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EDINBURGH 2022: Julia Donaldson Q&A

EDINBURGH 2022: Julia Donaldson Q&A

EDINBURGH 2022: Julia Donaldson Q&A

BWW catches up with Julia Donaldson to chat about bringing The Gruffalo, the Giant and the Mermaid to the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tell us a bit about The Gruffalo, The Giant and the Mermaid with Julia Donaldson.

It's a show based on 7 of my books and songs, including THE SMARTEST GIANT IN TOWN, THE SINGING MERMAID and - of course - THE GRUFFALO. Acting alongside me are my husband, my sister and two brilliant professional actors, and there are some wonderful puppets that have been specially made for the show

Why was it important to make the show more accessible with some integrated signing?

We don't sign the whole show - just THE GRUFFALO. It's different from having a signer on the stage because we are signing for our own characters: for instance, I speak the Mouse's words as well as signing them. It's been an exciting way to refresh our performance, and even if not a vast number of deaf children come to the show I think it'll be a fun opportunity for the hearing children to become more aware of deafness and of BSL as they join in with the signs.

Who would you recommend comes to see it?

Families with children from 4 to 10, whether they know the books or not.

And you'll be signing books after each performance?

The Edinburgh Bookshop will be selling books at the venue (the Underbelly, George Square) and I'll stay for an hour after each show to sign any that people have bought. It's a nice way to get to meet my audience.

What's next for you after the Fringe?

There's to be a second Children's TV series of my PRINCESS MIRROR-BELLE books, and I have a cameo role in one of the episodes - acting a children's author! And I also have a new book coming out: it's called THE BADDIES and is illustrated by the one and only Axel Scheffler.

Photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

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