silly in the best possible way, and the performances are delivered with such hilarity that I probably missed a good portion of the show because I was laughing so hard! Keep your eye out for a riotous scene devoted to “whizzpopping” (I’ll not spoil the surprise, so let’s just say it’s rip-roaring fun!) Susan Lynskey does a dynamic job with her role as The Queen of England; with a pinched face and squinted eyes, she pokes some good-natured fun at the real-life Queen, from mimicking her famous cupped wave to walking around with a barking mop that she refers to as “Camilla.”

    A nod goes to Costume Designer Jeffrey Stolz here as well; with her short curly coif, oversized glasses, and fur-lined robe, Lynskey is the Queen! Megan Graves is delightfully cheerful and funny as Sophie, and as far as James Konicek goes in his performance as the BFG, well, I’m not sure how he does it! Not only does he do the majority of the puppeteering for the BFG (if you look closely, you can see his face hovering somewhere around the BFG’s waistline), but his detailed vocal performance gives great life to this character. Truly, the whole ensemble here shines in their performances. I particularly enjoyed Maboud Ebrahimzadeh’s scene-stealing turn as the Queen of Sweden , and Austin Sargent scored huge laughs from a variety of smaller roles that he pumped full of personality.

    So, will this unlikely team be able to help save the children of Britain? Or will they find themselves in one  giant mess?

    – Sophie (L-Megan Graves) and the Queen of England (R-Susan Lynskey). Photo by Margot Schulman.

    – Sophie (L-Megan Graves) and the Queen of England (R-Susan Lynskey). Photo by Margot Schulman.

    Whenever  I come across a show this hilarious, clever, and vivacious, I wish our rating scale went higher than a five because I’d give it a 10! In fact, I am considering carving out some time to go and see it again! Imagination Stage’s production of The BFG is an absolute Must-See– don’t miss it!

    Gingerbread Line

    In May 2014 I was delighted to go to California to see the second US production of my adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE MAGIC FINGER. It took place at the splendid Lewis Family Playhouse, Rancho Cucamonga, presented by the MainStreet Theatre Company, produced by my good friend Murry Hepner and splendidly directed by my new friend Abigail Deser! Following the world premiere by Imagination Stage in Washington DC, I had made a few amendments, one of which was to make the play a one-act instead of a two-act. This was, I think, helpful. The play now runs at about 55 mins, which seems to work very well.

    Samuel French have offered to publish the play, so I hope there will be more performances, both professional and amateur, in due course. My thanks to both Imagination Stage and MainStreet Theatre Company for giving the play such a strong start in the United States!

    Watch an interview with David about The Magic Finger

    David Wood - The Magic Finger from City of Rancho Cucamonga on Vimeo.

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    Back in 1998, Richard Fowler and I introduced SILLY SPIDER. He starred in the novelty book of the same name. Published by Random House, it featured the pop-in-the-slot novelty previously seen in MOLE’S BEDTIME STORY and FUNNY BUNNY’S MAGIC SHOW. Now, after receiving a number of requests, I’m delighted to say that SILLY SPIDER is available again, via Amazon or via this website. Look in MY BOOKS for more details.

    An enjoyable book that has given us endless fun. Work your way from front to back cover while your child giggles helplessly and then reverse the process and work your way back! This book is a great book that can keep a wide age range captivated. Babies like to watch and love the element of surprise when Silly Spider pops out. The toddler enjoys posting Silly Spider through the slots and turning the page to see where he's gone. Great fun for mum and dad or older siblings to join in! Ten out of ten.’
    ‘A simple but very good book for toddlers. My daughter absolutely loves it as did her friends at nursery. Following the spider from page to page, the child is always delighted to find the spider under the soap or in the toilet. It never ceases to delight.’

    Gingerbread Line

    Illyria, the splendid open-air touring company, are presenting their third production of my Dahl adaptations. This time GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE is touring round to beautiful locations country-wide. Many performances are given at National Trust properties. 

    Pictures from a recent production.

    For more information, dates and times of performance, please visit the Illyria website,

    Goodnight Mister Tom Published!
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    Samuel French Ltd. have published the script of my adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s award-winning novel GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM. Copies are now available of the play which, following its opening at Chichester and two tours, played at the Phoenix Theatre in the West End and won the Best Entertainment and Family Olivier Award 2014. The amateur rights are still not released, because there is a strong possibility that the West End production will be returning quite soon.

    Watch the trailer

    Read the review by Libby Purves from The Times Here

    Gingerbread Line

    The Tiger Who Came To Tea

    It has been a real pleasure once again to direct my adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, and to bring it once more into the West End. We are back at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue from July 2nd – September 7th 2014.

    It seems much less than six years ago that we first put on TIGER, which has since toured extensively and been nominated for an Olivier Award in 2012. My regular team have, I’m delighted to say, returned. Susie Caulcutt (designer), Emma Clayton (assistant director/choreographer), Peter Pontzen (musical supervisor), Scott Penrose (magic supervisor), Tony Simpson (lighting designer) and Andy Shaw (sound designer) have been on the show from day one and all seem to enjoy it as much as I do!

    Here are some recent articles and two television reports about the latest production.

    Report and Video from the BBC

    Video report from MSN News

    News report from the Evening Standard

    News report from The Guardian (doc format)

    Here is a lovely review from Official London Theatre.

    The Tiger Who Came To Tea

    Reporter: Kate Stanbury, first published

    What’s it all about?

    No doubt any of the tiny Tiger experts, whose parents were testing them on the storyline as they waited in anticipation for the matinee performance to begin, would be able to give you a more detailed synopsis of Judith Kerr’s much-loved tale. In less specialist terms, it’s the story of a tea-loving, cake-eating tiger whose insatiable appetite eats Sophie’s family out of house and home. He consumes everything they laid out for afternoon tea, the dinner cooking on the stove, the entire contents of their larder and fridge, and all the water in the taps.

    How do they tell the story?

    There are some wonderfully theatrical elements in David Wood’s acclaimed adaptation that give Kerr’s classic story something extra special. There are songs about yummy yummy sausages and scrummy scrummy chips that you and your children will be singing all the way home, as well as sprinklings of magic that make plates of food disappear before your eyes.

    What did the kids like best?

    Not shy to show off their mathematical ability, the little ones at this particular performance took great pleasure in joining Sophie and her mum in counting to the correct time on the kitchen clock. In some cases they even got a little over enthusiastic and started wishing the day away.

    In a nutshell?

    David Wood takes a picture book adored by multiple generations and creates a play that not only lives up to the original story but creates a magical theatrical experience that everyone will enjoy even more.

    Will my little one like it?

    The sign of a good children’s show is undoubtedly the look of complete mesmerisation on the faces of its young audience; the sign of an Olivier Award nominated children’s show that keeps coming back to the capital is getting the same response from the adults. You expect a few “wows” and “oooohs” from the little ones, but it isn’t often during a kids’ production that you hear so many questions and exclamations – “How do they do that?”, “That’s so clever!” – from the parents.

    Trip tip

    If you can wait until August to see this corker of a show, book your tickets through Kids Week, our annual promotion that offers a free child’s ticket with every full-price adult ticket purchased.

    The Tiger Who Came To Tea is playing until 7 September. You can book tickets through us or, for selected performances throughout August,


    OLDER NEWS 2013>>>


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