We chatted to the author about her book Handa’s Surprise which has been transformed into a stage production, currently playing at the Little Angel Theatre.

(c)Ellie Kurttz Photography

For those who don’t know, what is Handa’s Surprise about? In the book, Handa is carrying seven delicious fruits in a basket on top of her head. One by one, animals creep up and steal the fruit. Handa can’t see what’s happening – but the reader can!

How did the idea for the story come about? The idea came from watching a someone on TV. This person couldn’t see that a fountain spraying up behind them looked as if it was spurting from the top of their head. I realised that if someone was carrying something on their head, they wouldn’t be able to see anything happening to it and the first idea for Handa’s Surprise was born!

What did you want children to take away from Handa’s Surprise? The children can see how the fruit is disappearing, while Handa can’t see a thing. They feel empowered by knowing something that Handa doesn’t.

How did you feel about Handa’s Surprise being transformed to the stage? I was and still am really honoured that the Little Angel Theatre are making the book into a play.

How does it feel to see the characters you created being brought to life? It’s very exciting to see how the actors, puppets, music and movement transform the story and pictures into a new three-dimensional experience.

By Emma Clarendon

Handa’s Surprise, based on the best-selling book by Eileen Browne, runs from 9th February to 16th April at Little Angel Studios, followed by a UK tour (suitable for ages 2-5 years).