Horrible Histories, the stage show, is all set to tour Melbourne in September this year.
You may be familiar with the books (that have been entertaining young readers for over 20 years!) as well as the hilarious and educational tv show and now- the stage show!
The Mammas were lucky enough to have a chat with the author, Terry Deary, about what makes these fantastic stories stand up so well for so long! His answers are hilarious and refreshingly honest. It is easy to see how all the educational parts are made so fun, when there is a writer with such wit at the realm.
1. Your first book, Custard Kid, was written after a stage production - was that the first story that lived in your head- or had you had ideas for a story before that?
I don’t usually write down the stories that live in my head. I write stories that readers want to read. Readers are a hundred times more important than writers. If they didn’t ready my books I couldn’t write them. And I need a publisher who will pay me to write them – they are second-most important.
2. What do you think it is about Horrible Histories that has appealed to readers for over 20 years?
I am not an historian, I’m an author, so I write the facts that have me saying to the reader, ‘You’ll never BE-LIEVE what people did in the past.’ History teachers say, ‘Shut up and listen to these facts, learn them and I will test you.’ Yawn, yawn. Hopefully my Horrible Histories books make people laugh, gasp, cry and learn … but learn about ‘people’ rather than dusty dates and forgettable facts.
3. What do you think is the key to engaging kids - as you apparently didn't like or agree with the style of teaching at your school?
There is no single ‘key'. Everyone has a different lock, and to unlock their excitement you have to teach things a person WANTS to learn. My granddaughter wants to learn how to ride a pony, but they don’t teach that at school. Her twin brother wants to be a palaeontologist but (at the age of 6) he already knows more about dinosaurs than most teachers. I wanted to learn how to become an actor. School laughed at me. Most of us spend a dozen years wasting our young lives being taught stuff that is not what we want to know, stuff that is no use in our lives and stops us finding out what we’re really good at.
4. What is your very favourite story from Horrible Histories?
Henry Tandy was a British soldier in the First World War. He was ordered to attack a German trench and take no prisoners. He came across a wounded young German soldier, raised his gun … but didn’t fire. He told the German to clear off to safety. How kind. But that young German was called Adolf Hitler. One bullet – the one Tandy DIDN’T fire - probably killed millions of people when Hitler went on to lead Germany into World War 2.
5. What do you love most about the stage shows of Horrible Histories?
The books are fine for people who can read. But not everyone wants to read or are able to read. The stage shows – like the television programmes – allows the stories to reach people who may not ever pick up a book. What I DISLIKE about the stage plays is that I don’t have the time to act in them myself! (I managed one week performing at the end of the last UK ‘Groovy Greeks’ tour. Loved it.)
the nitty gritty
Saturday 23rd September 2017
11AM and 1.30PM
The Clock Tower
Moonee Ponds VIC
Mamma says this is one concert not to missed!!
For more information, and to buy tickets click here