The enchanting world of CBeebies’ hit animated series Sarah & Duck comes to life on stage in Radlett this week. Featuring a host of characters from the BAFTA Award-winning TV show, Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday plays three performances at the Radlett Centre on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7.

Told through a fantastic blend of puppetry, storytelling and music, and featuring all the familiar voices from the CBeebies series including Roger Allam as the Narrator and Lesley Nicol as Scarf Lady, Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday will take families on a magical theatrical adventure.

Here we talk with Roman Stefanski, Associate Director at Polka Theatre and director of the first stage adaptation of Sarah & Duck, which is now on tour across the UK.

Did you know Sarah & Duck before you started working on the stage adaptation?

I knew Sarah & Duck a little. I had come across it whilst working on my other CBeebies stage show Charlie and Lola, and really enjoyed the style of animation and the hugely likeable characters.

Sarah & Duck has enjoyed phenomenal success on TV. What do you think makes it so popular?

I think the success of Sarah & Duck comes from the simple but well written characters and storylines. The show includes many zany characters, that are immediately accepted as friends, and so Sarah’s world is wonderfully diverse.

What can audiences expect from Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday?

Audiences will meet up with many of the loved characters from the TV series including Scarf Lady and the Ribbon Sisters. They are all brought to life by fantastic handcrafted puppets, which are animated by a talented cast of four puppeteers. The set is hugely colourful and to look at definitely rings true with the TV series. Tanera Dawkins’ music from the series is also used throughout the show which means children can sing along. Sarah sings a firework song which is a strong favourite with our younger audiences!

What are the challenges of transporting Sarah & Duck into the 3D world of theatre?

The main challenge with Sarah & Duck is that the TV episodes are only eight minutes long, whereas the stage show is 60 minutes. This means we have to present a much bigger story which develops throughout the show, with lots of different exciting and fun moments. The other challenge is performing to a live audience which are sometimes 10 or 15 metres away. In a TV show you can use close-ups to show the expressions of each character. In a theatre the audience sees the whole stage all the time, so you have to use sound, lighting, and clever staging to draw the audience’s attention to where the focus should be.

Why do you think it’s important that children experience theatre at a young age?

Theatre is live, and it is a shared experience. There is something magical about that which all children should be able to experience. In a theatre you are watching a unique show – no two shows are exactly the same – and you are experiencing it with a whole group of people. This is a totally different experience to watching something on TV where you might be by yourself and surrounded by all the familiarity of home. In a theatre, audiences are enjoying a performance that is being aimed at them personally. This is an amazing feeling and one all children should enjoy.

The Radlett Centre, 1 Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, Friday, March 6, 1.30pm, and Saturday, March 7, 10.30am and 1pm. Details: 01923859291