Play In a Day

Written by Adam Hughes, Rhiannon Tise, Jonathan Hall, Elinor Cook, Judith Johnson / Produced by Theatre of Debate

Description

5 Free play in a day scripts for Secondary schools age 11-16

Read the following short briefs and choose a play that best suits what you want your pupils to learn, or a specific topic you want to explore.

Theatre of Debate was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust Crunch project to create five play in day scripts and resources for secondary schools. The future of food is one of the biggest challenges on our plate. Food and drink are fundamental to our lives, connecting everything from our health to the world around us. It’s time for us to take a fresh look at our relationship with food and be inspired to create the recipe for a happier, healthier future.

Drama is an effective and fun way of engaging pupils in exploring and learning about big questions. The five specially commissioned Play in a Day free scripts (average length 15 minutes) have been written by five playwrights in collaboration with five leading scientists who are carrying out research relating to ‘our food, our health and our planet. Each play has clear learning outcomes and links to the curriculum. The scripts have roles for everyone in the class and not only explore topics but will develop transferrable skills such as teamwork, creativity and leadership. These plays can be performed to the whole school community and can also be used for assemblies, harvest festivals and special food related events like World No Meat Day.

Details

Each script comes with:

  • Two short films (of no more than 5 minutes), produced by professional Movement Consultant Robin Guiver, illustrating how to use movement in your production.
  • Specially composed free music and sound effects created by Composer Alex Parsons to download and use in your production.
  • Director’s Notes which include learning outcomes, links to the curriculum, more in-depth information about the theme of your chosen play, along with hints and tips on how stage the play for a workshop performance.

The movement elements in our plays in a day can seem intimidating, on the page, but professional Movement Consultant Robin Guiver is there to reassure you that they couldn’t be simpler.

These sections are about telling the story with the pictures we make on stage, rather than the words we say, and for both primary and secondary age groups it’s an ideal way to get ideas across, whilst keeping the audience’s attention.

Of course, these are only guidelines, and you should feel free to use your own experience and ideas as well.

Fat of the Land

by Adam Hughes

Focus: The causes and impact of under and over-nutrition

Big questions learners will explore:

  • What can be done to make sure everyone has a balanced and healthy diet of nutrients to promote a healthy body?
  • Who is responsible for the diet and lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis?
  • How does where you live affect your diet?

Drama Skills: Staging in the round, ensemble work, soundscaping.

Casting: 2 male key speaking roles with 2 female supporting roles make up the main bulk of the play. There are flexible roles for the rest of the class that can be made as little of as much of as you see fit. The playwright has suggested between 8-20 roles where the lines can be divided up in any way that works for your interpretation.

Setting and Style: Open to interpretation but there are stage directions within the play to help support a ‘in the round’ production using the students to define the stage space. The dialogue is very naturalistic and dramatic in terms of the way it builds and there are a lot of lines for the two main male roles. There is also the opportunity for the students to provide their own live sound to compliment the piece.

Drama Skills: Staging in the round, ensemble work, soundscaping.

Choose this script if you have ‘strong’ actors that can carry the play and a group of creative students who would benefit from working as an ensemble to present a piece of theatre. The play explores undernutrition and over-nutrition and contains a lot of information to spark discussion and split opinion.

Sound and Movement: Alex Parson’s original music and sound effects are provided for your use. It is clearly marked in the script where to use the music or sound cues; however, feel free to add your own spin on things or incorporate the pupils’ own live sound effects.

Take a look at Movement Director Robin Guiver’s movement videos for ideas and starting points.

Feed Me

by Rhiannon Tise

Focus: Food Security – the access to healthy food and optimal nutrition for all.

Big questions learners will explore:

  • What is the impact of food security on our country?
  • What steps can we take now as individuals to combat food security and have a more self-sufficient approach to food production?
  • What is the main issue we currently have with food security?

Drama Skills: Physical theatre, multi-roling, soundscaping, ensemble work.

Setting and Style: The acting style should be exaggerated where necessary, mimicking the infamous Reality TV shows. Music and colourful glitzy props and some suggestion of costume could be used to differentiate between the TV world and the other worlds.

Settings:

  1. A domestic house setting. Tables and chairs etc. Table laid for dinner. A big flat screen TV dominates the wall.
  2. outside the house – studio setting
  3. the rain forest, South America

Performers can stay on stage at all times (no need to ‘dim lights’ and change the scene…the scenes should merge into each other). Performers can freeze or sit still on the spot or simply take a few steps back and sit on the floor/chair.

Sound and Movement: Alex Parson’s original music and sound effects are provided for your use. It is clearly marked in the script where to use the music or sound cues; however, feel free to add your own spin on things or incorporate the pupils’ own live sound effects.

Take a look at Movement Director Robin Guiver’s movement videos for ideas and starting points.

Fields and Fields and Fields

by Jonathan Hall

Focus: Agro Biodiversity – The variety of different types of agricultural produce found on earth and what this means for human health. In the context of this play this refers to different types of food.

Big questions learners will explore:

  • What is the impact of biodiversity on my everyday life?
  • Who is responsible for the diet and lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis?
  • What are the effects of climate change and population growth on food production?

Drama Skills: Ensemble work, multi-roling, interesting ways of staging, movement.

Casting: Flexibility within the casting except for 2 of the roles which need to be played by the same actors throughout. Can work with groups of students from 8-30 depending on how you want to stage it.

Setting and Style: Set in India and Ireland in the present and the past. Short snippets of other scenes in various locations. Stage directions given as a guideline but a very open text that can be interpreted in many ways. Movement is suggested but again can be developed by the teacher or students in a different way.

Drama Skills: Ensemble work, multi-rolling, interesting ways of staging, movement.

Choose this play if you have a smaller group of students who all want a speaking role. (The play can lend itself to a cast of 30.) The play explores different cultures and countries throughout so gives students an opportunity to learn information through playing a role. Lots of freedom in this script to put your own spin on how it is performed.

Sound and Movement: Alex Parson’s original music and sound effects are provided for your use. It is clearly marked in the script where to use the music or sound cues; however, feel free to add your own spin on things or incorporate the pupils’ own live sound effects.

Take a look at Movement Director Robin Guiver’s movement videos for ideas and starting points.

The Super Safe Environment Compound

by Elinor Cook

Focus: Food Security – the access to healthy food and optimal nutrition for all.

Big questions learners will explore:

  • What is the impact of food security on our country?
  • What steps can we take now as individuals to combat food security and have a more self-sufficient approach to food production?
  • What is the main issue we currently have with food security?

Drama Skills: Soundscaping, split scene, physical theatre, ensemble work and complex staging.

Casting: 8 key lead roles representing modern day teenagers and those in the future with approx 5 or 6 supporting roles that can be adapted. All students can be involved in the performance through sound scaping and physical theatre.

Setting and Style: Set in the current day and then jumps into the future. We also see an Indonesian Family and their reaction to the events taking place in the play. The style lends itself to the students creating their own sound and representing things in the futuristic world through physical theatre.

Choose this script if you have several strong students keen for speaking roles and a creative group of young people that want to explore staging and transitioning between multiple locations. The play introduces them to a world in the not too distant future and really gets them thinking about the choices they make about food.

Sound and Movement: Alex Parson’s original music and sound effects are provided for your use. It is clearly marked in the script where to use the music or sound cues; however, feel free to add your own spin on things or incorporate the pupils’ own live sound effects.

The Chicken Temptation

by Judith Johnson

Focus: Obesogenic Environment – Environments that encourage people to eat unhealthily and not do enough exercise.

Big questions learners will explore:

  • Who is responsible for the diet and lifestyle choices that we make on a daily basis?
  • How much notice do we take of what is in the food we eat?
  • What changes can be made to our environments to prevent obesity?

Casting: 8 larger speaking roles, 1 female lead who is telling her story. Several other supporting roles with speaking parts and enough parts for up to 30 students as part of an ensemble that plays school students, people at the summer fayre etc.

Setting and Style: The playwright has suggested the simplest way to stage this would be to use a bare performance space with bright/quirky costumes and props which the cast don/use as required. The cast could sit in a row of chairs getting up to perform their parts and physically/stylistically make the settings/scenery as described. The acting style is meant to be over the top, caricatured and good fun.

Drama Skills: Multi-rolling, ensemble work, direct address, movement.

Choose this script if you have some strong actors that would like to take on lead roles. The play demands a lot from the ensemble which is a great skill for students to develop. It also creates key discussion triggers and will spark debate and difference of opinion. Some really great roles for students to play and flexibility in the way it is staged could be an exciting project for students to tackle.

Sound and Movement: Alex Parson’s original music and sound effects are provided for your use. It is clearly marked in the script where to use the music or sound cues; however, feel free to add your own spin on things or incorporate the pupils’ own live sound effects.

Take a look at Movement Director Robin Guiver’s movement videos for ideas and starting points.