Ugly Duckling

Ugly Duckling

JAN 21 | Pasant Theatre

This performance is sponsored by

LO eye care
Sutton Advisors
Wharton Center Inner Circle


Tutti Frutti


by Emma Reeves

Adapted from “The Ugly Duckling”
by Hans Christian Andersen



  1. Ugly
    Danny Childs

  2. Mum, Dog
    Dora Rubinstein

  3. Goose, Fluffy, Swan, Cat
    Marcelo Cervone

  • Stage Manager
    Kirsty Smith
  • Assistant Stage
    Manager (UK)
    Cat Aldred



  • Director
    Wendy Harris
  • Writer
    Emma Reeves
  • Designer
    Catherine Chapman
  • Assistant Designer
    Rebecca Constable
  • Composer
    Tayo Akinbode
  • Musical Director
    Christella Litras
  • Choreographer
    Holly Irving
  • Movement Director
    Joanne Bernard
  • Lighting Designer
    Mike Redley
  • Puppet Maker
    Nick Ash
  • PiPA Director Placement
    George Stone
  • Illustrations
  • Graphic Design
    Jo Mohan

Musical Numbers

Tayo Akinbode, composer

“Mummy Duck's Lullaby”
“Waddle like a Duckling”
“When You’re a Goose” (The Goose Song)
“Love Me” (The Dog Song)
“Ugly’s Song”
“You Can Take Flight” (The Swans Song)
“Maybe You’re a Duckling”

This performance will run approximately one hour, with no intermission.

Bring the kids early for a fun family activity

Beginning one hour before each performance, kids will be able to make a paper bag duck puppet, a duck or swan headband, a duck that turns into a swan and a mother duck with her babies. Kids will also be able to decorate a bag to take their projects home. Come early, project activity is while supplies last.

Adapting “The Ugly Duckling”

by Emma Reeves

When Wendy first suggested “The Ugly Duckling” to me, my first thought was, that sounds like fun! Familiar with the song version made famous by Danny Kaye, I remembered The Ugly Duckling as a comic, bubbly and ultimately uplifting piece about identity and finding your own place in life. I thought it would be a marked contrast to my previous work for Tutti Frutti, The Snow Child, which was based on a Russian folk tale with a distinctly melancholy edge.

But when I came to read Hans Christian Andersen’s original story, I was struck by the potential darkness lurking in the material. Could anything be sadder, especially for a child, then to be rejected by your mother, brothers, and sisters? And will the Ugly Duckling really be better off living as a swan? After all, at the end of the story, he’s only just met them! When it comes to building relationships with people you love and who love you, is biological heritage really the only important thing?

The longing to find someone like-minded was reflected in Andersen’s own desire to be accepted by the literary establishment—but in the end, although he did achieve the respect he craved, it didn’t really make him happy. Discovering that you’re really a swan isn’t really the end of a story, but the beginning of a new one.

Cast Bios

DANNY CHILDS (Ugly) Professional work includes: 12 Miles from Nowhere (Karen Simpson/Action Transport Theatre); Wishee Washee in Aladdin (Buxton Opera House); Grandson in Michael Morpurgo's Farmboy (Colchester Mercury/Polka Theatre); King John in King John (CreamFaced Loons); and Potty Pierre in Beauty and the Beast (Jordan Productions). Danny is also creative director of SquadFour Productions in Manchester.

DORA RUBENSTEIN (Mum; Dog) trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Credits include: Cinderella (Cast, Doncaster); Digital Ghost Hunt (York Theatre Royal); Peter Pan, Aladdin (The Dukes, Lancaster), The Wizard of Oz (Leicester Square Theatre); Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth (The Young Shakespeare Company). She also performs and teaches circus skills such as contortion and acrobatics.

MARCELO CERVONE (Goose; Fluffy; Swan; Cat) Theatre credits include: understudy in Sunny Afternoon (ATG UK Tour); Action to the Word's Dracula (Latitude Festival & Arts Theatre); Mowgli in The Jungle Book (S4K International Tour). Training: American Musical Theatre Academy of London (AMTA); BA in performing arts from Anglia Ruskin University.

KIRSTY SMITH (Stage Manager) is a Nottingham-based freelance stage manager. Kirsty has many years of professional experience within the theatre industry spreading out across the UK. She has toured with multiple different children's show, including: The Boy Who Bit Picasso; Getting Dressed; Mirror, Mirror; and Tutti Frutti shows Keepy Uppy and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

KIRSTY SMITH (Stage Manager) is a Nottingham-based freelance stage manager. Kirsty has many years of professional experience within the theatre industry spreading out across the UK. She has toured with multiple different children's show, including: The Boy Who Bit Picasso; Getting Dressed; Mirror, Mirror; and Tutti Frutti shows Keepy Uppy and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

WENDY HARRIS (Director; Artistic Director of Tutti Frutti; Chair of PYA England) has held the position of artistic director at Tutti Frutti since 2005 and has directed all but one production in partnership with York Theatre Royal, touring nationally and internationally and co-producing the Little Feet Festival of Children's Theatre and the First Words writers' development program.

EMMA REEVES (Writer) has won Best Children's TV Episode at the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards twice and been nominated on two other occasions. Her work has won a national RTS award, an RTS Scotland award, and has been nominated for two BAFTA awards and two Broadcast awards.

CATHERINE CHAPMAN (Designer) is a theatre designer and loves her role of creating magical places for stories to be told. Catherine was born in North Yorkshire and often returns to the area to work at York Theatre Royal and Stephen Joseph Theatre. She has previously worked with Tutti Frutti.

REBECCA CONSTABLE (Assistant Designer) is passionate about design for performance and has gained valuable industry experience working as a designer for the Nottingham Playhouse, Sheffield Crucible Theatre, along with a designer/maker for the Lakeside Theatre Nottingham, Freedom Studios, and the 2017 National Theatre Connections festival.

TAYO AKINBODE (Composer) Tayo's recent work includes: Much Ado About Nothing for New English Shakespeare Company at the Dubai Opera House; The Panto That Nearly Never Was at Theatr Clwyd; Sonnet Sunday, Henry IV, pt1, pt 2, and Henry V at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; The Whip at Royal Shakespeare Company; Pulse at Bamboozle Theatre.

CHRISTELLA LITRAS (Musical Director) is a songwriter, musician, composer, vocal arranger, record producer, creative support officer (Leeds Playhouse), and founding member of Caution Collective. She composed the musical score for Windrush: Movement of the People by Phoenix Dance Theatre, which celebrated the 70^th^ anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush.

JOANNE BERNARD (Movement Director) trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. She has 18 years performance experience working for a variety of companies including Ace Dance and Music (contemporary/African fusion), Foot in Hand (disabled and able-bodied dancers), and Tutti Frutti (children's theatre).

NICK ASH (Puppet Maker) is an award-winning puppet and mask maker and has a varied career in film, TV, and theatre. In 2006 he co-founded the award-winning Scratch Built Productions, creating imaginative new shows which include Baby Boomers, Knight Time, How To Be a Hero, and The Three Sillies.

Tutti Frutti

Executive Director
Emma Killick

Admin & Operations Manager
Mosa Mpetha

Sales & Marketing Manager
Sophie Backhouse

Arts Engagement Coordinator
Suvi Saraf

Finance Officer
Louise Lydamore

Fundraising Manager
Janet Myers

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Wharton Center offers a diverse selection of arts entertainment. Not all productions may appeal to or be appropriate for every person or for all ages. Patrons are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the shows we offer in order to make informed decisions prior to purchasing tickets.

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Please observe the lighted exit signs located throughout the building and theatre(s). All patrons should note all exits, especially those closest to your seat location. Our staff and ushers are trained to assist patrons through multiple emergency situations.

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See your usher or House Management Room 209 (in Grand Foyer).

Supporters and Staff

Wharton Center gratefully recognizes our Circle Members for their philanthropic contribution, our Legacy donors who have chosen to support with their estate plans, individuals and organizations that have established named endowments to support Wharton Center, and our corporate sponsors.

Wharton Center would like to acknowledge the members of IATSE local 274.