Over the past 14 years, Peppa Pig Live has taken to the stage in six popular tours and has been enjoyed by more than 2 million people in the UK alone. As 2023/2024 sees the brand-new live show Peppa Pig’s Fun Day Out! Tour the UK and Ireland, we caught up with Richard Lewis, who has written and adapted all seven Peppa Pig Live shows to find out more:
Tell us a little bit about this brand-new show, Peppa Pig’s Fun Day Out!
This is our seventh live show for Peppa Pig. It’s exciting that over the 14 years of producing the shows we have been able to step up a level creatively each time, and this show is no different.
Fun Day Out is all about favourite places, places that children love to go. So, we visit the zoo and the beach, which is an exciting day out for any family! In the zoo we see penguins, butterflies, reptiles as well as meeting some scarecrows. Then, in the second half we head to the beach, go swimming, and get to see a whale. We also have a beach party and play beach ball. It’s quite a lot to do within the context of an hour-long show.
It does sound like a fun day out! How have the shows changed or grown over the years?
Over the years we have combined old style puppetry techniques with a range of theatrical styles. For Fun Day Out we have created lots of new puppets our audiences wouldn’t have seen before. All the sequences I’ve mentioned are terrifically exciting to create and, in this production, we bring together different techniques to make the action come to life. We’ve got underwater sequences, black light sequences, and UV sequences, amongst all the other theatre styles! All very visually stimulating. We also have some up-tempo songs specially composed for the live show and, once again, we have upped the level of interaction with lots of opportunities for the audience to get involved.
This is your seventh Peppa Pig Live show, what is it that you love about adapting Peppa stories for the stage?
People always ask me what is so special about this pig as I love writing for Peppa! One of the things that is most exciting for me is the ability for these particular characters to connect with pre-school minds when they are at their most fertile. I feel privileged to be part of creating something which may help to influence how these young minds develop as they grow. It’s an area I am really interested in, and I think the Peppa live show has the ability to properly connect with these audiences.
Often what you see in shows for this age group are bright, day-glow colours, loud noises, crazy machines and loads of action and mayhem. One of the things I find fascinating about Peppa is that some of the TV episodes may only have 20 sentences of spoken dialogue in total, it doesn’t try to create complex narratives. Peppa’s world, is all pastel colours and an action sequence could be as simple as three ducks crossing a road, but that’s what makes it so charming and relatable.
I believe that the style and content we have in the live show is the best way to connect with these young children in a meaningful way, and the reaction we get from our audiences confirms this for us. Children this age need time to absorb what is going on around them to take it all in. That’s what Peppa as a character and as a brand gets so right.
Do you have a favourite character in the show?
I couldn’t possibly say – they are all great! One of the lovely things about working with the original creators of the show, which I have done for a number of years, is understanding how they develop the characters. They are all so very integrated into the master theme of a family. And this show is very much about family, whatever your perception of family is. It’s about connecting people, caring for each other and making sure you have gentle learning in this early stage of your life. The wonderfully rounded characters in Peppa’s world allow this to happen so easily. So, I really couldn’t say which character was the greatest… although I do happen to like a slightly rotund bigger person, he’s pretty funny!
What do your audiences take away with them having seen the show?
Well firstly, I hope they and their parents have a fun time and enjoy the story, as well as creating a unique experience they have been able to participate in together. Importantly, I also hope they will enjoy the capacity to participate as a community, with other children and parents. We work very much in a world now where we find ourselves in isolation though our technology, which can be a very singular experience. One of the great things about theatre in general, but particularly children’s theatre if it’s done correctly, is it offers the opportunity to connect with the stage as a community, to be with each other and have a shared experience.
But probably most importantly to me, I would like to think that our young audiences will take away the desire to continue to experience theatre throughout their lives and hopefully develop a real love for it and all the richness of experience it can bring.
Join Peppa, along with her family and friends as they go to the zoo and also the beach for a special party- it’s going to be an exciting and fun packed day. Prepare to sing and dance with colourful scarecrows, feed the penguins, build big sandcastles, and even swim in the sea! Packed full of songs, dance and muddy puddles. Peppa Pig’s Fun Day Out! guarantees giggles and snorts for all Peppa fans and is a perfect introduction to theatre.