Music by Stephen Keeling

Book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna

Commissioned by Havu/Hitz


In 2003 Stephen and Shaun McKenna were commissioned to write a musical based upon the popular children's novel Heidi.

They started working on HEIDI after a trip to Switzerland to research the background to the story. The idea was to take the famous story of the little girl whose honesty transforms the lives of those around her and set it alongside the story of how the novel came to be written by Johanna Spyri (inspired by an idea by Stef Mens). HEIDI opened to rave reviews in Switzerland in 2005.


The show's combination of Johanna Spyri’s iconic story about the adventures of the forthright girl from the mountains with elements of Spyri’s own family life which caused her to write it was critically acclaimed. The musical is a family show full of colour and comedy, which appeals to children, yet which has more thoughtful elements for a grown up audience. The premiere was directed by Stefan Huber in a spectacular setting on the shores of Lake Walenstadt in the Alps, not far from the village of Maienfeld where the story is set. The multi-million pound production was produced by TSW Event AG with Sue Mathys as Johanna Spyri, Sabine Schadler-Heidi, Florian Schneider- the Grandfather, Patric Scott-Peter, Kerstin Makelburg-Rottenmeier and Alen Hodzovic as Bernhard. The show returned to Switzerland in 2006 and in Autumn of the same year a new production of HEIDI opened at the Anhaltisches Theater, Dessau, Germany which was also critically acclaimed (see below). The final performing version is licensed worldwide by Willem Metz Management and was recently workshopped in London. Click here to visit a page on the London Workshop of HEIDI. New German translation by Heiko Wohlgemuth.


When Johanna Spyri’s young son falls ill, all she can do to comfort him is tell him stories.  The story he most wants to hear, and helps to invent, is that of Heidi, the small Swiss girl who touches the lives of all around her – Peter the goat boy, her grumpy Grandfather and the villagers in the Alpine Dörfli.  When Heidi is whisked away to new adventures in Frankfurt with the wealthy but crippled Klara and the tyrannical Fräulein Rottenmeier, neither she nor Johanna is prepared for the dramatic twists her story will take.  Heidi is a fresh, funny, heartwarming family musical, a sparkling new version of a much loved classic tale.

Creative development by John Havu

From an idea by Stef Mens  Orchestrations by Stef Mens

Represented and licensed worldwide by Willem Metz Management 

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“A great musical” (Sarganserlander, Sargans)

“A very intelligent piece of entertainment”

(SuddentscheZeitung, Munich)

“It doesn’t get more emotional than this” (Blick, Zurich)

“Global and timeless” (Sonntags Blick, Zurich)

“The intertwining of the world famous story with the little known life

of Johanna Spyri has proven to be a coup” (SonntagsZeitung, Zurich)

“The show entranced the audience” (Neue Luzerner Zeitung, Lucerne)

“An uplifting and emotional musical” (Basler Zeitung Kulturmagazin)

Sonntags Blick, Zurich

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Click the links below to watch songs on YouTube

"Global and Timeless"



Listen to Dave Willetts perform 'Isn't Life Surprising' on SoundCloud!

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The history of the show

Heidi_4_normal heidi_detail_1_1296 Images from Walenstadt