AFTER a West End run and international tours, Scamp Theatre are visiting the Great Yorkshire Fringe with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Tiddler And Other Terrific Tales.

The hour-long children’s show for three-year-olds and upwards will be staged in the White Rose Rotunda from Saturday to July 21 in a touring production directed by Sally Cookson, with designs by Katie Sykes, funky tunes by Benji Bower and lush lighting by Elanor Higgins.

The cast of three, Joseph Carey and company debutants Gethin Alderman and Leonie Spilsbury, will weave together live music, puppetry and a host of colourful characters in the stories of Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant In Town and A Squash And A Squeeze as audiences are taken under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle.

“We play a mad mixture of characters, with all three of us being trained clowns,” says Leonie. “Me and Gethin did clowning at drama school, Gethin at Central and I went to the Oxford School of Drama, graduating in 2011. Gethin and Joe also trained at Philippe Gaulier’s French clown school, one of the world’s best clowning experiences you can have.”

The cast members also have puppetry and actor-musician skills, Leonie playing ukulele and shaker with a deliberately stone face for extra comic effect, while Gethin and Joseph play accordion and saxophone respectively.

York Press:

Tiddler cast members Joseph Carey, Gethin Alderman and Leonie Spilsbury. Picture: Kippa Matthews

“I guess the idea behind the clowning in this show is that three idiots are engaged to tell four stories and they have to use what’s available to them on stage,” says Leonie. “They emerge out of canvas bags, and what comes out of the bags with them, they use to tell each story, so there’s a lovely message at the heart of it, where a parrot can be made out of feather dusters, a monkey from rope and a frog out of a handbag. It’s really engaging with children’s imaginations in this age of virtual and digital play, rather than tactile, imaginative play.”

Leonie, Joseph and Gethin have been on tour since February, playing Hong Kong, Singapore and Bahrain, as well as English locations such as the Bristol Old Vic, Malvern and Norwich.

“It’s a real mixture of audiences that come to the show; we’ve even had babies sitting there going ‘wow’! In Bahrain, it was an entirely Bahraini audience, and that’s where the clowning comes into play in what’s a very physical show,” says Leonie, who is the voice and stick puppeteer for the title role, Tiddler, in a tale told by the trio in the guise of fishermen.

“What I love about theatre for young people is that you have to really connect with your audience, and they don’t take any prisoners, so it’s wonderful to have a room of five and six year olds finding it hilarious.”

Tiddler And Other Terrific Tales, Great Yorkshire Fringe, The White Rose Rotunda, Parliament Street, York, July 16 to 31; performances, Tuesday to Sunday, 11am and 12.45pm. Box office: or 01904 500600.