Publication Date: 28 Jun 2023
Categories: Media and the Arts, AutobiographyISBN: 9781915603876
Between 1959 and 2005, David Wood (‘the national children’s dramatist’) corresponded with his mentor, Frank Whitbourn, teacher, writer and theatre practitioner. Frank Exchanges opens with a letter from Whitbourn, praising a young Wood following a performance in one of his plays, and documents an almost fifty-year correspondence before Whitbourn’s death in 2005. Wood sent Whitbourn the first draft of every play he wrote, and Whitbourn commented constructively and often came to see and ‘review’ the plays in production.
The letters chronicle Wood’s development as a playwright, director and producer, and Whitbourn’s memories of pre-war theatre-going and meeting Sybil Thorndike, Harcourt Williams and other eminent theatre folk. It is a reflection on the provision, content and status of theatre for young audiences, and ultimately a testimony to the man who Wood considered a friend and mentor.
Edited by Dr Chris Abbott.
David Wood OBE is ‘the national children’s dramatist’ (The Times). His plays are performed worldwide and include adaptations of eight Roald Dahl stories, the Olivier award-winning Goodnight Mister Tom, from Michelle Magorian’s novel, and the Olivier award-nominated The Tiger Who Came To Tea, from Judith Kerr’s classic picture book. Original plays include The Gingerbread Man, The Selfish Shellfish and Save The Human. His children’s books include Mole’s Bedtime Story and Funny Bunny’s Magic Show, both co-created with Richard Fowler, and The See-Saw Tree, illustrated by Joanna Padfield.
Dr Chris Abbott is a theatre reviewer and journalist with a particular interest in pantomime and puppet theatre. He is the author of books on repertory theatre pantomime and the last of the touring puppet theatres, and his next book is a history of the theatres in Salisbury. He is Emeritus Reader at King’s College London and was the Founding Editor of the Journal of Enabling Technology.
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