Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Based on the book by Richard and Florence Atwater
Adapted for the stage by Pins & Needles Productions
Music by Luke Bateman, Lyrics by Richy Hughes
Produced by Casa Mañana by arrangement with Kenny Wax Family Entertainment and TC  Beech


Painter and decorator by day, Mr Popper spends his time dreaming of Antarctic adventures. He is astounded when one day a packing crate arrives on his doorstep and a penguin waddles out!

With original songs and performing penguin puppets, this delightful, action packed musical adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater’s popular book (also made into a Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey) is the perfect family treat!

Running time – 60 minutes, no intermission

For ages 4 – 104!

“Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a 55-minute musical romp. It’s funny, warm and unbelievably touching. It whimsically proves families come in all shapes and sizes, as do dreams." - Huffington Post

"Children may wish the birds were real, but Nick Barnes’s ingenious life-size puppets, manipulated by the actors Lucy Grattan and Toby Manley, may be the next-best thing.” - New York Times



CASA MAÑANA (PRODUCER) Mr. Popper's Penguins is produced by Casa Mañana, the same theatre who produced the acclaimed tours of A Year with Frog & Toad, Junie B in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells and Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale. Located in the heart of the cultural district of Fort Worth, TX, Casa Mañana Theatre specializes in professional Broadway and Children's Theatre and arts education, and has done so for more than 50 years. As a performing arts organization, Casa Mañana strives to create, nurture and advance live professional theatre unparalleled in artistic excellence for the enrichment and education of its diverse community and its future generations of artists and patrons. Recently, Casa Mañana’s Performing Arts Conservatory was listed first in regional theatre training programs by  Learn more at

KENNY WAX LIMITED, LONDON, UK (PRODUCER) - Founded in 1995 by Kenny Wax the Company has firmly established itself as a leading player in the West end and the provinces as both Producer and General Manager. Kenny is on the board of the Society of West End Theatre and was this year invited to appear in directory Who’s Who – an honour which he accepted.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy became one of the surprise hits of 2014 when Kenny together with co-producer Mark Bentley asked Mischief Theatre to redraft their one hour play into a full length entertainment. They toured the show to great popular acclaim before transferring it to the Duchess Theatre where it has played to near capacity business since it opened in September 2014. It is now booking into it’s third year at the Duchess and is set to make that theatre its home for a long time to come.

Mischief’s follow up show PETER PAN GOES WRONG  opened at the Yvonne Arnaud in November 2014 and successfully completed a UK tour this year. Mischief’s follow up show PETER PAN GOES WRONG played in the West End at the Apollo Theatre Christmas 2015 having completed a 28 week UK tour. THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY is the third Mischief show that Kenny is co-producing with Mark Bentley. It is due to open in April at the Criterion Theatre.

DEAR LUPIN is a new stage comedy adapted by the celebrated writer and journalist Michael Simkins from Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer’s “Dear Lupin – Letters to a Wayward Son” the entire correspondence of a father to his only son spanning nearly 25 years. It starred two time BAFTA award winner James Fox and his son Jack Fox on a 6 week UK Tour.

 In 2011 the Company produced the world premiere of the 1935 RKO classic movie TOP HAT which famously starred the legendary dancing partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In 2013, the stage adaptation running at the Aldwych Theatre, won three Laurence Olivier Awards including the coveted ‘Best New Musical’ from its seven nominations. In 2012 TOP HAT won the Evening Standard Award for ‘Best Night Out’. TOP HAT  recently finished its UK tour which packed out venues up and down the country led by the sensational Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch.

Over the summer season Kenny Wax Family Entertainment Ltd presented a brand new production of Stiles and Drewe’s THE THREE LITTLE PIGS currently playing at Palace Theatre and THE GRUFFALO at the Lyric Theatre. Jacqueline Wilson’s HETTY FEATHER, which was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award and played to packed houses in 2014 has also been brought back to the West End’s Duke of York Theatre. The West End run was part of a 30 week UK tour played a 5 week season at the Lowry in Manchester over Christmas 2015.

ROOM ON THE BROOM and THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA are continuing to delight audiences on the UK touring circuit and ‘TIGER‘ has enjoyed a successful run at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Arts Centre.

KENNY WAX LTD is a proud supporter of the the charity KidsOut, which is dedicated to bringing fun and happiness into the lives of disadvantaged children. Over the past year KidsOut enjoyed performances of WHAT THE LADYBIRD HEARD, THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA, HETTY FEATHER and PETER PAN GOES WRONG. They also benefited from a special Gala performance of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Duchess Theatre. KENNY WAX LTD is also a great supporter of Spread a Smile Children’s Charity.

Pins and Needles Productions (Bristol, UK) is committed to creating inspiring visual theatre that unites both physical and text based work. We have a particular interest in physical storytelling and work that encourages the audience to take an imaginative leap.

Luke Bateman (
Luke studied Composition and Twentieth Century Music under professor Martin Butler at the University of Sussex and voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A versatile composer, Luke has written for TV, stage, the big screen and many, many songs. Producer Kenny Wax commissioned Luke to write with Richy Hughes to adapt the book Mr. Popper's Penguins into a musical which toured the UK in 2015/16, will have a 3-week run at the New Victory Theatre in Times Square (NYC) and will be touring North America in the 2017/18 season.

Richy Hughes (
Richy has been writing parodies of well-known pop songs since his school days. He published a few of these on YouTube and quickly amassed over half a million hits.

In 2012 Richy joined The BML Workshop in London to hone his lyric writing craft.  This weekly workshop introduced him to industry professionals and practitioners, including some of his musical theatre heroes, setting him on the path towards a professional writing career.



  • Language Arts – Vocabulary, Creative Writing, Creative Thinking and Comprehension
  • Social Studies – Geography/Map Skills, Government
  • Math – Calendar, Life Skills: Budgeting, Measurement
  • Science – Animals, Penguins, Animal Habitats, Environmental Conservation and Preservation

SCHOOL TIME AUDIENCE: Grades 1-5; Ages 6-11


  • Newbery Honor Book (1939)
  • One of the inaugural Lewis Carroll Shelf Award books (1958)
  • A 20th Century Fox film based loosely on the book was released on June 17, 2011 and starred Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper.


"... the vibe of the show is definitely (and delightfully) mid-20th century; the stagecraft clever and actor (and puppet)-centric; the result engaging and, ultimately poignant." - Christopher Henley,

“Those endearing creatures steal the show in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” . . . a sweet entertainment at the New Victory Theater. Children may wish the birds were real, but Nick Barnes’s ingenious life-size puppets, manipulated by the actors Lucy Grattan and Toby Manley, may be the next-best thing.” - New York Times

“Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a 55-minute musical romp. It’s funny, warm and unbelievably touching. It whimsically proves families come in all shapes and sizes, as do dreams. . . . Charmingly directed by Emma Earle, designed by Zoe Squire and featuring Nick Barnes’ brilliant puppetry design, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a great way to introduce children to the theater. Its captivating presentation will leave the kids wanting more.” - Huffington Post

"Terrific fun... sends everyone out with grins on their faces." - The Guardian (UK)   

"Heart-warming, funny and incredibly enjoyable." - Surrey Comet (UK) 

"Outstanding puppetry ... this musical hits all the right child-friendly notes." - The Stage (UK)