Globe columnist Peter Grant meets Danielle Bird who is flying into the Liverpool Playhouse for the smash hit show The Worst Witch.

Years before Harry Potter arrived on the scene there was a very popular sorcerer called Mildred Hubble who attended the Miss Cackles Academy for Witches.

Author Jill Murphy came up with her Worst Witch franchise in 1974 since then there have been eight spell- binding novels (selling five million copies across the world), a television film and a CBBC series and it is now is part of Netflix International.

Now we have the stunning stage show.

Multi-skilled actress, puppeteer and storyteller Danielle Bird is playing the heroine Mildred in an all-female cast.

Gwent-born Danielle tells the Globe: "It works on two levels: the visual and narrative adventure for children and the nostalgia for adults who remember the original.

"All over the country the children really get involved and they invest in my accident-prone character of the clumsy but kind and big-hearted Mildred who is an ordinary girl in an extraordinary situation.

"She has to deal with the snobby, bullying Ethel Hallow.

"The moral of the adaptation by Emma Reeves is that you should be yourself and believe in what you can achieve."

Wirral Globe:

The cast of The Worst Witch (Picture: Manuel Harlan)

Taking a break in performances in Birmingham, Danielle says the whole tour has been very rewarding because children have lapped up every element of the production which, in over two hours and twenty minutes, is packed with surprises.

She adds: "We have acrobatic aerial scenes, real magic illusions, comedy, cat puppets and a fantastic live three-piece band with original songs.

"I have only been to Liverpool once before with the Young Shakespeare Company and I remember how responsive the schools were for drama. They were hungry for theatre and immersed themselves in it all and that is a memory I have so they should enjoy this show.

"There is a very strong twist in this touring production which features a play-within- a play. Audiences get a lot out of it – good versus bad."

Although the schedule is tight, Danielle loves to go sight-seeing and is making a list of things to do while on Merseyside including a ferry cruise across the Mersey.

Danielle, who has a twin sister Nichole who is also an actress, says the talented two-some are hoping to work together on a project in the future.

For now, Danielle is looking forward to the last week of The Worst Witch UK Tour bowing out in Liverpool. But she points out that isn’t the last we will hear of the hit show.

Danielle says: "We do make a couple of references to Harry Potter in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way.

"The Worst Witch was certainly popular years before Hogwarts."

After a spell in Liverpool the company are excited about a stage production called West End Live in Trafalgar Square on June 22 and 23.

Then it’s into the Vaudeville Theatre for 60 shows.

Says Danielle dusting down her broom: "Please do tell Globe readers this is the last chance to see the show before its West End run.

"Come along and help Mildred save the day."

The Worst Witch at The Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday, May 28 to Saturday, June 1.

Tickets are available by calling the box office on 0151 709 4776 or via