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Julia Jarman is coming to Half Moon Theatre to sign copies of her book, Big Red Bath, on Saturday 20 November, after the 11am and 2pm performances of our stage adaptation, a co-production with Full House Theatre. We chatted to Julia about her inspiration for the book and the experience of seeing it transformed on stage.
Why did you decide to write Big Red Bath?
I didn’t decide to write Big Red Bath. It grew from watching my grandchildren in my bath – I really do have a big red bath – and joining in with their games. Some of the fun words kept going round in my head till I had to write them down.
Do you test your stories out?
Yes. I want all my stories to be good read-alouds so I test them on readers – now in schools as much as at home. My grandchildren were familiar with the language of this story long before it was a published book. We did a lot of splish splash sploshing!
How did you first feel when you first saw the show on stage?
Trepidation for a few moments – till the stage lit up to reveal a big red bath just like mine and the rippling rhythms of the band transported me to a magical bathroom and forty five minutes of sheer delight.
Was it how you had pictured it in your mind when you were writing it?
It was different, but better. It was like when I saw pictures for the picture- book for the first time. Adrian Reynolds, the illustrator, re-imagined my text but captured the spirit of the story. The theatre company re-imagine it again, in a multi-sensory way in a glorious celebration of children’s imagination, energy and playfulness.
Are you looking forward to seeing it on stage?
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the Big Red Bath and I can’t wait to see it again. The joy of live theatre is that it’s slightly different each time.
Which part of it are you most looking forward to seeing?
That’s a very hard question. Is it Hippopotamus doing her wobbly bottom dance? Or Dog catching bubbles? Or the much too full bath suddenly taking off to the . . .? No I can’t tell you!
What do you think about Kindles and e-books?
There’s no denying the appeal of screens of various sizes but reading is a unique engagement of the reader and the writer’s imaginations. A book requires the reader to use empathy, the most important kind of imagination, and the result is lasting, sometimes changing feelings and ideas. I don’t think many computer games have this transforming effect.
Young children especially love the intimacy of being read to. Turning pages is exciting! But I’m not against e-books. I want stories to be in as many formats as ever. Big Red Bath is available as a download as well as a picture-book.
Anything else you’d like to add about the book?
Get the book from a bookshop or library or here at the theatre! Then you can go on your own magical bath-time adventure every night!
Watch the trailer
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