PLAYS - Historical


Roundabout Thornaby

This play was commissioned by Stockton Borough Council, to be performed at Bader Primary School, to commemorate the part played by Thornaby Aerodrome in World War II and to coincide with the erection of a sculpture (a replica Spitfire) with which Stockton Borough Council wished to mark Thornaby's role in World War II.

have broadened the scope somewhat to illustrate events in Thornaby's history, but a large part of the play deals with wartime events. All of the stories and characters are based on historical research. Although primarily of interest to schools in the Stockton area of North East England, the play deals with many important events in England's history: - the Roman occupation, The Crusades, the industrialisation of England and World War II.

Age Range: 8-11 years

Duration: 1 hour

Cast: 20-30

Number of Songs: 7

Prices:

£9.99 Copy of the script

£4.99 CD of songs

£15.00 Piano score

Samples:

Song: What Have We Done to Deserve This?

A song after an air-raid

Scene 1 Sample

Part of Scene 1 - where the four main characters discuss their homework assignment

A play by Robert Smith

A Park Supreme

A play about Sir Robert Ropner, Victorian philanthropist

In 1857, a young man, aged almost 20, his head full of romantic dreams of a life on the high seas, wangles himself a job on board a freighter in Hamburg. The ship is bound for England. After an horrendous crossing of the North Sea the young man is thrown off the ship in Hartlepool, and he vows never to go near the sea again. He does not speak a word of English, and probably finds refuge in the Seaman's Mission. By 1875, he had formed the shipping company Robert Ropner & Co. which became one of the biggest and most successful shipbuilding and trading companies in England. He was knighted in 1902 and made a baronet in 1904.

Having become a rich and successful businessman, Sir Robert bought a parcel of land in Stockton-on-Tees which he gave to the Council."I think that a Park for a town like ours is most desirable, if not absolutely necessary, and I have, therefore, much pleasure in offering to pay the cost of the ground now under consideration, provided the Council will undertake to lay it out tastefully and keep it up forever."

A Park Supreme tells of the astonishing but entirely true story of Sir Robert Ropner (1838 - 1924). It is a remarkable historical tale of endeavour, enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit with echoes and repercussions in the present day. Ropner Park fell into decline, but recently Stockton Borough Council's Parks Department have applied successfully to the Lottery Commission to restore the Park to its Victorian splendour. So Sir Robert's dream of a place for the population of his town to play and relax is assured.

This play was commissioned by Hartburn Primary school in Stockton-on-Tees. It has 4 excellent songs to illustrate and underscore the action on stage. It was first performed in April 2005.

Although this play is of local interest to schools and drama clubs in the North East of England, reading and performing this play will help to fulfil the following National Curriculum Programmes of Study for History in Key Stage 2:-

Chronological understanding

Pupils should be taught to: place events, people and changes into correct periods of time,

Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past

2) Pupils should be taught:
about characteristic features of the periods and societies studied, including the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of men, women and children in the past about the social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of the societies studied, in Britain and the wider world to identify and describe reasons for, and results of, historical events, situations, and changes in the periods studied to describe and make links between the main events, situations and changes within and across the different periods and societies studied.

British history
8) In their study of British history, pupils should be taught about: the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings; Britain and the wider world in Tudor times; and either Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930

Age Range: 9-11 years

Duration: 1 hour

Cast: 30-70

Number of Songs: 4

Prices:

£9.99 Copy of the script

£4.99 CD of songs

£10.00 Piano score

Samples:

Build more ships

Mr Ropner, faced with losses on the high seas, decides to be bold!

Scene sample

The Ballad of Robin Hood

The legend of Robin Hood and his brave band brought to life for 9, 10 & 11 year old children to perform.

As in my St George play, a troupe of players arrive in a town to put on their new play. However the crowd wants its old favourite and the troupe are forced to relent and perform The Ballad of Robin Hood.

Cast numbers are flexible - if you have a small group it's perfectly acceptable to have actors playing several parts, but if you have large numbers to accommodate, there are numerous roles.

There is also a wide range of difficulty to accommodate actors of different abilities - several one or two line parts as well as longer, more demanding roles.

Most of the dialogue is written in rhyme to aid memory and give rhythm to the speech.

The play covers several of the stories of Robin Hood - how he came to be an outlaw; his battles with the Sheriff of Nottingham; how Little John came to join his band; his love for Maid Marion and his death at the hands of the Abbess of Kirklees.

There is plenty of humour, action and, ultimately, sadness when Robin meets his doom. However, in an epilogue we are reminded that this is a travelling troupe of actors and the story will be re-enacted time and time again.

Finally, there are 6 original easy-to-learn-and-sing songs to complement the action and further demonstrate the talents of your cast.

Age Range: 9-11 years

Duration: 40 minutes

Cast: 15-40

Number of Songs: 6

Prices:

£9.99 Copy of the script

£9.99 CD of songs

£15.00 Piano score

Samples:

Mr and Mrs Hood

The show finale from The Ballad of Robin Hood

Robin Hood Scene Sample

Sample script from Scene 3 of The ballad of Robin Hood

A play by Robert Smith

The Ballad of St George

This play for older Juniors, (9,10 and 11 year olds) uses the model of a mystery or mummers' play, in that a band of roving minstrels and actors come to a village or town to perform their play. They start off offering a new play, about Robin Hood, but the crowd shout them down and demand their old favourite - the story of Saint George. The players reluctantly agree and perform The Ballad of Saint George.

The play is based loosely on historical information, involving George's Christian beliefs, the conflict that arose between him and the Emperor Diocletian, and, of course the legendary fight with the Dragon.

Written entirely in rhyme, with original songs to illustrate and complement the action, the play is ideal for children who are making a start in drama. There are many parts involving no more than one or two lines, and parts for George, the Emperor, the Dragon which are more demanding, so the play appeals to a mixed ability group (of between 15 and 40 members), where everyone can take part. It has lots of humour, it can be adapted and customised for the location of the performance and it also gives performers the chance to learn about St George and the facts(?) behind the legend. It also has a happy ending!

I have written a show-stopping song, 'Dig a Little Deeper' guaranteed to appeal to your cast and audience and, if you have a collection at the end, your boxes, plates or hats will be filled to overflowing!

Comments

"Thank you so much for your speedy delivery of CD/scores/lyrics etc. The songs are great and just what I was looking for. "

Lisa Primary School head of music Edinburgh April 2008

Comments

"I was able to use The Ballad of Bold St George as part of our Y6 drama syllabus, in the section about theatre history. It worked wonderfully and kept three groups happy and actively involved. I hope more teachers feel encouraged to use Robert Smith's excellent scripts for drama lessons as well as performance"

Stephen Baird (Junior King's School, Canterbury) Spring 2007

Comments

"Just to let you know that we performed The Ballad of St George last night. The children made up their own dances for the soldiers and three girls did a dance when the tune was playing for the dragon song. The play was received really well by the audience and the children enjoyed performing it."

Many thanks. Bucknall School Lincolnshire 17/7/7

Comments

"The Medieval Festival was a huge success! On behalf of everyone who attended and the Medieval Festival Committee, we wish to send an enormous THANK YOU!! The "Ballad of St. George" (play) was a huge hit with the children and the audience."

November 16th 2004

Comments

"Kind foreign playwright Robert Smith wrote a most excellent play entitled St. George's Ballad......... the play was a great success - so great a success in fact that the actors and actresses......received a great stomping of feet."

Rev. John Sovereign November 2004

Comments

"Firstly thank you for writing such brilliant plays! We performed the Ballad of St George on Tuesday night and it was such a success. Not only did the children (34 Yr 3) love performing it but the adults were amazed. Your script was so funny and the songs were perfect, we look forward to performing more of your works in years to come."

Head of Music, Independent Prep School SW London 2006

Comments

"We performed your Ballad of Bold St George in the summer, which was a wonderful play and performed by pupils from 4 - 11. They really enjoyed the play, in particular they loved "I'm a Roman Soldier" so I thought I would try another of your plays. Could you send me the play and CD of songs for the Snow Queen"

Jill Woollands Elsecar Holy Trinity CE School Barnsley Nov 2007

Age Range: 9-11 years

Duration: 40 minutes

Cast: 15 or more

Number of Songs: 6

Prices:

£9.99 Copy of the script

£4.99 CD of songs

£15.00 Piano score

Samples:

I'm a Roman Soldier

My favourite song from the play!

Scene 5

Sample scene from the play

Thomas Moon's Last Crime -

Victorian crime and punishment

This play was written for a class of 32 eleven year old children when the school at which I was working was holding a 'Victorian Day'. My class's contribution was on the theme of 'Law and Order' in Victorian society. Rather than produce a static display detailing the development of the police force, and crime and punishment, I decided to undertake some research about local villains and the justice they were dealt.

In the records of the Magistrates courts in the early 1800s, I found one name kept cropping up, one Edward Kenward esquire, who owned a large chicken farm, and many young men attempted to deprive him of a fowl or two. As the birds roosted in the trees overnight, anyone with a head for heights and sense of adventure could slip out after dark, shin up a tree and grab a supper. Many men tried it and many were caught, because Mr Kenward employed bailiffs to patrol the woods and capture any poachers

Thomas Moon and Henry Worley were two such vagabonds, and in 1837 they indeed were trapped, red-handed, Moon up the tree, Worley at the foot. Mr Worley immediately said "it's a fair cop guv" but Moon tried to make a run for it. He was unsuccessful, and they were charged and found guilty of stealing two chickens and six eggs, for which they were sentenced to deportation to Australia!

The play centres on these facts, but employs artistic licence to fill out the characters in this sad story. It has songs and lots of action and was very successful with the children who performed it, and with the audience.

Incidentally, there are still several Moons, Worleys and Kenwards in the town where we performed the play, and the present day Mr Kenward, when told this story, was very proud to show me a set of ancient handcuffs handed down from one of his forbears. With them was a book issued to magistrates detailing crimes and the appropriate punishments.

Comments

"We performed Thomas Moon's Last Crime last week and it was incredibly successful. The children enjoyed taking part and the parents enjoyed watching. We used 71 children so we padded out the pub scene and the last scene at the docks."

Hartburn Primary School NE England

Age Range: 9-11 years

Duration: 40 minutes

Cast: 12 or more

Number of Songs: 6

Prices:

£9.99 Copy of the script

£4.99 CD of songs

£15.00 Piano Score

Samples:

A Rascals Song

Thomas gives a short summary of his life.

Scene sample

The first two scenes from Thomas Moon


A play by Robert Smith

One and Eight a Day

This play, commissioned by Ringmer Community College, formed part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. Entitled 'One and Eight A Day' the play is set in 1830 and centres round events known as 'The Swing Riots' - uprisings in the south by labouring men, protesting against poor pay and working conditions.

Their main technique of revolt was to set fire to hayricks and barns and destroy threshing machines. Before such actions were undertaken, a letter would be sent to the farmer or landowner, demanding better wages and an end to threshing machines. Mayhem would ensue if these demands were not met. Such letters were signed 'Captain Swing' - supposedly after the action of men threshing the corn with their flails.

I have titled the play 'One and Eight A Day' as this is the daily rate which labourers in Ringmer in East Sussex were paid and about which they were incensed. They demanded 2/6 a day. Some historians believe this dissatisfaction with their pay to be the underlying and main reason for all the revolts.

My play starts in Jamaica. A private in the army is accused and found guilty of cowardice. He is flogged and drummed out of the regiment. He vows revenge on the sergeant he believes is responsible for his punishment.

Once the sergeant has left the army, he goes back to Sussex to find work on the land. There he is followed by Private Ford who sets about plotting Sergeant Wells's downfall.

Towards the end of the play, Mr Wells has been 'set up' and accused of intended arson. The song 'Send Him Down' deals with the whole court scene in one go. As each accuser levels his charge against our hero, he responds by pleading his innocence.

In Sussex alone, 9 men were sentenced to death, and over three hundred sentenced to deportation following the 'Swing Riots', yet this violent and fairly recent part of our history is not widely known. The play received its premiere on 9th July 2008.

Age Range: 15-16 years

Duration: Approx 90 minutes

Cast: 30+

Number of Songs: 7

Prices:

Please enquire Copy of the script

Please enquire CD of songs

Please enquire Piano score

Samples:

Send him Down (mp3) The Court Scene