Children’s Theatre Tour

In October 2017, New Writing North completed the final year of a five-year project supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, which supported us to produce and tour an annual children’s theatre show. Each show was an adaptation of a contemporary children’s picture book and the project toured to libraries and community centres across the North of England.

Our aim was to provide opportunities for people to experience high quality literature and performing arts in their local libraries and community venues and to engage with books in new ways.

We also supported venues to continue to programme arts activity for their local community by running engagement projects, story telling events and advice and support.

Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo! (2017)

Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo! is a mischievous tale that little monsters everywhere fell in love with.

The hero of our story has received an invitation to run a zoo for a day. But this isn’t just any zoo, this zoo seems rather odd, and the keeper is in a great hurry to leave for his holiday. This zoo is a mess and the creatures are all misbehaving. This zoo is a Monster Zoo! Can these naughty creatures ever learn to mind their manners?

A New Writing North production for Durham Book Festival 2017

From the book written by Amy Sparkes and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, adapted by Stacey Sampson and directed by Ruth Johnson

Hey, Presto! (2016)

Presto and Monty are best friends. Monty is great at singing, eating ice cream and pulling funny faces, while Presto is a brilliant magician! When the carnival comes to town, Presto and Monty decide to join up with their amazing magic act. The show is a huge success, but fame goes to Monty’s head. Can the friends work out how to work together, before it’s too late?

From the picture book by Nadia Shireen, adapted by Laura Lindow and directed by Ruth Johnson, Hey, Presto! toured across libraries in the North in 2016.

Man on the Moon (2015)

Adapted from the popular picture book by Simon Bartram Man on the Moon is a children’s theatre production with live music, adapted by Zoe Cooper and directed by Ruth Johnson, that toured to local libraries and community centres across the North of England in 2015.

The Worst Princess (2014)

The Worst Princess is Carina Rodney’s adaptation of the acclaimed children’s book by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie.

Touring in 2014, this interactive production featured puppetry, live music, and plenty of scope for children to sing along. Princess Sue’s quest for fun and freedom was a raucous, wild adventure and when her prince finally does arrive, he’s not quite what she had in mind.

My Granny is a Pirate (2013)

Featuring rip-roaring sea shanties, sing-a-long songs and a mariarchi-style skeleton robber band, this interactive musical adventure sailed the seven seas in 2013 and was the first children’s theatre production by New Writing North.

Adapted by Carina Rodney from the picture book by Val McDermid, directed by Annie Rigby.

Ruth Johnson talks about directing on the Children’s Theatre Tour. Filmed during the tour of Hey, Presto!

Key stats and impact


of audiences said they would attend future events


people have seen our shows


performances across 5 years


people on average have attended per show across 5 years


venues toured across 5 years


venues have hosted at least 2 of the shows


of venues visited on our tours have been in areas of the lowest 33% of engagement in England (as per Arts Council England’s Taking Part survey)


of venues visited on tour have been in the lowest 50% of engagement (as per Arts Council England’s Taking Part survey)


of venues visited on tour have been in the lowest 57% of engagement (as per Arts Council England’s Taking Part survey)