Benji’s homecoming show will be special
A top author who dreamed of writing books as he sat in a Peterborough classroom as a youngster has spoken of his pride as a stage show of one of his works comes to his home town.
Benji Davies - best known as the author and illustrator of children’s book The Storm Whale - aspired to be a professional writer from when he was a creative child at Longthorpe Primary School.
Now hundreds of thousands of copies of his books have been sold across the world - and a stage production of one of them will come to The Key Theatre in April.
The production of Grandad’s Island will take place on April 28 and April 29.
Benji - who was also a pupil at Jack Hunt School - said: “I wrote the book four years ago - and a couple of years later Matt Aston - who is the director of the show - got in touch saying he wanted to turn it into a stage show.
“It was the first interest I had in terms of theatre - it was quite exciting getting that email.
“The first show was put on in York last year. I went to see it - you never know how it will look through someone else’s eyes, but it was a fantastic version. The actors are brilliant, and the vision from the crew is fantastic.
“I have seen the show twice, and I will be in Peterborough to see it. I think it will be a bit more special to see it in Peterborough. A lot of my family still live there, and it will have a real homecoming feeling.”
Benji’s first book, The Storm Whale, was published in 2013 - with his most recent, Tad, released earlier this month.
Benji said his inspiration for his stories came from his own experiences, starting in Peterborough at Longthorpe School.
He said: “I always loved books, and loved illustrated books. I spent a lot of time reading and drawing - any project I would do had to have some sort of drawing in it.
“I went to university and studied animation, and the drawings for my books came from there.
“I have always been quite single minded. I had in mind from a young age that I wanted to spend my days drawing.
“My sixth book, Tad, came out a couple of weeks ago. It is the story of a tadpole turning into a frog.”
Benji’s books have been a hit across the world - and he said he still gets a buzz from seeing people read them. He said: “My daughter is two, and I saw her with one of my books, which was a wonderful feeling.
“Last year I had a trip to Spain. My books have been published in 35 languages. I was sitting there signing books in Spanish when I can’t even speak the language. It was a moment that really make me think.”
For details about the production of Grandad’s Island visit vivacity.org/whatson/theatre-and-arts/grandads-island-by-benji-davies/