Try your hand at adapting a scene from a novel after hearing from from the experts

Ever read a book and thought that it would make a great film or play?

Over the years, novels have been an important source of stories for the stage and screen. Many of our own productions at the Belgrade have been based on or inspired by books, from Noughts and Crosses to Frankenstein.

In this week’s Weducation activity, we’ll hear from three playwrights who have adapted novels for the stage, and you’ll also have the chance to try your hand at turning an extract from a book into a script of your own.

Have a listen to the video below of playwright Emteaz Hussain talking about her adaptation of Crongton Knights. Pay attention to what she says about trying to be faithful to the language Alex Wheatle gives to his characters, and staying true to the themes of the book, while being free to make changes to the story.



Billionaire Boy

Birmingham Stage Company are well-known for their adaptations of David Walliams’ books, as well as for their Horrible Histories Live productions. Below, company founder and manager Neal Foster talks about his adaptations of Gangsta Granny, Awful Auntie and more recently, Billionaire Boy.

“It’s wonderful to adapt books by David Walliams because he has such a theatrical way of writing. This is no surprise given David’s long history of writing and appearing in theatre and television productions. In fact, before he became well known, David had spent much longer than people appreciate writing scripts for all sorts of much loved comedy programmes. So all his books lend themselves beautifully to theatrical adaptation.

“David is also an expert in structuring his stories, so just when you think that you know how the story is going to go, he takes a sharp left hand turn and heads down another road you didn’t see coming. This makes adapting his books very exciting because he gives you such a strong skeleton on which to base the play.

“The stories always contain a lot of humour and I have loved bringing his characters and situations onto the stage where you can really develop the comedy. The characters are always fun to bring to life and it’s fascinating giving them dialogue in scenes where David has only described a situation but not told you exactly what the characters are saying.”