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Produced by tutti frutti

From Leeds, England

About the Company

Meet the most unusual duckling the pond has ever seen!


In their nest at the edge of a pond, the baby ducklings wait impatiently for Mummy’s enormous egg to hatch.  But their new brother doesn’t look like everyone else. He doesn’t even quack like a proper duckling!


Teased and called Ugly by his siblings, our hero goes on an adventure in search of a place to fit in. As the seasons change the woodland trees from dark weathered branches to silver sticks of frost, the lost and lonely fledgling meets a menagerie of mischievous animals…. But where does he really belong?

tutti frutti brings to life Hans Christian Andersen’s well known tale with a menagerie of mischievous animals, inventive physicality, and live music and songs that quack and trill. This charming production plays with the importance of identity, self-worth and takes us on a journey to discover inner beauty.

Best for: Grades K-5th (Ages 5-10 years)

Audience Size: Small, Medium, & Large  Venues

Please contact us to watch a full length archival recording.

Curriculum Connections

Curriculum Connections
  • Fine Arts: Performance, Sound Design, Music and Composition, Dance

  • Language Arts: Fairytales, Storytelling, Character, Adaptations, Creative Writing

  • Emotional/Social Development: Self-Awareness, Empathy, Respect for Others, Perspective-taking, Relationship Skills, Social Engagement, Relationship-building, Problem-solving, Resilience

Outreach & Workshops

With advance notice, tutti frutti is able to offer drama based workshops in your venue for students or children. Please contact us if this is something you'd like to explore.

“Relaxed” or “Sensory Friendly” Performances

This performance is also available as a “sensory friendly” or “relaxed” performance if arranged with the company in advance and with specific direction as to what adjustments are necessary for your venue.


Minimum Tech Requirements

  • Load In Time: 4 hours (if lighting pre rig is done)

  • Crew Needs: 2 technicians for load-in, focus, sound establishment, and load-out. 1 additional sound technician to operate radio mics.

  • Min. Stage Size: 20’ width x 20’ depth x 12’ height, no wing space required.

  • Sound Needs: 3 wireless mics

  • Load Out Time: 1 hour

Min Tech

Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Playwright: Emma Reeves

Director: tutti frutti’s Wendy Harris
Composer / Music Director: Tayo Akinbode
Movement:  Holly Irving
Design:  Catherine Chapman

The touring team will comprise 3 actor/musicians and a stage manager.

Critical Acclaim

Critical Acclaim

"The Ugly Duckling is a wonderful piece of children’s theatre, slickly executed and lovingly performed. It will keep little ones enthralled from its energetic opening to its cheeky cliff-hanger conclusion." -  Arts York

"Tutti frutti has gained an excellent reputation for delighting families with their shows, and this tradition continues with Ugly Duckling" - British Theatre Guide

"It isn’t how you look, it’s what you do,” is the mantra of Reeves’s play, and what you do in Ugly Duckling is find where you belong but also show appreciation for those who help you on that journey: one where you recognise the inner beauty in others, especially mothers with their unconditional love. No swanning off for Ugly! " - York Press

Company Background


Past tours: Underneath a Magical Moon


tutti frutti has been creating imaginative, visual and meaningful story-based theatre for children for over 25 years. We specialize in bringing fantastic, distinctive and carefully crafted shows to children aged 3+ and their families and teachers across the UK and the world.  We commission award-winning writers like Mike Kenny, Evan Placey and Emma Reeves to write new plays for children and adaptations of traditional stories.  Over the years we have delivered high quality touring productions and built an excellent reputation for inventive, creative and highly physical productions for children aged 3+ and their families.

In 2013 we started making in-roads into international touring. We have toured several times to Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland, performed Rapunzel at the Assitej World Congress in 2014 in Warsaw and Wild! at the IPAY Showcase in Madison, US in 2017. We were also juror selected to perform at the Assitej World Congress in Cape Town in 2017. In 2019 we completed our first USA tour with Underneath a Magical Moon by Mike Kenny.

Of recent we have created a series of 23 digital stories that spotlight books authored and created entirely by global majority and/or disabled writers. This has broadened the pool of artists we work with and going forward will increasingly enrich the work we make. We currently perform to around 37,000 children and their families giving over 250 performances per year.  Recent productions include Underneath a Magical Moon, Snow Queen, Wild!, Snow Child, Ugly Duckling and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.


For more information, please visit the company’s website.

Past Productions

Gallery of Past Productions

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