Ian Billings

Ian Billings

Ian Billings
Ian Billings

Ian is the veteran of 50 pantomimes having written, directed and appeared with Frankie Howerd, Sylvester McCoy, Brian Cant, Bernie Clifton, Julie Goodyear, Little and Large, Cannon and Ball and Timmy Mallett. Sometimes clocking up four or five pantos a year in various posts. His scripts have been performed in venues as diverse as Theatre Royal, Nottingham, the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton and Harwich Docks. For eight years he was resident director, writer and performer here at the Place Theatre, Telford.

His career began as a technician at the legendary Theatre Royal in Hanley and after a summer season at Butlins', Ian graduated to street entertainer and juggler at Alton Towers. You can see his picture in the Ladybird Book of Discovering Alton Towers!

As a script writer, Ian has penned episodes of the hugely successful CBBC TV show, “ChuckleVision”, and almost wrote for the Teletubbies. He has written four national children’s theatre tours with his adaptations of “Pinocchio”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Wind in the Willows”, and “The Tales of Hans Andersen.” 

In 2000, Ian achieved a Master’s Degree in Playwriting at the University of Birmingham under the tutelage of Tony Award winning playwright, David Edgar. During which he met playwright Stephanie Dale and together they established the Theatre-in-Education Company, “Theatre Works”, and co-wrote a radio play about the pointillist painter, George Seurat, for BBC Radio.

Ian is also a children’s author and has now 23 books to his credit including “Sam Hawkins and the Cutglass Cutlass”, “Sam Hawkins and the Pointy Head Lighthouse”, “Mermaid Stories”, “Pirate Stories”, “Ballet Stories” for publishing giant Macmillan. “Chocolate Meltdown”, “Space Rocks” for Caboodle Books, “CORGI and the Pursuit of the Prince’s Pants” for Fiction Express and “Revolting Little Characters”, “Billy Plonka and the Grot Laboratory”, “Chickens in Art” and “Snot Monster” for Tiddley Pom Books. The first Sam Hawkins books was released as an audio book by the BBC. Ian also edited the charity poetry anthology, “Born to Giggle”, a collection of the best children’s poets and cartoonists in the country, raising over £10,000 for Save the Children.

In 2007 launched his career as a stand-up comic for kids at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (whilst also presenting his own kid’s radio show on Festival FM!) and this year sees a return to the festival to celebrate his tenth anniversary.  In 2016 Ian was honoured to be amongst the largest cast of the longest show ever presented at the Edinburgh Fringe when he took part in the reading of all eleven volumes of the Chilcott Report.

The stand-up show (combined with book signing tours) has taken Ian around the world including visits to countries such as Australia, Germany, Cyrus, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, Switzerland, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei where he performed for the Sultan’s grandsons.

As an educationalist, Ian has performed and delivered literacy workshops into 3,500 schools and for eleven years ran the Wolverhampton, Stafford and Telford branches of Stagecoach Theatre School, being at the time, youngest Principal in the school’s history.

With Storymouse publications,  Ian is content provider for the iPhone Apps version of his book “Space Rocks” plus “Jack Horner, Rhyme Squad”, “Animal Limericks’, “World Limericks” and “Food Limericks” with poet and cartoonist, Chris White.

So far in 2017 he has released two new books as part of the “That’s Your Story” schools project, written and produced an Arts Council funded audio version of “That’s Your Story”, been visiting author at the Copenhagen International School, performed stand-up to 1,000 children at the Leicester Tigers Stadium, voiced the audio book “Hello, Monster” by American author Adelina Hill, been guest speaker at the Birmingham Literature Festival, voiced various training videos for Bosch Boilers, returned to the Edinburgh Festival and written “Santa’s Invitation” for Lollipop Theatre in Dubai.

Future projects include an oratorio as part of the “That’s Your Story” scheme of projects and a new book of horror poems for Tiddley Pom books.

Ian’s play “Spike and the Elfin Oak”, about an incident in the life of comedian Spike Milligan, was recently broadcast by BBC Radio Four.