Ugly Duckling by Emma Reeves

28th Sep 2017 to 23rd Dec 2018

tutti frutti productions and York Theatre Royal present

Ugly Duckling

by Emma Reeves

A one hour show for children aged 3+ and their families. Perfect for weekend, half term and twilight family shows or for school performances.

Meet the most unusual duckling the pond has ever seen!

In their nest at the edge of a pond, the baby ducklings wait impatiently for Mummy’s enormous egg to hatch.  But their new brother doesn’t look like everyone else. He doesn’t even quack like a proper duckling!

Teased and called Ugly by his siblings, our hero goes on an adventure in search of a place to fit in. As the woodland trees change from dark weathered branches to silver sticks of frost, the lost and lonely fledgling hides in brushwood and stares skyward at the migrating swans, yearning to belong and marvelling at their beauty…. Where does he really belong?

Moving through all four seasons, tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal bring to life Hans Christian Andersen’s well known tale. With a menagerie of mischievous animals, depicted through inventive physicality, and live music that quacks and trills, this charming production plays with the importance of identity, self-worth and takes us on a journey to discover inner beauty.

To book

For fees and to discuss availability, please contact tutti frutti on 0113 388 0027 or

For more details about working with us please see our Venues or Schools sections.



Reviews & Quotes

  1. The Ugly Duckling is a wonderful piece of children’s theatre, slickly executed and lovingly performed. It will keep little ones enthralled from its energetic opening to its cheeky cliff-hanger conclusion. Arts York

  2. Tutti frutti has gained an excellent reputation for delighting families with their shows, and this tradition continues with Ugly Duckling. British Theatre Guide

  3. “It isn’t how you look, it’s what you do,” is the mantra of Reeves’s play, and what you do in Ugly Duckling is find where you belong but also show appreciation for those who help you on that journey: one where you recognise the inner beauty in others, especially mothers with their unconditional love. No swanning off for Ugly! York Press

Tour Dates

Date & Time Venue Address
28th Sep 2017
- 14th Oct 2017
York Theatre Royal, Studio Theatre
St Leonard's Pl, York YO1 7HD
To book tickets: 01904 623 568
Visiting family information is here.
15th Oct 2017
1.00; 3.00
Ilkley Literature Festival
To book tickets: 01943 816714
16th Oct 2017
10.15; 1.30
Seacroft Grange Primary School
Closed schools performance
17th Oct 2017
10.30; 1.30
Thornton Dale Primary School
Closed school performance
20th Oct 2017
Closed schools performance
21st Oct 2017
11.00; 2.00
The Montgomery, Sheffield
Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 2LG To book tickets: 0114 249 6000
Visiting family information is here.  
22nd Oct 2017
The Civic, Barnsley
Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ To book tickets: 01226 327 000
23rd Oct 2017
- 24th Oct 2017
The Carriageworks
3 Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD To book tickets: 0113 376 0318
Visiting family information is here.
25th Oct 2017
South Holland Centre
23 Market Pl, Spalding PE11 1SS To book tickets: 01775 764777
Visiting family information is here.
27th Oct 2017
11.30; 2.30
Rheged Centre
Redhills, Penrith CA11 0DQ To book tickets: 01768 868000
Visiting family information is here.
29th Oct 2017
Gulbenkian Theatre
University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NB To book tickets: 01227 769075
Visiting family information is here.
1st Nov 2017
Broadway Theatre
Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3DD To book tickets: 01462 681088
2nd Nov 2017
1.30; 5.00
Redbridge Drama Centre
London Borough of Redbridge, Churchfields, South Woodford, London E18 2RB  To book tickets: 0208 708 8803
Visiting family information is here.
3rd Nov 2017
Friends of Sheepscombe Primary, Air in G
Sheepscombe County Primary School, Far End Cottages, Far End, GL6 7RL
4th Nov 2017
11.30; 2.30
Arts at Stowe
Stowe School, Stowe, Buckingham MK18 5EH To book tickets: 01280 825710
5th Nov 2017
11.30; 2.30
Cambridge Junction
Clifton Way, Cambridge, CB1 7GX  To book tickets: 01223 511511
15th Nov 2017
- 17th Nov 2017
Theatr Clwyd
Mold, Flintshire, CH7 1YA  To book tickets: 01352 701521
18th Nov 2017
Paradise Place, Goole, DN14 5DL  To book tickets: 01405 763652
19th Nov 2017
1.00; 3.30
Lakeside Arts
University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD
To book tickets: 0115 846 7777
Visiting family information is here.
20th Nov 2017
10.45: 1.30
Otley Courthouse

Courthouse Street, Otley, LS21 3AN  To book tickets: 01943 467216

22nd Nov 2017
Paddock Junior Infant and Nursery School
Closed school performance
23rd Nov 2017
10.30; 1.30
New Moston Primary School
Closed school performance
25th Nov 2017
The Lights

The Lights, West Street, Andover, Hants, SP10 1AH  To book tickets: 01264 368368

26th Nov 2017
12.00; 3.00
Jackson's Lane
269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA To book tickets: 020 8341 4421

28th Nov 2017
10.00; 11.45
Roscommon Arts Centre
Circular Road, Roscommon, Ireland  To book tickets: +353 (0)90 66 25 824
29th Nov 2017
- 30th Nov 2017
Siamsa Tire Theatre

Town Park, Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland  To book tickets: 00 353 66 7123055

4th Dec 2017
- 31 Dec 2017
Albany Theatre
Douglas Way, Deptford, London, SE8 4AG To book tickets: 020 8692 4446
6th Jan 2018
11.00; 2.00
Half Moon

43 White Horse Road, London, E1 0ND  To book tickets: 020 7709 8900

7th Jan 2018
11.30; 3.00
Minchinhampton Market House, Air in G
The Relic, West End, Minchinhampton, GL6 9JA To book tickets: 01453 731320
9th Jan 2018
Tintwistle Primary School
Closed school performance
10th Jan 2018
St Andrew's C of E Primary School
Closed school performance
11th Jan 2018
Westgate Primary School
Closed school performance
13th Jan 2018
11.00; 2.00
Lighthouse Poole's Centre for the Arts
21 Kingland Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1UG To book tickets: 01202 280000
14th Jan 2018
11.30; 2.30
Cornerstone Arts Centre
25 Station Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 7NE To book tickets: 01235 515144
15th Jan 2018
Robert Mellors Primary and Nursery School
Closed school performance
16th Jan 2018
Spalding Parish Church of England Day School
Closed school performance
17th Jan 2018
Temple Learning Academy
Closed school performance
23rd Jan 2018
- 28th Jan 2018
KidsFest Hong Kong
31st Jan 2018
- 3rd Feb 2018
KidsFest Singapore
4th Dec 2018
- 23rd Dec 2018
Dovecot Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1LL To book tickets: 01642 525199

Creative Team

Catherine Chapman

Catherine Chapman

Catherine 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 enjoys working on plays for children recently working on Wind in the Willows at York Theatre Royal. Catherine has previously worked with Tutti Frutti on The Girl Who Lost Her Smile and Hare and Tortoise. She also loves knitting, Coco Chanel and rabbits.
Emma Reeves

Emma Reeves

Emma’s stage work includes the Olivier-nominated adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather, The Snow Child, Carrie’s War, Little Women and Cool Hand Luke. TV work includes The Worst Witch (Lead Writer) Eve (Lead Writer and co-creator) The Dumping Ground, Young Dracula, Tracy Beaker Returns, Belonging, The Murder of Princess Diana, Spirit Warriors and Doctors. She 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, been nominated for two BAFTA awards and two Broadcast awards.
Holly Irving

Holly Irving

Holly is an experienced performer, teacher and movement director. Holly has always been passionate about how dance and theatre can be used to educate, inspire, rehabilitate as well as entertain a diverse range of audiences.

After graduating from The Northern School of Contemporary Dance Holly sought to use her skills to promote the amazing possibilities in dance. She went on to work in hospitals, prisons, secure training units, specialist school and with refugees and migrants. Some of Holly’s credits include: Open clasp Theatre Company ‘Key Change’ (Best of Edinburgh Award, Fringe 2015), and Take Off Festival Scratch artist 2015.

Music Composer- Tayo Akinbode

Music Composer- Tayo Akinbode

I first discovered theatre in London at the Royal Court’s Activists Youth Theatre, and my first composer job was for Manchester Youth Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

My recent work includes: Much Ado About Nothing for New English Shakespeare Company at The Dubai Opera House; The Panto That Nearly Never Was - Theatr Clwyd; Sonnet Sunday, Henry IV pt 1, pt2 and Henry V - Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; The Whip – Royal Shakespeare Company; Pulse - Bamboozle; Red Dust Road - National Theatre of Scotland; Snow White - The Wrong Crowd, My Voice Was Heard - Red Ladder; Bouncers - The Royal Court Liverpool; Love Unspoken – Spare Tyre/Queen’s Hornchurch, and The World According To Grandpa for Grandpa Productions/Channel 5 Milkshake.
Nick Ash

Nick Ash

Nick is an award winning puppet & 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. Nick has also designed and built puppets and masks for Shakespeare’s Globe (Dream Space), Polka (The Gorilla, Under the Rainbow,Charlie and Lola and Sarah and Duck), Royal and Derngate (His Dark Materials), Pied Piper (Robin’s Winter Adventure and Burglar Bill) Time Won’t Wait (That’s the way to do it) and Proteus Theatre Company (Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Sophia and the Snail, Rapunzel and Little Red and the Wolves). This year Nick has just finished a full scale T Rex puppet for Illyria theatre company's production of the Lost World.
Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris

Artistic Director, Chair of PYA England

I have held the position of Artistic Director at tutti frutti since 2005 and have 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 programme

Before working with tutti frutti I was Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company, and previous to this; Merseyside Young People’s Theatre Company in Liverpool. Over the years as a freelance director work has included; Everyman Theatre Liverpool, Crucible Theatre Sheffield, Hope Street Ltd, Oxford Stage Company, Unity Theatre Liverpool, European Stage Company, Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Contact Theatre Manchester. I currently live in Leeds with my partner Mark and two sons Louie and Eliot.

Touring Team

Calum Clark

Calum Clark

Technical Stage Manager adventuring with tutti frutti for the second time. Other recent escapades include Slung Low's Fairy Portal Camp (RSC), The White Whale (Leeds Dock), 59 Minutes To Save Christmas (Sheffield Theatres) and Emergency Story Penguin (UK Tour).

Calum was the company stage manager for Prime Theatre/Bolton Octagon's 2016 tour of The Macbeth Curse by Terry Deary and has toured extensively with Red Ladder and Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds.

He is a graduate in Fine Art from Staffordshire University and co-founder of street theatre troupe Artemis Productions UK, Liverpool.

Daniel Naddafy

Daniel Naddafy

Daniel is currently artist in residence with the Oxford Playhouse Theatre.

Theatre credits include: The Iron Man, Baby Show, Mister Holgado, The Flying Machine (Unicorn Theatre), Looking for Yoghurt (Birmingham Rep, Hanyong Theatre Korea, Kijimuna Festa Japan), Securing your World (Bush Theatre), Recycled Rubbish (Theatre Rites), Jack (Nottingham Playhouse), Peter Pan, Inside Out, How to Catch a Star (Polka). Daniel recently created his first solo performance Glisten. The production will tour the UK in 2018.

Danny Childs

Danny Childs

Danny graduated from ALRA:North in 2013 where he was nominated to represent the school in a ‘Laurence Olivier Award’ bursary. Starting life as an actor with a rural UK tour of ’12 Miles from Nowhere’ (Karen Simpson/Action Transport Theatre), Danny then moved onto roles as ‘Wishee Washee’ (Buxton Opera House) and ‘Grandson’ in Michael Morpurgo’s ‘FarmBoy’ (Colchester Mercury).

Danny has been a part of the ‘Tutti Frutti’ family before, enjoying a national and international tour of ‘Rapunzel’ back in 2015, 'Ugly Duckling' in 2017 and ‘Keepy Uppy’ in 2018.

Danny and his colleague Matt are establishing their names as filmmakers back in Manchester, specialising in promotional footage, actors portfolio material and short films. They have already enjoyed an official selection award for their short film ‘FEUD’ earlier this year despite only celebrating a 1 year birthday of their company SquadFour Productions recently. Follow their progress online at

Maeve Leahy

Maeve Leahy

Maeve is an Irish actress and singer who studied Drama and Theatre at University College Cork and trained as an actor at Drama Studio London. Credits include Rosa/Soffia/Carlotta in SAFFRON HILL (The Pleasance, Islington); Catherine in Mamet's BOSTON MARRIAGE (The Cockpit); Mary in THE BALD PRIMA DONNA (Sevenoaks Playhouse) and international touring for TNT and Tour de Force include the Fool and Cordelia in KING LEAR, Hermia in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and Oliver in OLIVER TWIST. Musical theatre roles include Liesel in “The Sound of Music” at The Cork Opera House.