Four Short Plays for Young People
by Rachel Barnett
An entertaining collection of new short plays by popular children’s playwright Rachel Barnett.
Specially commissioned for young people, these plays are a great resource for schools, colleges and youth theatres.
With contemporary themes and a wide variety of roles, this is a collection which enables young people to engage with serious topics while enjoying all the fun of performance.
“It’s never easy to find inclusive, meaty plays suitable for youth theatres or schools so this contribution from well-established children’s playwright Rachel Barnett (whose adaptation of Gorilla is currently enjoying a revival at Polka Theatre) is very welcome. Rocketfuel is a nicely balanced piece about risk taking and boundaries commissioned for gap year students to perform in secondary schools. LOL: Laughing Out Loud, Crying Insideis about cyberbullying and the role of bystanders, intended for performance to 11-14-year-olds by slightly older students. Three Shoes and Noah make up the quartet. All four plays are fine, thoughtful pieces likely to inspire discussion. Commissioned and successful in their original settings, they are now being made available for more widespread use.” Susan Elkin, The Stage
“An entertaining collection of new short plays by popular children’s playwright Rachel Barnett. Specially commissioned for young people, these plays are a great resource for schools, colleges and youth theatres. With contemporary themes and a wide variety of roles, this is a collection which enables young people to engage with serious topics while enjoying all the fun of performance.” Theatre for Young Audiences
“Rachel Barnett’s excellent play texts give voice to the concerns of young people, exploring options for dealing with the pressures of teenage life. Her production of Noah, which was performed by our Youth Theatre in 2012, was a gem of a show and makes you wonder why schools are still performing musicals and pantos when there is new writing of this standard out there.” Jonathan Church, Artistic Director, Chichester Festival Theatre
LOL: Laughing Out Loud, Crying Inside: This is a play about bullying and bystanding, exploring the complex new world of cyber-bullying and internet trolling.
“With the tragic consequences of cyberbullying being seen regularly in the media it is important that students are educated about the impact of their actions and the law surrounding this crime. LOL is a script I will return to again and again.” Year 10 teacher
Rocketfuel: A forum-theatre play about peer pressure, making responsible choices about drinking and looking after your friends.
“Every child in my class was so absorbed in the play. You seem to have really hit the message home to them. A fantastic starting point for the rest of the year’s PSHE curriculum.” Year 8 Teacher
Three Shoes: A play which explores children working on stage and screen in the past and present, taking in the backstage life of a choirboy at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, a pantomime babe in Victorian England, and a pair of young film stars in the glare of the media today.
Noah: A colossal storm is brewing and the great flood is coming. Yet only one man and his family are doing anything to prepare. The rain starts to fall, the Ark’s doors close and an extraordinary journey must begin.
“… a terrific re-imagining of the biblical story. Rachel Barnett’s writing is immediate, intelligent, bold, quirky, consistently surprising and compelling for young people.” Youth Theatre Director, Chichester Festival Theatre
About the author
Rachel‘s work has been performed at theatres in the UK and abroad, including The Royal Court, Theatre 503, and The Arcola Theatre, also at Chichester Festival Theatre, Royal and Derngate, Latitude Festival, Manhattan Theatre Source in New York, Live Girls in Seattle, Key City Public Theatre in Washington and Auroville in India.
Following a BA in English Literature from Cardiff University and an MA in Writing for Performance from Central School of Speech and Drama, she has specialised in working with young people, people with disabilities and community groups. Rachel shares her time between playwriting, producing, workshop leading, lecturing, copywriting, company management, fundraising, project management and consultancy.
Writing projects to date include original work, adaptations, translations, theatre in education projects, pieces for young audiences and young performers, and dramaturgy of collaborative devised work.