Room 208 at the Cooden Beach Hotel is a special place for renowned playwright David Wood OBE.
In that room, he was written more than 10 plays, including adaptations of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, The Twits and Babe, The Sheep-Pig.
One such play, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, will return to the town on Monday and Tuesday (February 18 and 19) at the De La Warr Pavilion.
David, 74, first met the story’s author, Judith Kerr, at The Queen’s 80th birthday party celebrations at Buckingham Palace, and she allowed him to create a play for her iconic children’s book.
Speaking about his time writing the adaptation, he said: “I was down for the Bank Holiday weekend but couldn’t find a room as it was the holiday season and packed with tourists, but suddenly I came across the Cooden Beach Hotel. It was like something out of a dessert and luckily they had a room for me.
“It is in that very room that I have managed to write over 10 of my plays.”
The Tiger Who Came to Tea is being staged at 12 venues across the country in 2019, to celebrate its 10th anniversary on stage last year.
David said: “I am thrilled to turn this quirky, heart-warming story into a play, and even more thrilled to meet and discuss my ideas with Judith Kerr, for whom I have tremendous respect and admiration.”
The writer was made an OBE in 2004 for his services to literature and drama.
Called ‘the National Children’s Dramatist’ by The Times, David has been writing for children for 50 years and it’s a love affair that continues to this day. So what is his secret to producing plays that keep children so entertained?
“Children like animals, they like food, and they like the child protagonist, and that is what keeps their attention,” he said. “I like to keep things constantly moving and I like to say lots of ‘suddenly’s. I’ve always said that it is my job to stop children from wanting the loo. They need to be entertained throughout and never bored.”
For tickets, visit www.dlwp.com/event/the-tiger-who-came-to-tea/.
For more information, visit tigerstealive.com/tour.
Words by Jake Harrison