Hiawyn studied English and Drama in South Africa and worked as an advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time author. Since then, she’s had nearly 100 children’s books published in many languages across the world including picture books, poetry, plays, young fiction and story collections. The well-known TV series Mona the Vampire is based on her books with Sonia Holleyman. She’s also written the scripts and lyrics for two family musicals The Vackees and The Mermaid with music by Carl Davis.
Children’s TV includes development and scripts for the animated series, Sheep, Marvellous Milly, Wilf the Witch’s Dog and Big Cat, Little Cat. Her latest series of books, The Rumblewick Letters and Diaries, is about a cat with a witch called Haggy Aggy and a giant problem. All Haggy Aggy wants to do is shop, watch telly, wear pink, go to ballet school, start a girl band, become a celebrity chef and/or marry a handsome prince. And while she’s being anything and everything but a witch, who gets the blame? He does, of course, and all he can say is ‘Socks, socks, tadpoles in socks’ and ‘Why me?’
Prizes and awards include the Japanese Picture Book Award for Angry Arthur; the French Prix du Livre Interculturel for Just Like Us; the Experian Big 3 (6-8) for Just Dog; the UK Smarties shortlist for The Second Princess and the Red House shortlist for Mr Strongmouse and the Baby. Big Cat, Little Cat won the Tokyo Children’s Film Festival Award for Best Short Animated Film in 2002.
Hiawyn lives in London – without her now grown-up sons.
“I was so pleased to be asked to work on this show because, of all the things I do, writing musicals is my favourite. However, the theme ‘great inventions through history’ was challenging as it needed to be covered by only five songs. Where would I start? With the wheel, obviously, but then ...? There have been so many ingenious inventions down the ages; how could I choose the next four to sing about? In the end my research gave me the solution. The more I looked into it, the more I found that almost none of the so-called ‘great inventors’ had worked alone. They’d stood on the shoulders of others before them. And that’s where the basic idea behind the musical came from, namely, a group of inventors, some famous and some not so famous, arguing amongst themselves about who did what and when and whose work has contributed most to the way we live. Having a group of 21st-century children help settle the argument seemed the natural conclusion!”
Lin Marsh trained at Trinity College of Music and London University, later gaining an MA in Performance Arts at Middlesex University. She has worked extensively in music education and currently directs the Oxfordshire Youth Music Theatre.
Lin is also a composer and has written for BBC children’s programmes for both television and radio. She composed and directed the music for Where are the Children Now? as part of the Royal Opera House Education programme in December 1998 and works regularly with organisations such as the London Mozart Players, Birmingham Symphony Hall Education and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Her songbook series for schools, Songscape and Junior Songscape, are published by Faber Music. As a voice specialist, Lin works throughout the country running courses for teachers on singing, performance and composing skills and directs many choral festivals for all key stages. Lin works on many commissions for young people, composing both choral works and music theatre pieces, and has worked for the National Youth Music Theatre as a musical director for the production of Charlie in Buxton, Along Came Man, Song of the Earth, Brilliant the Dinosaur in Edinburgh and The Ballad of Salomon Pavey at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.
Lin is much in demand for vocal coaching linked to music theatre singing and works both in the UK and abroad with groups of teachers, choral societies and young performers. Her book The Show Must Go On! co-written with Wendy Cook is a handbook for teachers giving advice on music theatre skills and the process of rehearsal to performance. Their piece Torchbearers was selected as a finalist in the Vivian Ellis awards 2000.
Music by Kate Courage, Lin Marsh, Simon Rogers, Sarah Watts and Sheila Wilson
Title chosen by Rosemary Taylor-Mew and the Sing Up Club at St John’s CoE First and Middle School, Harrow.
The musical is all about the fantastic inventions that we use every day. Which gadget could you not live without? The phone? The computer? Paper? Take a journey with some great inventors as they visit a school and discuss the machines and mechanisms that have changed our world.
Audio and copyright information
Audion Information The performance track was recorded specially for the Sing Up programme by Cantamus Training Choir and the reprise performance track by the children's choir provided by Jam Theatre Company, with a backing track created by Ben Tompsett. The tracks were mixed and mastered by Ron Knights.
Copyright information All copyright music is used by permission. The songwriters and/or copyright holders have been remunerated under due licensing arrangements. Find out more about copyright by visiting UK Music and Copyright & Schools.