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Kat Kleve - Tink Interview

Did you know fairies are born big? They were never intended to be such tiny little creatures. That’s not supposed to be their destiny.

Tink was a big, brilliant young fairy until one day, in a tragic cliché, Tink began to shrink.

Performed by Kat Kleve, directed by Lizzy Connolly, and co-created by the pair - book by Lizzy Connolly and music by Kat Kleve - Tink is a nostalgic, uplifting musical monologue that tackles the modern experience of being female and the societal pressures that come with navigating from child to tween to teen to adult.

Tink isn’t a retelling of Peter Pan, or “an origin story of Tinker Bell”. This is an imperfect, messy ‘female gaze fairy tale’ in all its ugly glory. The play leads audiences through the story of one shrinking fairy on the path to one crucial question: Why do so many girls who start powerful, unfiltered, big, bold, loud and without prejudice or shame, begin to shrink just as they should be growing?

Why are the only female characters in ‘Peter Pan’ (Tinker Bell and Wendy) pitted against each other for Peter Pan’s affection? Why can’t both shine? And why do we see this misogynistic narrative played out over and over in modern media? Britney versus Christina, Meghan versus Kate. Hailey versus Selena.

Photo by Michael Wharley

Ahead of the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe I speak with Kat Kleve to discuss the show.

What inspired you to write Tink? 
Lizzy Connolly (co-writer and director) and I were having a discussion about our experiences growing up and what we were like as kids compared to how we are today. What our friendships were like and the things people have said to us over the years that have really stuck in our memories. We were talking about how young kids can be so amazingly confident without an inch of self-doubt and why is it that most of us don’t continue to be like this as adults.We let the things people do and say to us hold us back and in turn we end up dimming our own light even more until, all of a sudden, we can turn around as an adult and be like, “Hold on. What am I doing? This is not who I set out to be! 

Did you have to do any research whilst you were writing the production? 
Yes… I did some research into my old diary entriesI read some of them from when I was in primary school, which were hilarious and also so embarrassing. I’m cringing even thinking about them. They took me right back to when I was little and I remember those moments and big feelings so viscerally still.
After a run in Bristol, the show heads to Edinburgh FringeHave you approached the show any differently for this run? 
It’s been so nice to have had a successful run of the show already before we take it to The Fringe, so this time we’ve been able to work on the finer details and hone it in a different way than before. Having done it in front of a few different audiences, we know now what works and what we want to change so that’s been a helpful step in the show’s development.
How did you approach using the familiar character of Tink and crafting it into the story and show you have today? 
In this story, our ‘Tink’ is a different character from the Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. She’s a new modern fairy who doesn’t understand why Tinkerbell gave all her power away and shrunk herself to be so small. She vows to write her own story, which will be the total opposite, but slowly and surely as life happens to her, her journey ends up following a similar narrative to Tinkerbell’s. 

Photo by Michael Wharley

What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing the show?
I’d love our audience members to come away feeling inspired for their own journeys, to reignite the fire that may have gone out inside of them somehow, and to embrace the confidence and shine that they were always meant to have.
What performances/shows have inspired you? 
There are so many shows and creatives that inspire us and elements of these have naturally flowed into the style of the piece. The comedic and subtle observations of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s ‘Fleabag’, the guttural honesty of Michaela Coel’s ‘I May Destroy You’, and the energy and rawness of music in productions such as ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour.’

Can you describe the show in 3 words? 
Hilarious, moving and uplifting!
Tink will be performed at the Edinburgh Festival at 12.55pm in Underbelly Bristo Square (Clover) from 2nd – 20th August. To book, visit

Photo by Michael Wharley

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