The author of Kipper gave free rein to the theatrical adaptation

The author and illustrator behind this year’s Christmas show at Norden Farm in Maidenhead says the stage adaptation stayed true to the spirit of his books.

Mick Inkpen is best known for his Kipper the Dog and Wibbly Pig designs. His Kipper books have been translated into 20 languages ​​and have sold over eight million copies worldwide.

Kipper’s Snowy Day was first performed at the Altwood Road Arts Center seven years ago after being adapted by Norden Farm and Slot Machine Theater.

The creative team met Mr. Inkpen during development of the show, and the script received their seal of approval.

He says, “Rather than a literal interpretation of my books, it was more important to me that Slot Machine had carte blanche to explore the stories from a theatrically playful perspective, as long as they captured the character of Kipper and the spirit of books. They absolutely did.

Kipper’s Snowy Day invites the public to enter a magical world of puppets and tricks filled with original songs and music.

One day it starts to snow and Kipper is very excited. With Tiger, Pig and Arnold, he goes on an adventure in the snow – but can friends find their way home?

The decor of the show is inspired by both the concept of a cool, snowy night and the blank page of a book to write.

When he came up with the idea for his Kipper books, Mr. Inkpen ended up taking inspiration from his earlier work.

“Kipper is not based on a real dog,” he says. “I needed a character around whom I could write a number of stories, so I took the dog from The blue balloon, my first really successful picture book, raised him up on his hind legs and made him the hero of his own series.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a dog ourselves – save Russian rabbits and hamsters, but no dogs.”

According to Mr. Inkpen, Kipper’s name came from a long list of possibilities.

He said, “I wanted something that would stick in my mind because it was a little weird and since Kipper is kipper colored the name just seemed to fit.”

As a writer and illustrator, Mr. Inkpen says writing usually tends to come first when developing a new project, but it can be both ways.

“If I’m working with a new character, I need to see what he looks like before I create the story,” he says. “In the case of Kipper, it was definitely the visual that gave birth to him.

“There’s an advantage to doing both in that if I get a writer’s block or an illustrator’s block, I can switch roles and that unlocks everything. “

Kipper may not have been inspired by a single real dog, but Mr. Inkpen is enjoying a snowy day in the winter.

He says: “We live in the Suffolk countryside and when it snows heavily the tracks get full and sometimes we get snow covered. Now is the time to get out and walk.

“Next to our garden there is a hill which is very good for sledding. The people of the village cross the garden to climb the hill and we dust off an old wooden slide to join them.

“I have a sign that says ‘Have fun but don’t hit the fence!’ ”

• Kipper’s snow day plays at the Norden Farm Center for the Arts through Thursday (December 30). For more information and to book, visit

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