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Mr Stink Stank…An Interview with Maryam Master

With almost 20 years’ experience writing for young audiences, Maryam Master’s new play, the adaptation of David Walliams’ best-selling children’s novel Mr Stink comes to Riverside Theatres 1 – 2 April. We caught up with Maryam to find out more about the book, the adaptation process and her favourite David Walliams’ character.

What do you love about Mr Stink?
What DON’T I love about Mr Stink?! It is such a charming story. Intriguing, warm, lovable (and some not so lovable) characters and a gripping plot. Completely unputdownable. The first time I read it, I laughed out loud and cried projectile tears.

You collaborated with David Walliams, the author of the Mr Stink novel, to write this adaptation. Tell us about that process.
David has been incredibly generous during this process. We met when he was here for the Sydney Writers’ Festival last year and spent a few hours discussing ideas for the play. He wasn’t in the least bit precious about his words or ideas and was quite open to new ideas that would help lift the story off the page and make it theatrical. He was keen that we use the medium as much as possible. Real scratch and sniff theatre. I then went off and wrote the play and sent him the first draft. He loved it, which was a huge relief! He gave very constructive notes and so the process of writing various drafts continued.

What is your favourite David Walliams character and why?
It’s hard to go past Raj, the lovable, miserly shop owner who is always trying to make a quick sale and is everyone’s best friend. He’s a recurring character across all of David Walliams’ books. I also love Mrs Crumb from Mr Stink. She’s pure evil. I love a good villain.

Why do you think children love David Walliams stories so much?
Because he doesn’t shy away from the dark side of human nature. His stories champion characters that are pure in heart whilst also exploring many other macabre, sinister and darkly comic themes.

Have Quentin Blake’s illustrations assisted in the adaptation process and if so, in what way?
Of course. The illustrations are extraordinary and bring the characters to life. I swear some of his drawings move sometimes…and talk…and smell. Extra. Ordinary.

What do you think the importance of the themes in Mr Stink are?
There are many important themes. An endless list. What it means to be a true friend. Why we should never judge a book by its cover or…a stinky person by their stench. It’s about the importance of compassion, wisdom of the elder generation, bullying and how our deeds and words have such a huge impact on others. Having courage and conquering fears. I could go on and on…

A delight for the whole family, don’t miss this joyful and hilarious production at Riverside Theatres 1 – 2 April. Click here to secure your seats now!


maryam-aprilMaryam Master has almost 20 years’ experience writing for young audiences. Her new play, the adaptation of David Walliams’ best-selling children’s novel Mr Stink, will premiere at the Sydney Opera House in April 2016.

In 2014 she wrote the stage adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ book The Incredible Book Eating Boy, which premiered at the Sydney Opera House then went on to tour nationally and internationally.

Maryam has also written Lah Lah’s Big Live Band, which debuted to sold-out audiences at the Opera House Concert Hall, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and Jingle Bell Jazz (SOH Babies Proms), and Staging Stories, an interactive workshop for Sydney Opera House’s digital learning program. She is currently working on bringing Leigh Hobbs’ beloved character Horrible Harriet to the stage.

On television, Maryam has written for many major Australian and international programs. She was selected by Sesame Workshop as the writer for Elmo’s 2011 tour of Australia, and wrote Elmo and Ollie for Sesame and Nick Jr. She has also written for Hoopla Doopla  (Beyond), Lah-Lah’s Adventures (Stella/Seven Network), Blinky Bill (Yoram Gross), Animalscope (CBeebies), Raggs (Southern Star/Seven Network), Dive Olly Dive (Flying Bark), New Macdonald’s Farm (Pacific and Beyond/Nine Network), Blue Water High (Southern Star) and Bambaloo (Jim Henson Co./Yoram Gross/Seven Network).

Early in her career, Maryam worked as a writer and script editor for Home and Away (Seven Network), writing over 80 episodes of the program.

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