Peter Wynne-Willson

I am a young people's theatre writer based in Handsworth, Birmingham.  Educated at King Edwards Birmingham, and Manchester University.  Founding director of Big Brum Theatre-in-Education Company in the 80s, I first got involved in writing as a member of a devising team.  I have written more than 40 plays, almost all for young audiences, commissioned by TYA [Theatre for Young Audiences] Companies, as well as a couple by youth theatres and schools.  In recent years I have specialised in international collaborations [particular through close working links with South Korea] as well as early years work.  In addition to writing, I also work as director, drama worker in schools, university lecturer, and occasionally performer.  I was Visiting Professor of Theatre-in-Education at the Korean National University of the Arts from 1999-2005.


West Midlands



Commissioned Plays

The Dream Eater   Story-telling theatre piece for family audiences based around Japanese myth Moby Duck Theatre Co  [On tour in the UK Spring 2015]

Nori  TIE Programme for Foundation Stage Created with Language Alive The Playhouse and Buksetung Theatre Company Seoul.  An exploration of language and play for young children, with music by Mary Keith and Noh Son Lac.[ Birmingham Schools tour Spring 2013]

The Frog who Wouldn’t Hop    Moby Duck Theatre Company 8th in the Korean series, based on the traditional Korean story of The Green Frog.  [National Tour Autumn 2012]

Nativity – A generic script to be performed by KS1 and foundation children. Designed to be adapted and used by teachers in a range of contexts.  Commissioned by Birmingham Rep for a teacher’s course.  2012

Bong Soon – A Windy Tale / The Farting Daughter-in-Law, original version written with Ko Sun Duck for Sadari Theatre Korea, then adapted for UK tour with Moby Duck Theatre Company.  Toured Korea and UK 2011.

Once Upon a Tiger   Story created by work with children in Korea and Walsall for national tour in 2010. Moby Duck Theatre Company with Kim So Ri.

Looking for Yoghurt co-written with Toyoko Nishida and Kim Mi Jeong.  Major project for children of 6 and over, written in English, Japanese and Korean. Created from workshops in all three countries, and performed in Birmingham, Leicester, Seoul, Tokyo and Okinawa during 2009. Commissioned by Birmingham REP, Hanyong Theatre, Joyful Theatre and Kijimuna Festa. The play toured in UK Korea and Japan 2009 and repeated tours in all three countries in 2010.

I'm Still Hungry Commissioned by Moby Duck Theatre Company, based on the Story of the Sun and Moon, a play for three performers for family audiences. [Toured nationally during 2009].

The Kam Tree Fourth in the 'Korean' series commissioned by Moby Duck Theatre Company. Based on a combination of traditional Korean stories. Featuring korean musician performer Park Young Ju as a Magpie with a story to tell. For 3+ and families. [National tour of small-scale venue Spring 2008]

Princess and Ginger Play for under fives commissioned by Birmingham REP. Written through work with 22 children aged 2-4 and their parents. A play for two actors and a musician, reflecting the remarkable imaginations of those very young children. The full story of the way the play was made is told on the website www.familyplaymakers.co.uk . [Opened in the Door followed by tour of early years settings]

Two Bum Bun commissioned by Moby Duck Theatre Company for national tour in 2007. Based on another traditional Korean Tale, [called Sugungga in Korean] this tells the story of a turtle and a wily rabbit, and in this version explores a relationship across cultures. Using found objects as makeshift puppets, in a Korean style. For 3+ and families. [Small-scale venue tour Spring 2007]

Talking Balls commissioned by Women and Theatre for a tour in 2006-7, still in repertoire. An exploration of issues around testicular cancer and men’s approach to genital health. [Co-written and researched with Michael Aduwali and Janice Conolly]

Tiger Trail commissioned by Moby Duck Theatre Company for national tour in 2006. Created by working with Year1 children in Seoul and Wolverhampton, this play is made up from combining story ideas in two continents. Performed by a Korean percussionist, a storyteller and an Indian classical dancer. [Small-scale venue tour Spring 2006]

The Bridge ['Dari'] [with Ko Sun Deok] Written for Hanyong Theatre Company for tour of Korea and UK. The play is bilingual, and tells the story of a young National Serviceman, and his friendship with three korean children during the Korean War. [Tour of theatres, and schools Korea and UK 2005] - details at www.hanyong.co.uk.   Production revived in 2008 for World Congress of ASSITEJ in Adelaide [only UK production selected for this festival]  and Kijimuna Festa, Japan. [Published by Hanyong in 2012]

Nativity commissioned by Birmingham REP for outdoor performance in City Centre Gardens, Birmingham. A re-working of the Nativity Story with professional narrator, live animals and Year Six children. Performed by children from Nelson School and TV presenter Nick Owen. Directed by Lorna Laidlaw. [City Centre Gardens December 2004]

The Shooky Play for 5-7 year olds, commissioned by Birmingham Rep/Creative Partnerships from extensive research with Key Stage One children. Directed by Toby Frow. [Birmingham Rep Main Stage July 2004]

Iagi Boddari ['The Story Bundle'] Play for actor, puppeteer and musician, based on a number of Korean traditional tales commissioned for a national tour of small and medium-scale venues in 2004-5 [Moby Duck Theatre Company]

Drybones. Large-scale outdoor play, commissioned by Leighswood School in Aldridge, exploring the mining history of the town. Written in collaboration with Year Six pupils. [For performance in June 2004]

Hae Wa Dal - The Sun and Moon Puppet/storytelling version of Korean traditional tale, worked as a half-day tie programme for 6-10 year olds. Directed by Ali Belbin and Choi Young Ai, and performed by PWW. [Occasional performances 2003-2012]

Saving Hope Full day participatory TIE programme for Language Alive, exploring the plague village of Eyam. Years 5 and 6 [Autumn 2002-Spring 2003] [Revived 2012]

Deong Jeon Deon Jigi [translated by Lee In Soo] Korean version of Heads or Tails - see below.  Toured schools in Seoul during World Cup. [Summer 2002] Repeated at World Congress of ASSITEJ, Seoul 2002.

The Last Resort Play commissioned by ArtSites, and written through improvisation with young people at Colmer's Farm School, Birmingham. [Performed Summer 2001]

Forgotten Element Summer School piece, written from devising process with Highfields School, Wolverhampton, 2000

From… Musical about refugees, commissioned by Worcester Sixth Form College to mark the new millennium. Music by music students at the college. Set in a fictional Central Europe, the play follows the experience of a group of refugees fleeing into a neighbouring country, where they are not universally welcome. [December 1999. Worcester Sixth Form College]

Tower - A Celebration. A play with music for 8-9 year olds commissioned by Birmingham Hippodrome to mark the theatre's Centenary. Tells the story of the last hundred years through the eyes of Tower, the theatre cat. A special production was due be on the main stage twice a day and free to all local schools for one week only 12th-16th October 1999 - but was postponed to 2002, due to funding problems at the Hippodrome, and eventually abandoned.

Somewhere, or Nora's Ark - Lower secondary age Theatre-in-Education programme looking at effects on young people of 'negative labelling'. [Gazebo TIE Company, Walsall. On tour from October- December 1998

Strange Farm – Commissioned by Birmingham Rep, and written with a year 4 Class [8 year-olds] at Rookery School, Handsworth, and performed by them at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre as part of the First 'Transmissions' Festival, in November 1998.

Singing Round the Fire - Celebratory play with songs linking pupils form different ages, for Byng Kenrick Central School Centenary 1997 [Music by Roger Sandland]

The Cut - Upper secondary TIE programme about teenage pregnancy [Gazebo TIE 1996]

Risky Business – YPT performance based piece, exploring the politics of Tobacco [Women & Theatre - Tour of schools/youth clubs 1996]

Mick in Egypt - One-man physical theatre/clowning play for Mick Wall, featuring an explorer’s visit to Egypt. [Nationwide tour 1995]

Tales from the Fireside - Puppet play for one performer written for Clive Chandler, commissioned by West Midlands Fire Service [Tour of Primary Schools in Birmingham 1995]

The Last Shot - Circus and physical theatre play based on The Three Musketeers, co-written with Mick Wall. [MAC Open-Air Arena, 1994]

The Broken Peace - Full-day TIE programme about refugees, inspired by events in former Yugoslavia. [Greenwich and Lewisham Young Peoples Theatre 1994]

Violent Times - Full-length adult play for studio venues, about cycles of abuse. [Theatre Absolute, Coventry 1994]

El Mono - Music Theatre project for performance by 10-11 year-olds, devised with Caliche. [MAC 1993, Winner of Sacred Earth Drama Award 1997]

Heads or Tails - Combined TIE/community play, about a progressive junior school in wartime Ladywood. [Big Brum Theatre-in-Education tour of schools and community venues 1992] [Small scale venues 1993] [New Production, also by Big Brum 1998]

Roy - Full length play built around the story of Roy Grey, the last man hanged in B’ham in 1962.   [Big Brum TIE tour of arts centres and community venues 1989-90] [Reworked for new productions by Half Moon YPT 1995, and Merseyside YPT 1995]

Birmingham - The Musical - Full-length musical, written with Clive Chandler [B’ham Schools Co. 1989 Performed at MAC]

Homeland - Full length YPT/Community play about the Siege of Mafeking and the British in South Africa. [Big Brum TIE tour of N Ireland 1988]

Drowning - Play aimed at 16-18 yr olds. Exploring bereavement and alcohol abuse. [Big Brum TIE 1986]

Lockout - Musical based on Aristophanes’ ‘Lysistrata’. [Translated by PWW.  Triangle Youth Theatre. Reworked for London Bubble Theatre Co. 1985, and Half Moon YPT 1990]

Junkets - [Co-written with Jan Page] a monologue about the last days of John Keats. [Big Brum 1982]

Darkness Visible - [Co-written with Jan Page] a monologue about a sociopath. [M’ter Umbrella 1981]

Other Writing

The Inflatable School    Funny Adventure Novel for 10-12 year olds originally written as an online serial through work with children in Walsall. [Published by Leighswood Press 2009]

PWW's work on ‘creating plays for children by playing with children’ has recently been documented in a book published in 2013 - ‘Theatre for Young Audiences [Trentham Books 2013]  and The Bridge script and process were published by Hanyong Publications in 2013

Theatre