Menu Close

An interview with Gillian Hipp, director of the theatrical adaptation of The Little Black Fish

Buy The Little Black Fish

Gillian Hipp with The Little Black Fish

Educator and movement practitioner Gillian Hipp adapted our classic Iranian picture book The Little Black Fish into a puppet show for Hay Festival! We had an interview with her about the show’s amazing revival. Read it below!

Why did you choose The Little Black Fish to adapt into a show?

The Hay Festival asked us to adapt this particular story for this year’s festival. 

How many times has the show now been performed?

We have performed the show around 5 times at the Hay Festival, a couple of times at Hereford College of Arts and we have revived the performance especially for the Family Festival at the Hereford Courtyard Theatre.

Performers before the play at Court Yard Art – October 2018

What makes the medium of puppetry fit this story so well?

Throughout the story of the little black fish there are some fantastic characters and they just lent themselves really well to puppetry. Also the fact that there are no humans in the story made puppetry the go-to performance medium.

Has it changed as you have performed it over time?

Throughout the rehearsal process lots changed. The puppets’ characters emerged through the music and movement that appeared throughout. However once we had it all set it hasn’t changed much. Saying that each performance is slightly different, as the music is live and so can respond to what is happening on stage. Also each venue meant that each performance needed some tweaks to make the performance work in the space provided.

Performers attended in 50th birthday of The Little Black Fish at Hay Festival- May 2018

What reaction have you had to the show?

Children are totally drawn in to the performance. From where I sit to operate sound and lighting during the performance I often glance to see how the audience are perceiving what is going on on stage and the faces of the children are priceless. The get excited for the little black fish and want to warn him of the dangers, e.g. the crab.

Are you planning more performances? 

Sadly today was the little black fish’s final performance. However I am really excited about the next story we will be adapting for Tiny Owl Publishing for the Hay Festival 2019 – A Bottle of Happiness. I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room to get started.

  • The Little Black Fish celebrated its 50th birthday with a fab puppet show!
  • Read an introduction by David Almond in the Guardian.
  • The Little Black Fish selected among the best children’s books of the year by the Guardian. Link

Visit our bookstore

Download book posters

Limited edition prints

Subscribe to Tiny Owl on YouTube!

Posted in Blog