This list features plays popular with schools and amateur drama groups. The scripts should be readily available in libraries and for sale through the usual agents. There is a brief description of each play and some of the challenges you may face if tackling the production. Select one of the plays and try the suggested projects.

Scenery  Scenery

Draw a scale plan of how you could accommodate the required features of the set on the usual stage at your disposal. Decide if it would it be possible to construct the set with the flats and staging you already have or if you would need to make some special or extra pieces.

Costume  Costume

Even if the play is in a contemporary setting your actors may not have appropriate clothing for their character. Draw up a basic costume list and decide which items you already have and if any would need to be bought, hired, borrowed or altered.

Lighting  Lighting

Draw a plan of how you could utilise the lighting equipment you have available. Consider any special effects and extra lanterns you may need to create the atmosphere of the play. If you would need additional lanterns compare the cost of hiring the extra equipment.

Sound  Sound

Check the script for references to any specific music or sound effects. Choose some appropriate music to play before the play and during the interval. Consider if you would need to obtain or record any sound effects and research where you could buy them, or how you could create them yourself.

Directing  Directing

Consider who you would cast in the play from the people usually available and if there are enough actors with the appropriate skills. If someone you had chosen were unavailable, think how would you compensate. Plot the stage moves for one scene and try to anticipate any awkward moves and entrances.

Full Length Plays

Key: "3m, 2f" indicates three male characters and two female characters.

Billy Liar

by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall

(comedy) 5m, 3f, composite set, 1960's.

Billy lives in a fantasy world, contriving a new lie with every breath until his lies eventually find him out. The main acting area is the sitting room, but there is also a kitchen, hall and stairs, and the front garden immediately outside the front door.

Blithe Spirit

by Noel Coward

(farce) 2m, 4f, One interior setting, contemporary.

A séance is arranged to gather material for a novel. The ghost of the playwrights first wife is summoned and she plagues his new marriage.

Boeing Boeing

by Marc Camoletti and Beverley Cross

(farce) 2m, 5f, One interior setting, 1960's.

Bernard has three girlfriends who are all air hostesses with different airlines, but each believes she is his one true love. He has a sophisticated timetable so they can each spend the night at his apartment. Everything proceeds like clockwork, until the new 'Super Boeing' changes the schedules of the airlines, and Bernard suddenly has a lot of explaining to do.

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

(drama) 2m, 2f, composite set, contemporary.

This play established his reputation characterised by fluent dialogue and searching analysis of the psychological deficiencies of his characters. The Wingfield family receive a visit from a gentleman caller at their dingy St. Louis apartment.

The Heiress

by Ruth and Augustus Goetz (from Henry James novel)

(drama) 3m, 6f, One interior setting, 1850.

A plain young girl falls in love with a fortune-hunter, but rejects him when his motives become clear. There is an opportunity for some extravagant period costumes and scenery.

Look Back in Anger

by John Osborne

(drama) 3m, 2f, One interior setting, post-war England.

Osborne was one of the anti­establishment writers of the 1950's, this was his debut play. A wife leaves her husband following a violent quarrel, but later they are reunited when she falls ill and they need each other.

Night Must Fall

by Emlyn Williams

(suspense drama) 4m, 5f, one interior setting, contemporary.

A psychopathic young man menaces an old lady and her niece.

No Time For Fig Leaves

by Duncan Greenwood and Robert King

(comedy) 2m, 7f, one interior setting, the near future.

An atomic accident has resulted in the disappearance of all the men except two who are discovered in an underground shelter. Realising the men are the only hope for the continuation of human life their female hosts make them prisoners, while the men conspire to escape.

Stepping Out

by Richard Harris

(comedy, with music and tap dance) 1m 9f, two interior settings, contemporary.

A mixed bunch of ladies meet at tap dance classes. All but one of the cast need to be able to tap dance. Ideally one member of the cast can play the piano. One member of the cast must be Afro-Caribbean.

Under Milk Wood

by Dylan Thomas

(tragi-comedy) 29m, 28f, multiple settings, contemporary, Welsh.

A series of glimpses of life in a small Welsh village. The large number of characters makes doubling (even tripling) necessary.

One Act Plays

The Bald Prima Donna

by Eugene Ionesco (translated from the French by Donald Watson)

(theatre of the absurd) 3m, 3f, A typical middle-class English interior setting.

Theatre of the Absurd is an avant-garde style of drama that originated with a group of dramatists in the 1950's. This script makes no apparent sense, it is based on examples of conversation found in a foreign language phrase book. The characters therefore are all stereotypes.

The Dock Brief

by John Mortimer

(comedy) 2m, One interior setting.

An inept lawyer attempts to defend a murderer, who is acquitted due to his incompetent defence.

The Long Christmas Dinner

by Thornton Wilder (original 1931 play, not the operatic work)

(drama) 5m, 7f, One interior setting.

A meal spanning ninety years shows the changes that take place in an American family. During the play the members of the family age noticeably, and eventually die.

Riders to the Sea

by John M Synge

(drama) 1m, 3f, One interior setting.

Maurya has been grieving for her missing son, Michael, who she feels has been drowned. Five of her sons and her husband have been lost to the sea she now fears losing Bartley, her only remaining son. The clothes of Michael are found and the body of Bartley is brought home.

Ritual for Dolls

by George MacEwan Green

(play) 2m, 2f, An attic.

Four toys in a toy box (a golliwog, toy soldier, doll and a monkey) enact the sometimes violent story of the brother and sister who owned them before they were consigned to the attic.