David Wood

Share

Plays by David Wood

The BFG

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

One night at the orphanage, Sophie can’t sleep. When she looks out the window, she sees a giant blowing dreams into children’s heads through their bedroom windows. Realising he’s been spotted, the Big Friendly Giant grabs Sophie and takes her back to his cave in Giant Country, where they eat snozzcumbers and drink frobscottle, before galloping off to Dream Country to collect some dreams. In order to save the people of England from being eaten up by the man-eating giants, Sophie and the BFG must concoct a dream that will persuade the Queen of England to believe in evil giants, so that with the help of the army and the air force, they might be rid of them once and for all.

The BFG is based on Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name, and was first produced at the Wimbledon Theatre, London in 1991, before transferring to the Aldwych Theatre for the Christmas season.

The Gingerbread Man

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set entirely on a kitchen dresser, The Gingerbread Man by David Wood is one of Britain's most successful plays for children. Wood writes: 'I didn't want to recreate the nursery tale about the Gingerbread Man who eventually gets eaten by the fox, so started to think of a more contemporary situation, in which a freshly-baked gingerbread man might affect the day-to-day lives of other characters living in the kitchen where he had been baked.'

Other characters in the play include Herr Von Cuckoo, a cuckoo in a cuckoo clock who sports natty leder-hosen; Salt, a salt cellar with pretentions to being a sailor; Pepper, an elegant lady, and a pepper-cellar; The Old Bag, a short-tempered teabag; and Sleek the mouse, an intruding American gangster of a mouse.

The Gingerbread Man was first performed at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, UK, in December 1976. It has gone on to perform internationally to rapt crowds of excited and mesmerised children.

The Ideal Gnome Expedition

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

What if the gnomes in your garden were freed from their boring, static lives, and allowed to go off on an adventure? Would they find excitement, or danger; would they be scared or thrilled?

Two garden gnomes, Mr Fisher and Mr Wheeler, find out in David Wood's delightful play for children The Ideal Gnome Expedition. Picking their way through a concrete cityscape, via alley-cats and streetlamps, a jungle for which they are altogether the wrong size, they meet all sorts of urban characters. But will they find their way back home?

The Ideal Gnome Expedition was first produced by the Liverpool Playhouse Company in December, 1980 before touring Britain in 1981.

Mother Goose’s Golden Christmas

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In his introduction, David Wood describes his horror of the pantomimes he saw at the beginning of his career, loose productions being peddled to the parents with bawdy humour that patronised the children, who were left uninterested in and short-changed by actors having more fun than the audience. It was, he thought a form that 'tried to appeal to everybody, yet ultimately satisfied nobody.'

He took to writing pantomime substitutes, shows created to be programmed in the annual panto season, but not wholly conforming to the panto form. Indeed, Mother Goose's Golden Christmas is not based on the traditional Mother Goose story, but does feature a host of fairy tale characters from Mother Goose herself, to Humpty Dumpty and Little Bo Peep. Set inside a giant book, all the 'little' characters of the fairytales are incorporated into one new story – the daring rescue of the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Mother Goose's Golden Christmas was first presented at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, in December 1977.

The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See …

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Owl and the Pussycat want to get married – but they’re in the middle of the sea! They reach the land where the Bong Trees grow, and alight to find a vicar and a ring. Over the course of their seach, they meet a whole host of characters, including the Dong with the Luminous Nose, who has lost his Jumbly girl at sea, the lively Quangle Wangle, the timid Runcible Spoon, the eccentric Professor Bosh, the grumpy Pig and the absent-minded Turkey. Will the Owl and the Pussycat have their dream wedding with their new friends before they all get gobbled up by the Plum Pudding Flea?

Based on the nonsense verse of Edward Lear, David Wood and Sheila Ruskin’s pantomime, The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See . . . , was first produced at the Swan Theatre, Worcester in 1968, before transferring to the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, London the following year, with David Wood as director.

The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Insect Committee won’t take any notice of complaints against the Big Ones’ using insect spray to clear Slug, Greenfly and Maggot off their garden plants, so the injured parties decide it’s time to take the matter into their own hands. The plotters down in Cabbage Patch Corner plan to ruin the garden for the Big Ones, by eating all the vegetation and capturing the other insects. Glow Worm, Ladybird, Bumblebee, Red Admiral and Ant must work together to break free of their trap and stop the plotters from wrecking the garden before they all lose their homes. Can their community reunite before it’s too late?

A lively show of song and dance, The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner was first produced for the Christmas season at the Swan Theatre, Worcester in 1970, before transferring to the Shaw Theatre, London the following year.

Save the Human

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Save the Human, we see a future where human beings, having destroyed their world with war and pollution, have become an inferior species. Now, animals are in charge. Becky Bear and her family even have a pet human, Norman. When Norman is captured by H.A.R.M., the Human Analysis and Research Ministry, Becky launches a campaign to ‘Save the Human’. She gathers more and more support from her fellow animals worldwide in her peaceful protest, but a few of her schoolfriends break away from the campaign and free all the humans being held in the H.A.R.M. labs for testing. As the humans seek revenge, Becky and her friends are left contemplating if humans and animals can ever live together successfully.

Save the Human is based on a story by Tony Husband and David Wood. It was first produced at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in 1990.

The See-Saw Tree

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

At a public meeting a vote is taken; should the unused field next to the supermarket be converted into a children's playground, allowing parents somewhere to leave their children in safety and enjoyment while they shop? Having been so long used as an unofficial dump, this vote presents an opportunity to do something positive for the community.

It seems like a straightforward decision; there is only one obstacle, a magnificent three-hundred-year-old oak tree which stands proudly in the field. Once used as a makeshift playground itself, it is known as the See-saw tree, after the branch upon which children rocked back and forth.

As the issue is debated, suddenly another world emerges: the community of animals who live in the tree come to life. There is an owl, a dunnock, a squirrel, a jay, a thrush, a cuckoo, a rabbit and a bat. With their habitat under threat they find themselves having to put aside their squabbles and work together to save their community.

But how will the people vote?

The See-Saw Tree was first performed by the Farnham Repertory Company in 1986.

David Wood is an actor, composer, producer, director, lyric writer, magician, author and playwright, writing and directing a string of theatre hits, all for children, including stage adaptations of well-known books. The Times described him as 'the national children's dramatist'. He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his services to literature and drama.