The purpose of this website is to encourage you to produce the magical musical which is Peace Child. There are FOUR current scripts along with scores, videos, production notes and Lesson Plans – everything you need to write and produce your own version of the musical. The different versions are
1. A 2018 script for a Moscow production. We call this the ‘Place-based script‘ designed for High School youth to perform;
2. The Geneva Script – also for High School youth. It tells the story of young people solving the problem of Climate Change;
3. A script for Primary School Children aged 7 to 12 year olds: the Primary School Script
4. A 20-minute Assembly presentation: the Time-Travel Chat Show Cabaret.
All Peace Child scripts have FOUR things in common:
- They are all set in the future flashing back to the past to show what today’s young people do with their lives to solve today’s problems. So a happy ending is guaranteed.
- They all invite the young people performing it to re-write the dialogue and the songs, invent new characters, new scenes and write new songs – so that each cast feels that it is their show, their story, their achievement that they are telling.
- They are all driven by the powerful songs of David Gordon.
- They are all royalty-free for educational (school and community / non-profit) producers
And – they are all grown from the extraordinary history of the organisation which still survives and changes young lives today – as you will see on the charity’s current website: this website charts the story of the organisation from its beginnings in England, to its achievements. So – we hope you will be inspired to be a part of Peace Child’s future…
WELCOME TO PEACE CHILD …
In Papua New Guinea, when warring tribes made peace, they exchanged a baby to seal the peace between them. The babies grew up in the others’ tribe and if, in the future, conflict threatened, the elders of the tribe would send out each child to negotiate a new peace between them. Such a child was called a ‘Peace Child.’
The Missionary who discovered this story used it to explain how God sent His Peace Child – Jesus Christ – to negotiate peace between Himself and human beings. I first heard this story on the day of the 1st production of Peace Child, the Musical, and have used it ever since to encourage older people to empower young people to take responsibility for important decisions relating to their future – like saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, poverty and climate change. Founded in 1982, PCI has empowered young people to seek resolution to global challenges by the simple device of imagining a future in which the change has happened, then back-casting to the present to tell the story of how youth of today deliver that change in their lifetimes. The story that embodies this device is called: Peace Child – a musical written by David Woollcombe with songs by David Gordon, based on The Peace Book by Bernard Benson
If you venture further into these pages, you enter a world where miracles happen. Around the world, in 10,000+ performances, the musical, Peace Child, has transformed the lives of the children, youth and audiences it has touched. It also changed the countries: it went to the USA and Russia: the Cold War ended. It went to Central America: Peace broke out. It went into ex-Yugoslavia, Ireland, the Middle East, Cyprus and the inner cities of the USA and elsewhere, and its energy started sowing seeds of peace in the hearts and minds of peoples caught up in conflict.
The scripts you read here are a synthesis of many classic Peace Child stories, scenes and characters – and we encourage every cast to continue the process of re-creation: develop your own characters, your own scenes – learn and explore, improvise, write new songs and raps, think of new solutions. Use the Peace Child process to make up your own dramatic solutions to the world’s problems.
The short Assembly show is a time-travel TV chat show – which allows your students to travel back in time from the world that they have created in their working lives – showing that, if they do prioritise the SDGs, they, and their children, are likely to be facing a much more prosperous future than if they ignore them. The generic Youth Peace Child, ( tells the story of the international community’s effort to tackle probably the human family’s greatest existential threat: Climate Change / Climate Disruption / Global Warming. It draws on Al Gore’s well-known Climate Reality training – but tells a story of how youth get governments to address the challenges in a way that poor Mr Gore’s movement has failed to as yet.
In the shorter, Primary School version, written in 2017, you will recognise the influence of the wars in Syria and Yemen, arguably the most horrific wars of modern times, the more so for the UN’s inability to prevent them. This Peace Child goes back to our original message that peace is fundamental to sustainability as it is to ending poverty: nothing can happen without it. This short show is a passionate and hopefully plausible appeal for children to take a hand in bringing about an end to such conflicts.
For there are ways to end wars: they take courage, they take energy and they take leadership. Those qualities lie trapped in vast quantities in the minds of young people. Peace Child provides them with a platform to display them. That’s why it has been called the “most inspiring community musical of our generation” – “an education that no parent, politician or prime minister can afford to miss!” If you love children and have a talent to produce shows, – if you know the business of blocking, teaching parts, setting dances, sewing costumes – you can change the world by doing Peace Child.
You will certainly change yourself.
I know because I have done several of them. And I know they changed me.
David R. Woollcombe, December 2018
Earlier Peace Child Introductions
Introducing Peace Child 1992
This last three years has seen incredible changes in the geo-political landscape: the cold war is over. The nations of Eastern Europe have asserted their freedom and independence from a crumbling Soviet empire. Southern Africa has won a new nation in Namibia; the release of Nelson Mandela signalled progress toward the ending of apartheid. With the Arias plan, an uneasy peace broke out in Central America. In the Middle East, no news appeared to be good news.
But in the space of a few months, things have changed again. Now, I write in the shadow of the Gulf Crisis: Iraq’s armies face a multi-national force across the border in Saudi Arabia. Television and Newspapers are full of headlines saying “Waiting for war…” In Kashmir, Indians face off against Pakistanis in the most dangerous confrontation the subcontinent has seen in years; in Sri Lanka, Tamil tigers wreak havoc again; Cambodians await the “inevitable” return of Pol Pot; in the tiny island of Trinidad, a maniac held the country hostage for ten days, ruining its fragile economy in the process.
What place Peace Education in such a world? To read over those early introductions to Peace Child is to see how little has changed in our basic philosophy in the last ten years. The values of unselfishness and integrity; communication, collaborative learning, compassion, tolerance – all these words turn up again and again. Peace education, as we see it, is not some fad to be passed over as soon as some other headline-grabbing educational priority is identified. It is as essential as the teaching of the Three “R”s. It is laying the foundations of planetary citizenship in the minds of young people, teaching the imperatives of global stewardship. In our rapidly changing world, Peace Child is particularly powerful vehicle for such teaching as its framework may be adapted to explore any situation or issue.
Peace Child is rooted in the mind of a child, filled with love and hope. The story aims to unlock that love and give substance to that hope in the safe arena of a musical performance. It succeeded: several thousands of children have now experienced the joy of being a part of a Peace Child show. Their comments speak for themselves. It is our hope that the new family of Study Guides, of which this is the first, will allow many thousands more to experience the thrill of harmony with their fellow beings on this planet.
These days, Peace Child is much, much more than the doing of a musical play in a school theatre. The breakthrough of a US-Soviet Youth Exchange program dreamed of in the earlier Peace Child plays happened in 1986 when we brought the first ever Soviet school age children to the USA on a reciprocal exchange. Now Peace Child handles the largest US-Soviet Youth exchange program, bringing together hundreds of children every year in both countries.
It is become international, with performances in over 30 different countries on record. And, through the UN Peace Day program, it is becoming a major youth movement, checking up on the condition of the planet in the annual State of the Planet report, gathering proposals based upon it and taking these ideas to the offices of leaders in government and industry. The dreams formulated in the pages of these plays – along with the ideas that you and your cast will contribute to them, are thus not idle fantasies. They are expressions of commitments that you and others will take off the stage and live out in your daily lives, in the careers your students choose to follow, in the relationships they choose to form with people from different backgrounds, different cultures.
It is a living movement as well as being a movement for Life. To be a Peace Child is to inhabit that richest of all possible worlds where each person is appreciated for what he or she is, not what they are expected to be or to become. Love, Hope, Peace, Truth shine brightly in such a world, as they shine in the eyes of a Peace Child. To create a world peopled by Peace Children is to create a world in which the actions of Saddam Hussein would be impossible, in which the needs of the Tamil people, or the Kurds or the Cambodians would be dealt with by an International Court. Unthinkable?? – maybe now, but remember, when we started in 1982, the idea of Soviet school age children coming to the USA on Youth Exchanges was equally unthinkable! As you experience the joy, the fun of doing the musical contained in the pages that
follow, remember that the fantasy you create on stage and in the minds of the children could well become real. So – be careful what you wish for!
David R. Woollcombe, June 1992
The 1981 London Premiere Introduction
The 1982 US Premiere Introduction
“How will Peace come to the World ?”
“How will we save our Environment ?” “How will we stem population growth?”
“Can we stop climate change and global warming?”
“Will there ever be Peace in the Middle East, Ireland, Central America or between East and West ?”
The answer of Peace Child is a triumphant YES! It has happened. The year is 2025: there is peace, the environment is on the mend, and there is harmony in most of the “Regional Conflict” areas of our world.
How did it happen?? The victory belongs to the children born in the last decades of the 20th Century. How did they do it? By believing that they could. Exactly how? – that is left for the children of each individual cast to decide. The key to Peace Child is that it expects the children to find answers to these global problems. By placing total confidence in them at the outset, they inevitably deliver!
The result is an immensely empowering, confidence-building experience both for the children, and for the adults watching them. After almost ten years of operation, the Peace Child Foundation has recognised no special formulas, only that a magic seems to emerge when you put a group of children together to tackle seemingly insoluble problems in the context of a musical show that assumes you will solve them by the end of the evening!
In the basic International script, you might assume that the character of the President is American. It can be, but you will find nothing in the story to prevent it being the President of Kenya, or the Prime Minister of Norway, or the Chancellor of Germany. You can make up your own story around the frame-work offered here. How different that may be from the basic story is demonstrated by The Bridge – written with a group of Polish, Dutch, Russian, German and English children during the dark days of the fall of 1990 when the world was reeling from the horror of the Gulf Crisis. The resolution of this script may offend some – which is the best possible reason to re-write it.
The first Peace Child story looked to the creation of friendship between the USA and USSR through the development of youth exchange. That seemed impossible when the play was written in 1981; it seemed even more impossible two years later when the Russians shot down a Korean Airliner killing a US Congressman. But now, it has pretty much happened.
The old script is a piece of nostalgia, something to be taken out and laughed at, as the Story-teller’s group laugh at the inanities of the 1990 youth in the current play.
The new scripts look to empower youth to take the ideas they develop in Peace Child off the stage and translate them into some kind of positive ACTION! For years, we have felt it was not enough just to talk about improving the world from within the safety of the four walls of a theatre: if Peace Child is to be effective, it must take those ideas outside the theatre and put them into practice. The idea of a World Youth Corps – a kind of International Peace Corps for teen-agers – is mooted in the play; so is the idea of a Global Democracy of Youth so that young people around the world can develop a consensus on what the most important actions are that need to be taken by their generation to ensure the future prosperity of their planet.
Is the Peace Child Foundation thus becoming a movement? – some kind of children’s crusade for a better world? No. We are an educational organisation supplying materials to teachers and community leaders to use in any way that they wish.
If one production results in one child feeling empowered to action, we judge our effort to be a success.
But we passionately believe that children should feel wanted – should feel invited to comment the problems the world faces as it enters the new millennium and participate in solving them. Too many people instill in children a belief that they cannot do anything about such problems, that they are better left to adults. “You don’t go to Children’s Hospital to be operated on by a Child” is a frequently quoted example. But in all societies up to about a hundred years ago, children had a powerful role to play. As James Fazy, Premiere of the Canton of Geneva used to say: “Why is it that youth has all the energy and new ideas and the old people have all the power?” He used to hold great banquets honoring the young, seeking their opinions, honoring the vigor of their ideas. Using that vigor, he went on to lead the revolution which created the modern state of Switzerland.
Peace Child includes young people at every level of its constitutional machinery up to and including the Board of Directors. They are responsible, as adults are. Giving them that responsibility produces results, enhances competence. If no one else will fortify children with the chance to operate some kind of influence on society, the Peace Child Foundation will. We never imagined when, in 1981, we started promoting a play about US-Soviet youth exchange that we would become a major player in the US-Soviet Youth Exchange field. We slid into it.
We have now crossed the threshold into a new millennium. The destiny that has controlled Peace Child these last two decades may have different plans for us. But where-ever there are children wanting to find out about the challenges they will face in their futures, and to explore ways of solving them, Peace Child will be there as a powerful engine to drive their explorations and inspire their actions.
David R. Woollcombe, January 2000
THE ‘HOW TO…’ INTRODUCTION
– a story of children rising to their generational challenge of achieving the Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) – based on the original Peace Child, written by David Woollcombe with songs and lyrics by David Gordon inspired by The Peace Book by Bernard S Benson;
Setting: Bare Stage; risers at the back for Chorus / audience; central playing area with a chair and cushions downstage left for the Story-teller and her small group of younger children; Tables, chairs; Video Screen;
Cast: 10 Children (age 10-12) for Core Cast(CC); 6 children (age 5-8) for Story-teller’s group(Child); 50-150 children and parents (any age) for the Chorus; 1 x adult (teacher / parent) to play Story-teller; 3-5 other adults for Audience Plants and teacher, diplomats (should you wish).
Story Concept: The Story is set in the future – in 2050, when the Global Goals and their successor targets have been achieved. Every year, all over the world, children celebrate “Peace Day” to commemorate the day when the world came together at the United Nations to work – across generations, nations and ethnicities – to achieve the Global Goals and end poverty and war for ever. Every year, a new group of children act out the Story of the Peace Child to remind children of future generations how that original Peace Day came about – and the 2 key values required to maintain it.
Values: Peace Child is an entirely non-political, non-religious, supra-national story that promotes the key values of ‘Selflessness’ and ‘Integrity’: by selflessness, we mean the opposite of selfishness: it requires young people to care for others as they care for themselves, to ‘leave no one behind’ in the language of the global goals. Integrity means, of course, telling the truth at all times – an important value in this era of fake news and ‘post-truth politics.’ It speaks to the value of expert knowledge – science that keeps asking questions and accepts uncertainty, and ensures that all discoveries and analyses are properly peer-reviewed. It requires all people to respect expertise and detailed knowledge and probe for the truth in all things – political, financial, scientific, historical, emotional and artistic.
Create your own Peace Child: Apart from the key characters – the Story-teller, Sami and Becky, the dialogue in this script is assigned to unnamed characters: CC 1 / CC 2 / Child etc. This is because we want the children of your cast to give their own names to the characters and imagine themselves to be the children of the story. Also, at several points in this script, there are “Drop-in Sections” – parts of the script which we require you to re-write – after exploring the Lesson Plans, discussing and improvising around the issues, and coming up with new ideas and dialogue. This is hard work: much harder than doing the script as written. But if you do that research and come up with new lines, your cast will learn and internalise so much more about the Global Goals than if they just glibly repeat lines, parrot fashion. They will also feel more like Peace Children themselves and, hopefully, be inspired and empowered to take action. You can – of course – take this a lot further ( – and many producers have): you can create your own songs and raps; you can write new scenes, a new climax – even a whole new musical. But, if you want to call it Peace Child, we require that you set your story on Peace Day in 2050, and that you use at least five of David Gordon’s songs.
Royalties: Peace Child is an educational vehicle designed to help your children understand and feel ownership of the Global Goals. Therefore, for educational / school performances, neither the authors, nor the Charity, Peace Child International, charge a royalty. Rather we encourage you to raise money by selling tickets or taking a collection and then give the money to a charity of your choice, preferably one that promotes the achievement of the Global Goals. That can – of course! – be the registered Peace Child International charity which works in Africa to help youth find, or create, decent jobs for all. (SDG Goal 8)