The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo, foto: Urška Boljkovac
PUPPET MUSICAL. The Mouse heads for the woods to find a hazelnut. There the predators lie in wait for him. But he knows exactly what to do. To turn them away, he makes up a story about a Gruffalo. Apparently the Gruffalo adores foxes, owl ice cream with juice and roasted snakes. And yes, his Gruffalo is so dreadful that the Mouse becomes the most important animal in the forest. But if he really wants to get his breakfast, he has to deal with the Gruffalo as well. He suddenly finds the Mouse yummy himself. No way, that won’t be so easy, pal! The Gruffalo was in fact a very special creature, invented by the Mouse to frighten the other animals. And now he suddenly appears in flesh! Will the Mouse be resourceful enough to beat him as well?

The Gruffalo is a story full of twists, humour and great rhymes by the English novelist and poet Julia Donaldson. In our theatre it came to life under the direction of Jaka Ivanc, as translated and adapted by the poet Milan Dekleva. In addition to the exciting story on how to overcome fear, we are thus to experience a real musical with songs, aiming to become as popular as the story of the Gruffalo itself.

The performance Zverjasec (The Gruffalo) is based on the picture book Zverjasec (The Gruffalo), © illustrations by Axel Scheffler (1999), © text by Julia Donaldson, published by Macmillan Children’s Books, London, and the Slovenian publisher Mladinska knjiga(2010).

--> The Gruffalo is an international publishing phenomenon. Since March 1999, when the picture book by the English writer Julia Donaldson and the German illustrator Axl Scheffler was first offered to the young readers, it was sold in more than four million copies worldwide. In 2004, its authors released its successful sequel - The Gruffalo's Son.

  • Before you see the performance, leaf through the picture book The Gruffalo and then compare it with its staged version.

  • The performance is defined as a puppet musical. Introduce this genre to the other children and describe its main features (a lot of music, songs, rhymes, good humour and dynamism).

  • Describe the characters of Fox, Snake, Owl and Little Mouse that have appeared in the performance.

  • Talk about fear. Why are we afraid? What do we do then? When fear is welcome and when unwanted?

  • Discuss the puppets you saw in the performance. How did they look like, how did they move around the stage and what kind of atmosphere did they create?

  • Define the places in the performance, where the songs were sung.

  • Try to write a short song in rhyme yourselves.


The Gruffalo is an enchanting fairy tale, characterised by numerous dramatic twists and turns, strong feelings and rich imagination. Its puppet version draws the child into an interlacement of real and fantasy world, in which he or she is able to get to know and experience its heroes' characters and behavioural characteristics - for example, the frightened but courageous Little Mouse or the smart and self-confident Owl. It also adopts different social roles, conjuring up in its imagination the images of the eccentric and horrible Gruffalo, who at the end turns out to be just a kind and naive giant.

Premiere: 18.04.2013

Director: Jaka Ivanc
Author: Julia Donaldson - Milan Dekleva
Dramatization: Milan Dekleva
Dramaturgy: Andrej Jaklič
Artistic and set design: Natan Esku
Music: Davor Herceg
Performers: Gašper Malnar, Brane Vižintin / Iztok Lužar, Martina Maurič Lazar, Lovro Finžgar
Language coaching: Tatjana Stanič
Lighting design: Kristjan Vidner
Assistant director: Brane Vižintin
Puppet technology: Mitja Ritmanič
Producent: Ana Rokvić Pinterič
Head of performance and sound designer: Izidor Kozelj
Lighting technician: Matej Vidic
Stage technician: Iztok Vrhovnik, Milan Škrbič
Puppets and sets: Tiziana Alberton, Iztok Bobić, Anna Bailey, Sandra Birjukov, Sarah Brown, Natan Esku Richard Maasarani, Zoran Srdić, Jernej Remše, Mitja Ritmanič, Marjeta Valjavec, Delo osvobaja d.o.o.