An Adventure with Peppa Pig: Emily Killian on playing the beloved children’s character

Anyone who has spent any time around young children in the last few years will be familiar with the phenomenon that is Peppa Pig. The animated pig and her lovable cast of family and friends delight kids around the world. Now the British sensation can be seen in the flesh in a brand new live show, Peppa Pig’s Adventure, visiting Philadelphia September 22, 2019, on a 50-city national tour.

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Photo by Dan Tsantilis.

Phindie: What was your exposure to Peppa Pig before being cast in the show? Have you binge-watched since?

Emily Killian: My brother and I discovered Peppa when we were in college and just fell in love immediately. We spent many a night going down the YouTube rabbit hole just watching episodes and laughing. Peppa is so binge-able! Of course once I got cast I’d download YouTube videos, watch endless episodes, and laugh the whole time. All in the name of research…

Emily Killian.

Emily Killian.

Phindie: Why do you think Peppa Pig resonates with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic?

Emily Killian: Part of the charm of Peppa is the visual world that Mark and Neville created. It’s bright, it’s simple, it’s cheery and exciting without being overwhelming. There’s something almost calming about Peppa’s world, so even when she’s getting into an adventure, we feel safe watching it.

Beyond the visual world, I think show’s balance is one of its strokes of genius. Peppa isn’t the “sugar and spice and everything nice” little girl we have been used to seeing on TV as kids. She’s boisterous and confident, even a little bossy. She really is a force. But what the show does so well is balance her often imperiousness with characters like Daddy Pig: just a jolly overgrown kid who tries his best at everything he does, even when his best isn’t very good! The show gives us so many shades of human nature within this world, but in a gentle and even-handed way that feels positive, comfortable, and downright fun!

Phindie: What’s the biggest challenge in playing such a beloved character?

Emily Killian: The biggest obstacle for a role like this has been my own worries about taking on such an iconic character. Peppa has a very distinct voice, and we found in rehearsals that it’s not one that translates to the stage very well. So I knew pretty early on I’d have to adjust my voice and I was worried audiences would be disappointed it didn’t sound exactly like the Peppa in the animated series. But my amazing director, Richard Lewis, said it’s more important to have the essence of Peppa and a voice that fits in the show—a little higher energy than the voice that we’ve come to love in the animated series. So once I knew I was being asked to focus on her essence, I was able to find a Peppa voice that takes her 4-year-old confidence, British sensibility, and a touch of good-natured bossiness, and mix it all together to make what you’ll hear in the show!

Phindie: What are you most looking forward to on the tour?

Emily Killian: We are going everywhere! Ok not EVERYWHERE, but we are in a different city in America nearly every single night for almost 3 months so… it’s a whirlwind. I am most excited to spend time with my castmates (because they’re the actual best), to perform on amazing stages like the Grand Old Opry, and to see parts of America I probably would never get a chance to see otherwise. On our day off this week a group of us from the cast and crew went and got super soaked at Niagara Falls, so I’m excited about experiencing our beautiful country even more in the months to come.

[The MetPhiladelphia, 858 N. Broad Street] September 22, 2019; peppapigliveus.com

See a full lineup of shows and dates at peppapigliveus.com

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.