David began writing as a student at Oxford University in the sixties. He wrote his first play for children in 1967 and has since written over sixty more.
His repertoire is performed all over the world and include THE GINGERBREAD MAN (nine London seasons), THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE… (six London seasons, co-written with Sheila Ruskin), THE SELFISH SHELLFISH, THE SEE-SAW TREE, SAVE THE HUMAN (from the story he wrote with cartoonist Tony Husband), THE IDEAL GNOME EXPEDITION and THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER.
His stage adaptations of well-known books include Dick King-Smith’s BABE THE SHEEP-PIG, Roald Dahl’s THE BFG and THE WITCHES (both of which played long tours and two West End seasons), THE TWITS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and FANTASTIC MR FOX, DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD and GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, HRH The Prince of Wales’ THE OLD MAN OF LOCHNAGAR, Michael Foreman’s DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH, Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski’s MEG AND MOG SHOW(five London seasons for Unicorn Theatre), Philippa Pearce’s TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN (which Unicorn Theatre played on tour, in the West End and on Broadway) and Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA.
He was dubbed ‘the national children’s dramatist’ by Irving Wardle in The Times and published, to rave reviews, THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING(Faber), co-written with Janet Grant, which has become required reading on the subject in the UK and the US, and is now published in China.
He directed many of his plays for his own company, Whirligig Theatre (founded with John Gould in 1979), which for 25 years toured to major theatres nationwide include Sadler’s Wells in London.
Film screenplays include SWALLOWS AND AMAZONSand BACK HOME, which won a gold award at the New York Film and TV Festival 1991. Writing for television includes the series CHIPS’ COMIC, CHISH ‘N’ FIPSand THE GINGERBREAD MAN; and TIDE RACE, his filmed drama for Central Television and the European Broadcasting Union, has won several international awards.
For BBC Radio 4 he adapted Arthur Ransome’s SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS.
He also writes children’s books; with Richard Fowler he has co-created novelty books including BEDTIME STORY, MOLE’S SUMMER STORY, MOLE’S WINTER STORY, SILLY SPIDER, THE MAGIC SHOW, FUNNY BUNNY’S MAGIC SHOW and THE TOY CUPBOARD. He wrote THE PHANTOM CAT OF THE OPERA (illustrated by Peters Day).
David Wood has followed a parallel career as an actor, best remembered as Johnny in Lindsay Anderson’s cult film IF… He is married to Jacqueline Stanbury; they have two grown-up daughters, Katherine and Rebecca.
In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for services to literature and drama in the Queen’s birthday honours.
In 2006 he wrote THE QUEEN’S HANDBAG, a play to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday. It was performed by an all-star cast in Buckingham Palace Gardens at the Children’s Party at the Palace, and seen live on BBC 1 by 8,000,000 television viewers.