Wednesday, 2 September 2015


I’m thrilled to announce that two of the picture books written by me and illustrated by Poly Bernatene are being adapted into stage shows by Belfield & Slater for Mayflower Productions.

Theatre director Robin Belfield first got in touch with me five years ago to say that he was interested in adapting the The Santa Trap for the stage, having read the book to his young daughter. Robin wasn't able to get the project off the ground at that time, but last year he came back to me with a proposal for a musical stage show in collaboration with composer Simon Slater.

The show is being produced by Mayflower Productions, a newly created-subsidiary of the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, set up to create touring shows. The Santa Trap is obviously a Christmas show with a seasonal appeal, which is why – to my great delight – the same team are also creating a Here Be Monsters show to be performed by the same cast for the rest of the year.

Rehearsals started last week in Southampton and, since my family and I happened to be in the area, we dropped in to meet the cast and crew.

Here I am with the cast, crew and producers of the shows

It was only the second day of rehearsals, so they were just trying out the scripts and experimenting with some prototype puppets and props.

Puppet-maker Marc Parrett gets to grips with his giant claw. 

Cast member Lauren Storer with one of the “cracking” baby monster prototype puppets.
(Sadly, the legs, kindly provided by producer/designer Rachel Fox for this photo,
won't feature in the finished puppet. )

This prehensile prototype prop will double up as both a kraken’s tentacle in Here Be Monsters
and an elephant’s trunk in The Santa Trap.

They seemed like a lovely, enthusiastic group of people and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they bring brattish Bradley and Captain Cut-Throat’s villainous crew to life.

Here Be Monsters premieres at the Theatre Royal, Winchester on 19 September 2015 before going on to another 8 venues in October & November.  Most of the 2015 venues are in the south of England, but there are plans to tour the show further afield in spring and autumn next year.

Click here to go to the Mayflower Productions website for the Here Be Monsters tour dates and booking links.

The Santa Trap premieres at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton on 15 November 2015 and then does a couple of days at The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington, before its main run at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth from 19 December to 3 January 2016.

Click here to go to the Mayflower Productions website for The Santa Trap dates and booking links.

I’ll be visiting the company again next week, so watch this space for an update on their progress.

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