Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s new picture book The Smeds and The Smoods will be brought to life on stage this Autumn in a new stage adaptation by Tall Stories – the acclaimed team behind The Guffalo.
Currently in development at Tall Stories’ new studio space at Central Library, Islington, The Smeds and The Smoos will receive its world premiere at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames, from 27 to 31 October 2021. The show will then embark on a major UK tour, with a Christmas run at Leicester Curve (30 Nov – 9 Jan 2022), with full tour venues and dates to be announced.
Alongside many other shows, Tall Stories has previously adapted four bestselling Donaldson/Scheffler books to great acclaim: The Gruffalo, Room On The Broom, The Gruffalo’s Child and The Snail And The Whale.
Created in Tall Stories’ signature physical storytelling style with original music and songs,The Smeds and The Smoos will be directed by Tall Stories’ artistic director Toby Mitchell, with movement direction by Morag Cross, set and costume design by Barney George, lighting design by Peter Harrison, and music and lyrics by Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw.
The Smeds and the Smoos tells the story of two rival groups of aliens living on a far-off planet: the Smeds (who are red) and the Smoos (who are blue). The two groups mistrust each other and the children are told to never play together. So when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love and zoom off into space together, how will their families get them back?
Julia Donaldson said: “It’s a whole twenty years since Tall Stories brought ‘The Gruffalo’ to the stage, and it’s been brilliant that since then they’ve also successfully adapted ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’, ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘The Snail and the Whale’. So I’m thrilled that the company is now developing ‘The Smeds and the Smoos’, with its cast of aliens and its Romeo-and-Juliet-type plot (except that my story has a happy ending). I can’t wait to see the show, and I bet everyone’s going to love it!”
Axel Scheffler said: “I’m excited that Tall Stories will be bringing ‘The Smeds and the Smoos’ to the stage this year. Bill and Janet’s alien adventure feels very timely, as it’s a tale about unity and we have all felt isolated over the last year. Tall Stories have the challenge of creating lots of different alien species on stage – and I can’t wait to see how they bring the book to life.’
Recently awarded the prestigious British Book Award – Children’s Book of the Year (Illustrated and Non-fiction), The Smeds and The Smoos was the number one best selling picture book in 2019 and 2020. It has been translated into 23 languages. Praise includes: ‘a book for our time’ (BBC Radio 2), ‘the most exciting book yet from the creator of The Gruffalo’ (The Sun), ‘a timely tale of tolerance that’s fun to read aloud’ (Daily Express) and ‘the perfect, inspirational story for a troubled world’ (Lancashire Evening Post).
Full tour dates to be announced.