The popular animation classic Tinga Tinga Tales, a Kenyan-British television series aimed at children aged four to six, is shown on the CBeebies and Disney Junior channels. Using music, dialogue and colourful imagery, it tells African folk tales about the origins of animals. With the slogan “Tinga Tinga is the land of Why”, the show answers questions all children have probably asked at some point, such as “Why do monkeys swing in the trees?” and “Why do flamingos stand on one leg?”
The musical adaptation of the well-loved television show will follow the same format. The musical will consist of African folklore, storytelling and live music, written and directed by multi-Bafta award winner Claudia Lloyd, Kenyan celebrity pop singer and songwriter Eric Wainaina (Mo Faya, New York Theatre Festival), who also plays the role of Monkey, choreographed by Coach Edu and produced by Sheba Hirst.
‘’We are totally thrilled to be bringing Tinga Tales – the Musical back. This time it’s bigger and better than ever! Taking the show to New York and celebrating Kenya – Kenyan talent, Kenyan culture, Kenyan wildlife and Kenya the country – is simply the cherry on top of the cake. The Tinga Troupe will also introduce Benji the Brave Bongo, the icon of Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, to a host of children around the world to help save animals and campaign for conservation,” producer and writer Claudia Lloyd said in a statement.
Bringing the characters to life are established thespians such as John Sibi-Okumu, Eric Wainaina, Iddi Achieng and Elsaphan Njora. Also featured are Eddie Kimani, Alvan Gatitu, Ray Kibet, Miriam Macharia, Kendi Nkonge and Karimi Wamae Rimbui. The show’s band includes Benjamin Kabaseke, Victor Kimetto, Marvin Maveke, Ted Mwangi, Tetu Shani and Chris Adwar.
Tinga Rain Productions, the musical’s producers, have signed a two-week run, from 13 to 21 October 2018, at the New Victory Theatre. This is New York City’s first and only full-time performing arts theatre for children and their families.
“The New Victory Theatre looks for the best family-friendly productions from around the world, and this year we were fortunate and privileged to be called upon,” said theatrical producer Sheba Hirst.