Judith Kerr talks “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” as UK stage tour begins

The Tiger Who Came to Tea - Stage Play 2019Direct from a smash hit West End season, Judith Kerr‘s The Tiger Who Came to Tea has returned to the stage, celebrating its tenth year as a spectacular kid’s play – and we’ve got a short interview with the book’s author for you.

The tour opens at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre next week, offering the chance to join the tea-guzzling tiger in this delightful live show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos!

Other tour dates include the Sands Centre in Carlisle, The Dukes, Lancaster, New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth, the Grand Opera House in York, and many other venues.

This musical play, adapted from Judith Kerr’s classic tale, is the ideal introduction to theatre for children aged three and above and the perfect treat for the whole family.

When Sophie and her Mummy welcome the hungry Tiger to tea, he proceeds to eat all the sandwiches, buns, biscuits and more. He even manages to drink all the water in the tap! What will Sophie’s Daddy say when he gets home?

The Tiger Who Came to Tea is produced by Nick Brooke Ltd. based on the book by Judith Kerr, and directed by David Wood OBE, the country’s leading writer and director of plays and musicals for children. His many successes include The Gingerbread Man, The Witches and Babe the Sheep Pig.

A stunning children’s play adapted from the classic family story of teatime mayhem, also soon to be an animated film for Channel 4, this is a kid’s theatre favourite, and in celebration, here’s a quick interview with the book’s creator, Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr on September 15, 2016 at Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin at the section International Children's and Young Adult Literature of the 16th International Literature Festival Berlin. Photo: Christoph Rieger - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Judith Kerr on September 15, 2016 at Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin at the section International Children’s and Young Adult Literature of the 16th International Literature Festival Berlin. Photo: Christoph Rieger – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Tiger Who Came to Tea celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. What do you think makes the story so timelessly popular?

Judith Kerr: I think because it was a bedtime story for my three year old daughter and I put in all the things that she liked and she seems to have had normal tastes. I’d made up other stories for her but this was the one my daughter said she liked best, about a tiger who came to tea. She used to say ‘Talk the tiger!’ and so I told it so many times. I was very pleasantly surprised when they said they’d publish it. I certainly had no idea that it would be the success it has become.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith KerrWhat was your inspiration for The Tiger Who Came to Tea?

Judith: Quite often we went to the zoo. In those days, before David Attenborough, it was the only way you could see animals. We found the tigers just so incredibly beautiful.

Which do you enjoy most? Writing or illustrating? Why?

Judith: Illustrating, because I always wanted to draw from a young age and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to. Even now, I try to draw every day if I can. My visual memory holds on to things – how people move and walk on the street, how their trousers hang. Those things stay with you.

What do you like to see most in children’s literature today?

Judith: I love illustrators and it’s a wonderful time for children’s illustration and illustrated books and not just picture books. I have done an illustrated chapter book myself called Mister Cleghorn’s Seal, that was published a few years ago.

The Tiger Who Came to TeaWho was your favourite author as a child when you were growing up?

Judith: I loved to read fairy tales, particularly when they were illustrated.

You seem to know instinctively what sparks a child’s imagination, is there anything in your own life that has enabled you to write in that way?

Judith: I suppose it was from watching my own children when they were small and working out what they liked. I wasn’t able to work before my children stayed for lunch at school.

I think I must have a good memory as I remember such a lot of my own childhood and especially the time leaving Germany and coming to Paris and London.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Judith: I suppose it has to be surviving until 95!

The Tiger Who Came To Tea also celebrates over 10 years on stage. What do you think David Wood has brought to the stage adaptation of ‘Tiger’?

The Tiger Who Came to Tea - Stage Play 2019Judith: A brilliant imagination and years of remarkable expertise.

Do you have a favourite song from the stage show?

Judith: My favourite is the song “Different In The Dark”.

Do you have a motto for life?

Judith: Not so much a motto, but I would say work is a great help.

Check out the tour dates for The Tiger Who Came To Tea here on the show’s official web site

With thanks to Louise Bryning at The Dukes, Lancaster – where the Tiger Who Came To Tea is on stage 12th – 13th April 2019

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