Building a performance
DOI link for Building a performance
Building a performance book
The following plan can be used to form a presentation or performance as the culmination of your work on Victorians. It can be kept brief and basic, or expanded into a play. It is designed so that every child can have a role, and the dialogue itself can be written by the children and/or an adult.
Victorian piano music can be used to open the performance. A group of beggar children on the street discuss what they would most like – food, clothes, a loving family, a home. https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-df-pch-content-public-p.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/9780203819555/bd678f18-8d6d-4505-819c-9def27fbb16c/content/fig55.tif"/>
Downstairs in the kitchen of a large house. The servants discuss their own families, whom they walk to see on some Sundays, and the sorry state of the beggars outside. They prepare food for the house owners. https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-df-pch-content-public-p.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/9780203819555/bd678f18-8d6d-4505-819c-9def27fbb16c/content/fig56.tif"/>
Upstairs. Mama, Papa and the children play or read stories of the time, and discuss items in the paper, e.g. Victoria’s jubilee. Servant enters and serves tea.
Loud recording of machines introduces children working in woollen mill, doing dangerous, repetitive work under a fierce foreman. At last they take a break and talk about a child badly injured there last week. One of the children is the sibling of a servant at the house.
17Upstairs. Papa and Mama are discussing holding a party (this could be for Christmas, Victoria’s jubilee or a birthday). Their children are very excited. https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-df-pch-content-public-p.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/9780203819555/bd678f18-8d6d-4505-819c-9def27fbb16c/content/fig57.tif"/>
The beggar children discuss where they will sleep that night. They decide on the street near the big house because a kind servant there once gave them some bread. They creep under a blanket.
The mill children leave the mill. They wish there was something to break the monotony of their lives – ten hours a day working in the mill. They fall asleep.
The servants in the kitchen. They have worked non-stop for the forthcoming party, and are now thrilled to hear that they are to be allowed in.
The party. This is an opportunity for you to incorporate any songs, games, skills or other activities that you have learned during your work on Victorians (see cards on Music Hall and Parlour Games for further ideas). The atmosphere is one of celebration and fun, with Papa, Mama, servants and children watching excitedly.
Gradually the mill workers and beggar children wake to the sound of the party. They creep nearer to the house and peer in. Papa recognises the sibling of the servant and invites them all in. The children have the best evening of their lives – food, warmth and love.
A narrator could end with a suitable moral in Victorian style: ‘And so, when you next make merry and eat and drink your fill, remember those less fortunate …’ Music to end. https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-df-pch-content-public-p.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/9780203819555/bd678f18-8d6d-4505-819c-9def27fbb16c/content/fig58.tif"/>