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Julia Donaldson's Tiddler and other Terrific Tales to come to the Orchard Theatre

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 February 2018

The show will be performed at the Orchard Theatre from March 1-3. Picture: Robin Savage

The show will be performed at the Orchard Theatre from March 1-3. Picture: Robin Savage

ROBIN SAVAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

After enchanting audiences in the West End and all over the world, Tiddler will be swimming to Dartford next this Spring when Tiddler and other Terrific Tales, adapted from the bestselling books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, plays at The Orchard Theatre from Thursday, March 1 - Saturday, March 3.

Prepare to go under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle, as four terrific tales are bought to life on stage with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters.

The play weaves together four stories by the multi award-winning author of some of the world’s best loved children’s books, most notably the modern classic The Gruffalo, which has sold over 13 million copies worldwide.

The play entwines Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze to create an exciting performance of the popular tales.

Having played in the West End and all over the world, the production now returns for a 2018 tour.

Julia remembers seeing it for the first time: “I just loved its energy and the music.

“I love the way that they get just the right level of audience participation – it keeps everyone involved.”

Julia is best known for her popular rhyming stories for children, especially those illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which include Zog, Stick Man and Room on the Broom.

She said: “These days a lot of schools are doing projects on particular books and very often they are my books.

“Every month I get about 30 schools sending me bundles of letters from about 30 to 60 children who are doing a project on one of my books.”

Julia also acknowledges that her books being adapted for the stage brings new audiences to her work: “It’s a win win situation for all of us.

“The fact that the book is already popular encourages people to go and see it, and a lot of the children who go do so because they know the book.

“But I think it is different when you have a school group go and see it as not all of those children will have read it.

“So it brings new children to the story.”

Julia saw her first book, A Squash and a Squeeze, published when she was in her mid 40s and has been a prolific writer since, publishing well over 100 books as well as plays, songs, musicals and poems.

An avid reader as a child, Julia knew from a very young age that she wanted to tell stories – and share them with other people.

As a children’s author who has also written teen fiction, Julia knows the value of fiction to young people.

“For me the greatest pleasure comes from reading a book and all that the imagination can bring to that experience.

“I don’t see books and television and theatre as competing with each other.

“What matters is that children have the opportunity to experience that pleasure of reading a book.”

Julia also recognises the sense of magic the theatre can bring, especially for children.

She said: “The whole experience of theatre is also something magical – especially for children who have not been to the theatre before.

“I went to see Where the Rainbow Ends as a child and that is something I still remember.

“That memory and that experience of theatre will stay with them for ever.”

Julia was the Children’s Laureate from 2011-2013, and continues to be a passionate advocate for children’s fiction and theatre.

“I do a lot of events and book signings and while some of the people will say they have read my books, sometimes it is someone who knows the story because they have seen it in the theatre.

“Either way they have responded to it and remembered it.”

To book tickets to the show, which lasts for one hour, visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the Ticket Office on 01322 220000.

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