I’ve been blessed to have a bunch of my books turned into theatre productions.
Emily Loves to Bounce
Emily Loves to Bounce was crafted by the amazing “Patch Theatre Company” in Adelaide. The show has toured all around Australia and is about to set off again for it’s second Australian tour (2017). It explores themes of childhood, whimsy and creativity, and it’s inspired by my first four books: The Man Who Loved Boxes, Patricia, Henry and Amy and Emily Loves to Bounce. I’ve seen this show three times and it’s pure theatre magic. A mix of illusion, music, performance and dance, it takes my books out of the pages and onto the stage in the most surprising and inspirational way.
Follow this link to youtube to see a taste of the production: Emily Loves to Bounce
Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat
A musical created by the always creative “Monkey Baa Theatre Company“.
My Dad loved musicals and he took me to musicals when I was a kid. I saw The Man of La Mancha, Camelot, The Wiz — anything with dancing and song. How amazing it is to see Milli dancing on a real stage. If that isn’t enough, Milli’s shop is a character and the fantastical bike a delight. Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat toured all over Australia, and on occasion makes a return to it’s new home at The Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre, Sydney.
Follow this link to see a taste of the production: Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat
The Man Who Loved Boxes was also produced as a puppet theatre in Brazil. I don’t have the details, but here’s a link to youtube: The Man Who Loved Boxes
When I visit schools or do a bookshop talk, one of the frequent questions I’m asked is do I have pets. All of my books that feature humans usually have a dog character and that’s because I’ve had dogs my whole life. When I was in primary school I used to sneak them home and hide them until my Dad found out. He was a softy and always let me keep them. I snuck birds, cats, rabbits, dogs and guinea pigs home. I once gave my art teacher a kitten named Rory. Rory was one of nine kittens my cat (Safari Cat) had given birth to.
My family and I now have three dogs: Millie, Rosie and Twiggy. They vary in age from two years old (Twiggy) up to fourteen years old (Millie). Rosie’s age is somewhere in the middle. Millie likes to bark and follow anyone who’s busy. Rosie likes food and belly rubs and sleeping under our bed. Twiggy likes to stand on our coffee table and swim in our pool. We all think she’s the fastest dog in the world.
Mutt Dog is the most famous dog I’ve owned and also the hairiest. Most of the characters I create for my books have dog companions who seem to look very much like my own dogs. I purposefully snuck Millie, Rosie and Twiggy into the second spread of book 4 in the Fizz series. I’d love to write a book about Twiggy. It seems the older I get the more dog books I’m asked to illustrate. Expect to see a whole lot more, and maybe one day I’ll write that “Twiggy” book.
Happy dabbling never comes with a plan. What you see here is the free me: painting, sculpting, printmaking and creating for pure pleasure. I’m often telling myself I should dabble more, but these sorts of moments never seem to come with a timetable.
bananas in pj’s
Bananas in pyjamas was one of those projects that comes along and it makes your feet tap out a happy tune. I can remember when I was a child crying in a bookshop because I wanted to buy an expensive book on puppet making. My mum couldn’t afford the book at the time (and she probably didn’t want to give into her tantrum making child), but the puppet book magically appeared under the Christmas tree that year.
I love making things: things that are made from socks, glue, string. Objects that move with an invisible wire or a hidden hand are the best things to make – ever! It was one of the happiest days of my creative life when my family went to the set at ABC and met the real Bananas and their farmyard animal character friends (Camembert, Molly, Dolly, Pedro, Gregory, Peck and Flash). Friends that I’d sketched out as ideas only months before were now right in front of me saying hello.
the studio: my creative space
My studio is usually a mess. During any project I tend to throw paper all over the floor, pile up sketches, spread paint and ink all over the place. Occasionally it’s clean, that’s the few days in-between projects when I need to reclaim territory.
It’s a dream space: an old pole frame and mud brick workshop with half of it converted to a studio. I had big dreams to make it amazing but as soon as the first half was finished (sealed from bugs and wildlife) I moved into it and began creating art stuff, books etc etc. I’ve never gotten around to doing the other half.
The studio sits low, on the other side of an orchard; it’s a barefoot walk down the hill from my house. There’s visiting wildlife; wrens, finches, honeyeaters, the odd goanna, echidna or wallaby. I can’t see my studio from my house so it makes working from home easy. When I’m in my studio I draw, paint and write. When I’m in my house I eat, sleep and hang with my family. It makes for a nice lifestyle balance.
My Dad worked from home so making my own work hours and disciplining myself tend to come naturally. I like my own company, listen to too much talk back radio and occasionally dance around to loud music. When I have a book happening I try to put myself into my studio space everyday, even if I haven’t a creative idea in my head. It’s a good place to go and have a nap.