Ladies n Genminminminmin (er, min...) look who I've gawn n' bagged for The Good Listening To Show! None other than National Children's Theatre Treasure David Wood OBE.
With the peace, quiet & sanctuary of very specifically "Room 208" of the Cooden Beach Hotel in Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex for his Clearing, where a lot of his 'writing magic' over the years has taken place!
Heralded by The Times as being "The National Children's Dramatist" David Wood was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II (presented to her no less than 4 times - and twice on the same day for reasons that he'll explain!). His new book, "Elizabeth Taylor's Kiss And Other Brushes With Hollywood!" reflects on his life & extraordinary career like a big fat kiss!
David Wood is a children's entertainment all-rounder, versatility-pants & polymath. He is an Actor, Author, Composer, Director, Magician (Bingo Caller!) & Producer. He is also an esteemed member with a "Gold Star" for recognition of his services to Children's Entertainment of the Magic Circle.
With so many seminal Children's theatre works & adaptations to his name including "The Gingerbread Man" (that partnered him way-back-when with Producer Cameron Macintosh & a show that has since toured the world many times over); "The Selfish Shellfish"; "The Owl & The Pussycat Went To See"; "The Tiger Who Came To Tea"; "Dinosaurs & All That Rubbish"; "Goodnight Mr Tom" & "Noddy" to name but several.
He also wrote "The Queen's Handbag" as part of the Queen's 80th Birthday celebrations in 2006, culminating in a Garden Party hosted by the Queen for 5,000 children + an all star cast in the gardens of Buckingham Palace - & simultaneously broadcast Live on BBC One!
He is also a man to whom I will be eternally grateful, as he gave me my 1st ever professional job, on graduating from The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, understudying TV Presenter Peter Duncan in Whirligig Theatre's "Dinosaurs And All That Rubbish". So it's all his fault! This is a sincere opportunity after all these years to welcome him to the Clearing to say THANK YOU!
David Wood has something of the magical spirit of Peter Pan about him. No wonder: it was his favourite story as a child & he was shaped in the 1960s. Well over half a century later, David still exudes an ageless happy-go-lucky, childlike optimism, a super-civilised energy & endless enthusiasm, which is simply irresistible. OK, he readily admits to being ‘a bit of a show-off’! Magic was his first party trick. From an early age, he also enjoyed being a choirboy - as it involved a distinctive wardrobe & a weekly public performance. What’s more, going to church two or three times on Sundays gave David a credible excuse to escape the parental tensions at home. Aged 14, when he told his Headmaster in Chichester that he wanted to be an actor, he was immediately pointed towards a one week residential course. What he learned there has served David well for all of his professional life! Another teacher at that school, curiously nicknamed ‘Spiv’, suggested to David that focusing exclusively on acting might be a self-limiting decision. What about writing, directing, producing? It instantly broadened David’s vision of theatrical possibilities. Look at the nominations, the awards, the applause: He has excelled on stage, in the cinema and on TV. He has directed & produced, written literally dozens of plays, songs and books.
During his action-packed life, David has met & worked with just about all of the great English names in the theatre & Hollywood, including Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Alec Guinness, Cameron Macintosh, John Mortimer, Peter Cook and Bernard Miles. Not to mention Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor, George Martin, Lindsay Anderson, Malcolm McDowell & Michael Palin!
"If you have ears, prepare to lend them now!"