'It's wonderful when children write to tell you how much they liked your musical'

11th December 1998 at 00:00
LUCKPLAYED its part in getting primary teacher Debbie Campbell's first work published. "I started writing because there was not much around, and what there was wasn't memorable," she says.

Ms Campbell wrote her environmental musical, The Bumblesnouts Save the World, 12 years ago for the World Wide Fund for Nature. A publisher at the school performance was so impressed he offered to publish it in collaboration with the WWF.

Then the BBC turned up at "The Bumblesnouts" book launch and picked it up for a radio broadcast. Ms Campbell's writing career was launched.

During the Seventies and Eighties, she specialised in music and drama in London schools. She now teaches at Coleridge primary, Crouch End, and Highgate pre-preparatory and runs two after-school theatre groups, The Scene on the Hill and the Crouch End Crickets.

"I like the mixture of jobs, teaching, running the theatre groups and writing, because they all inter-relate," she says.

"When I have written a song I am quite excited about trying it out on the kids and and then waiting for the publishers' reaction."

Class songs, Christmas shows and more recently a batch of historical shows including Samuel Pepys, Robin Hood and Romeo and Juliet are on her list of achievements.

"I worry away at an idea for about six months and then I can write it very quickly - in a summer holiday. That is almost the easy part. I do a lot of research, especially for the ecology and historical shows, because it has to be factual, even though it is fantasy.

"I don't live off just the writing. It is the jam. But it is wonderful when children write you letters and tell you how much they like your musical and what parts they took," says Ms Campbell, who plays piano and keyboard.

Her latest effort, The Owl and the Pussycat, charts the unlikely adventure of the couple who sail away together, bear a wayward and outrageous owlcat, and retire happily in a home by the sea for the elderly. Percussion, keyboard scores and an array of instruments on tape keep it as a jolly romp while maintaining the poem's rhythm.

'The Owl and the Pussycat' is published by Golden Apple Productions. Tel: 0171 434 0066. Debbie Campbell is available for in-service training workshops. Tel: 0181 292 0245

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