Timothy Knapman portrait

About Tim

Timothy Knapman studied history at Oxford. Since then, he has spent his time writing plays, musicals, songs, operas and children’s books. 

He has written over 60 books, including the best-selling Dinosaurs in the Supermarket and its sequels, Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates and its sequels, Time Now To Dream, Soon, Sir Dancealot, Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes and Superhero Dad, Mum and Gran.  They have been illustrated by a host of wonderful artists, including Helen Oxenbury, Patrick Benson, Sarah Warburton, Adam Stower, Russell Ayto, Joe Berger, Ada Grey, Laura Hughes, Nikki Dyson, David Tazzyman and many more.  The books have been translated into 20 languages and have been read on CBeebies Bedtime Stories by Hugh Bonneville, Jenny Agutter, Dennis Lawson, Adrian Lester, Harriet Walter, Tanni Grey-Thompson and many others. Tim has also written for CBeebies’ Driver Dan’s Story Train.

In May 2015, Tim and Laurence Mark Wythe won a competition organised by Perfect Pitch Musicals and Made in Corby to write a brand new musical for the town of Corby in Northamptonshire.  Their winning entry, Danny Hero, was performed at the Core theatre in Corby in Autumn 2016 to much acclaim. Reimagined as Danni Hero, it is now licensed by Broadway Licensing. Their show Midnight ran at the Union Theatre in London and is produced every year in Seoul, South Korea with great success.  In 2019, Growl: The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf was performed by the National Youth Music Theatre.

With Stuart Matthew Price, Tim wrote the musical love story Before After, which was showcased at the St James Theatre Studio in September 2014, starring Hadley Fraser and Caroline Sheen.  The show’s world premiere was at Musical-za in Tokyo the following November, and it was performed there for many years. In September 2020, a rehearsed reading was live-streamed from the Southwark Playhouse in London, starring Hadley Fraser and Rosalie Craig.  Thousands of people from 44 countries watched it, and #BeforeAfterUK trended on Twitter.  A Dutch production by Oatmilk Studio opened in Autumn 2022. In summer 2017, the NYMT presented Tim and Stuart’s new musical, Imaginary, to great acclaim. Imaginary is licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

With Alex Silverman and Ed Jaspers, Tim wrote Hamlet! The Musical, which was a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and won the WhatsOnStage.com Theatregoers’ Choice award for Best Musical. A full-length production played at the Royal & Derngate Northampton and the Richmond Theatre in 2011 (“absurdly clever… there is wit, as well as silliness, in the lyrics… very funny” Guardian). 

The Stage called his play, The Stag King, a “darkly magical… and imaginative show, which both challenges and enchants” and UK Theatre Web hailed his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (directed by Charlotte Conquest): “This is what theatre should be, inventive, witty and filled with great storytelling”. 

With the director and dramaturg Simon Greiff of SimG Productions, Tim helped mentor Oliva Tweest, the world’s first Afrobeats musical.

He has often worked as librettist for the world-famous vocal group I Fagiolini. His work for them and others has been performed in the UK and across the world, with premières at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Cheltenham Festival, the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, the Holywell Music Room and the Dartington International Summer School.  He has worked with composers Orlando Gough, Roderick Williams and Richard Peat, and in 2016 the I Fagiolini commission Le Moliere Imaginaire, with music by Andrew Schultz, won the Australian Art Music Award for Vocal/Choral Work of the Year.

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment commissioned Tim to write a poem in celebration of its 21st birthday. The poem was performed by Simon Callow at the Royal Festival Hall. In 2023, Tim wrote a song with Bob Chilcott in celebration of Harry Christophers, founder of The Sixteen.

Tim has also script edited and written a series of history films for the National Archives’ 2022/3 exhibition Treason: People, Power and Plot, and wrote the film that accompanies its 2024 exhibition Great Escapes.

Tim has appeared on Radio 3’s In Tune and his work has been featured on Classical Collection and The Choir with Aled Jones. 

Tim has done more than 100 events and readings in schools, colleges, bookshops, fairs, libraries, at the Chiswick Festival, the Oundle Festival, the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, the Faber Academy, Broadway Training Center, the National Maritime Museum, the English-Speaking Union, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Roald Dahl and Discover Story Centres, as well as having been a visiting lecturer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Roehampton University.

His hobbies include swashbuckling.

Picture: Marc Harvey