A while back I heard an interview on the radio with Sir Tim Rice, who has written the lyrics for many famous musicals (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King and Evita, among others). He was talking about the brilliant musical Matilda (based on the Roald Dahl book and written by Tim Minchin) and said there weren’t many people writing new musicals these days.
And that got me thinking…
Pink! (illustrated by the wonderful Margaret Chamberlain) has been used widely in primary schools across the UK and abroad to help children think about how it feels to be different. Lots of kids can relate to Patrick the misfit pink penguin, and it suddenly occurred to me that the story would make a great musical!
I decided the best way to make this happen was to ask a children’s theatre company to help me. It didn’t take long for me to find the perfect one: Hopscotch Theatre Company have been bringing fun musical productions to schools across Scotland for many years, and they were very excited about working with me to bring Pink! to the stage.
But mounting a new production takes money, for writing the script and the songs, designing and making the costumes, creating the sets and props and paying the actors and the director to rehearse the show and then take it on tour. We decided to apply for a grant from Creative Scotland to help us.
We spent weeks putting together our proposal and filling out the application form. Then we had to wait another month to hear what the decision would be. And to our huge delight, they said YES!
I am now officially working with the lovely people at Hopscotch Theatre Company to turn my picture book Pink! into a fabulous new musical that will bring a gentle anti-bullying message to children aged 4 to 7.
I’ve already written a first draft of the script and have really enjoyed tackling the challenges of bringing the story alive with actors. How will their penguin suits work? How can we get Patrick to turn from a normal black-and-white penguin into a pink one? How can we make a flock of flamingos fly off into the sky?
I would tell you, but perhaps you should wait until PINK! the Musical comes to your school!