Vikki Stone is an award-winning writer, composer, comedian and musician. In 2023 she won the Best Family Show Olivier Award for adapting Hey Duggee Live.
What attracted you to the world of theatre?
I was a bit of a child prodigy musician. I went to music school at a young age and all of my eggs were in one basket from 16 onwards.
Congratulations on your recent Olivier award. What was that experience like?
I look back at the video and it feels like an out of body experience. There was a really serendipitous moment when my best friend, Helen George from Call the Midwife, presented the award to us.
How do you juggle writing, composing and performing?
I’m good at meeting deadlines. I have so many different shows that if I don’t meet a deadline it has a knock-on effect. Writing goes through many different eyes, so I don’t pressure myself into submitting something perfect for the first draft.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve written the music and lyrics for a production of Alice in Wonderland at Liverpool Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth. I’m also working on Christmas stuff – Cinderella at Lyric Hammersmith, Dick Wittington at The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, and Peter Pan at the Rose Theatre in Kingston.
Everything I write is known as family co-viewing. Hey Duggee is a TV show for under-fives but it has plenty of stuff for adults which goes over the kids’ heads. For instance, there’s an episode based on Apocalypse Now.
There’s also some stuff that’s nods to 90s rave culture – the most popular song is the Stick Song and a toddler mosh pit forms. The parents absolutely love it.
How have you seen audiences change over time?
There’s a bit of industry snobbery about pantomimes. I think it’s a really important art form, and it keeps most of these buildings financially stable. It’s often responsible for the running costs of the building for the year.
What’s your favourite theatre production?
One of the best things I’ve ever seen is Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten at the English National Opera. The ENO sell tickets for the open dress rehearsals – it’s a very affordable way of watching a big opera.
And your favourite theatre?
I love the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith. I first started performing there in 2016 and I’ve now written shows for it. It feels like a sort of church for me. It’s very special.
Have you taken productions abroad?
No, it’s all been UK-based. As a stand-up I was doing 55,000 miles a year and can tell you everything about every market town with an arts centre in the UK.
Do you have a favourite service station?
Tebay Services on the M6, West Morlands services. It’s got a farm shop.
What’s been your most rewarding travel experience?
Me and my husband don’t see each other during the Christmas period as I work on shows and he is a professional drummer. As soon as we both finish, we run away to the sunshine and that feels very rewarding. We’ve been to Canouan in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados, and we are currently deciding where to go next January. What’s our light at the end of the tunnel?
And most challenging?
I had a tight connection at Stansted for a flight to Porto. I’ve got really fancy, comfy Rixo pyjamas which I decided to travel in. But my first flight from Dublin was delayed so then I was belting through Stansted airport looking unhinged to make my flight to Porto. Sadly, I missed it.
What’s your dream destination?
Japan. My husband is also playing with Sigur Ros this summer and they’re doing lots of European dates so I might follow him around Europe – he’s playing a lot of great European concert halls.
What’s your inflight entertainment pick?
I use flights to catch up on films. I watched the musical Dear Evan Hansen on a flight, and I was unashamedly crying.
What’s your indispensable travel gadget?
I don’t think I have one. I always bring things like multi-socket gadgets but then never use them.