logo: David Gooderson (playwright/actor/director) website

David Gooderson: Playwright, Actor
Drama Tutor

The Wind in the Willows

Full musical adaptation and small-scale, shorter, stage play version

Two Stage Adaptations

Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved tale of Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger and their adventures, in two separate stage adaptations for children:

  1. Small-scale, stage play version
  2. Full-length musical version.

1. Small-scale, Stage Play Version

1.1 Distinguishing Features

  • Cast of just 4 actors
  • A 50-minute stage adaptation of the familiar Toad story
  • Specially commissioned by the Bank of England Museum to celebrate its quatercentenary.

1.2 Productions

  • Bank of England Museum,1994
  • The River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames, 2005
  • The Inland Waterways Narrow Boat Festival, 2006
  • farnhamrep, December 2010.
  • The Marian Street Theatre for Young People in Wahroonga (a northern suburb of Sydney), NSW Australia, in July 2016.
  • Armitage Theatre, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, March 10 and 11, 2021 presented by RAVA Productions (show credits, theatre, still from the production (Toad) – this page, top image). A tour in Queensland followed in 2022.
  • In March 2023 RAVA Productions toured this short version of The Wind in the Willows to 22 dates in Western Australia.

1.3 Playwright and Composer

This shorter, stage play, adaptation for children of The Wind in the Willows was written by David Gooderson with incidental music by Stephen Baker.

2. Full-length, Musical Version

2.1 Distinguishing Features

  • A dozen catchy songs by award-winning composer, Carl Davis
  • Plenty of jokes, comedy business and audience participation while still remaining faithful to the book
  • Cast of only 8 (plus opportunities for children to play rabbits, weasels, etc.)
  • It’s stood the test of time – first produced in 1985, it’s still delighting audiences and has twice broken box office records (Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 1991 and Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London, 2004).

2.2 Reviews

A nice clear, jaunty Wind in the Willows

Benedict Nightingale, The Times

Big, bright and very broad.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Fresh, intelligent and a visual delight

Birmingham Post

Carl Davis’ music mixes jollity with mock operatics.

Helen Chappell, What’s On

Selected as one of the top five shows to see in London (The Times, 30th July 2005)

2.3 Productions

  • Leicester Haymarket Theatre, 1985
  • The Mermaid Theatre, London, 1986
  • The Vaudeville Theatre, London, and national tour, 1987
  • Chichester Festival Theatre, 1988
  • Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 1991 (broke box office records)
  • Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London, 2004 (broke box office records) and 2005. Illustration for the production, by Tony Ross – this page, bottom image.

2.4 Playwrights and Composer

This full-length musical adaptation for children of The Wind in the Willows was co-written by David Conville and David Gooderson with music by Carl Davis.

Armitage Theatre, Toowoomba

Toad in the 'The Wind in the Willows' at Armitage Theatre, Toowoomba, Australia, presented by RAVA Productions

For brief details, rest mouse over image

Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park

Rat, Toad, Badger and Mole: 'The Wind in the Willows' play, London

For brief details, rest mouse over image

Performing Rights

For all enquiries about performing rights for both these plays for children, whether professional or amateur, contact David’s Literary Agent:

Mike Sharland at The Sharland Organisation via…

No public performance of either play can be given unless a licence is obtained before rehearsals begin.

To Contact David