- Cast List 3. Set & Staging 5. Costume & Prop Manifest
- Staff & Crew 4. Lights & Sound 6. Promotional Strategies
1. Cast List: Peace Child has been performed by casts as small as 9 persons, or as large as 900. It is best used as a community or school musical where the majority of participants are children. Schools get most out of it when staff and students do it together. However, in the majority of Peace Child performances have been all-children shows with older kids playing the “adult” In this script, there are 20 named characters + 22 youth parts for older teen-agers, and 30 parts for children age 7-13; you will also need soloists, a Chorus of 50-250 & a Dance Troupe of 5-15 dancers.
Producer – Overall responsibility for production, financing & promotion;
Artistic Director – Responsible for casting and all artistic aspects of the production.
Writer – Often the Artistic Director, he/ she is responsible for adapting the dialogue
Musical Director – Responsible for all that happens musically; usually the band leader; + Band Musicians: guitar, synthesiser, drums, brass/woodwind;
Choreographer – Responsible for all movement on stage; + Dance Captain: Choreographer’s assistant.
Technical Director – Responsible for all sound and lighting design and management Designer – to give ideas for shape of stage, backdrops, flags or tabards + costumes; Wardrobe Mistress – Responsible for every costume before, during and after the show;
Stage Manager – Key person, responsible for schedules, call sheets, phone trees etc. A
+ Assistant Stage Manager(s): have at least two if possible + one front of house for the Chorus wrangling;
Publicity Coordinator – Works closely with producer to coordinate Public Relations + Volunteers to give help hanging posters and handbills, phone local media etc.;
Ticket Selling Coordinator(TSC) – responsible for all ticket selling strategy + volunteer adults who support and assist the TSC;
Sponsorship Coordinator – sells advertisments in the programme etc.
3. Set & Staging: The 10,000+ presentations of Peace Child around the world have all been different. Some have been performed with huge casts in prestigious Concert Halls like the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC or the Royal Albert Hall in London. Such productions usually use a bare stage with the chorus sitting on risers at the back. The organ pipes provide a majestic backdrop to the action. Others have used small, intimate studio theatres with casts of 10-50, and many hand or stage props. Common to all of them is that Peace Child uses the whole theatre: the cast should feel as at home amongst the audience as up on stage. Likewise, the audience must feel caught up in the whole action and become players in it.
If you have movable seating, the stage structure pictured below works well. It allows the principle children to come closer to the audience where you can be sure their voices will be heard.
4. Lights & Sound: Peace Child should give the impression of being a lively, spontaneous, show. In order to work, the technical side must have meticulous
SOUND: The most frequent criticism levelled at a Peace Child show is – “I couldn’t hear what the kids were saying!” It is hard to hear young children’s voices. Radio mikes are an answer but in our experience, they are generally unsatisfactory: kids tend to break them and, unless you have a mega-budget, you can only mike up a few characters. Far better to design the show so that the performers can get close to shotgun mikes, perform songs to hand-held cable or radio mikes, or be in a hall where the acoustics allow everyone to hear. Be sure to allow enough time for sound checks with the band and ALL KEY SOLOISTS so that the kids are all comfortable with their entries, how to hold mikes, & where the foldback is coming etc.
LIGHTS: Compared to sound design, lighting is easy! The typical Peace Child set has a bare stage, cyclorama at the back on which you can project a set of colours. Typically, there is a warm stage wash; cool night-time stage wash; green exterior stage was. There are various effects
– like the Street Scene, the Orphanage, where you will need pre-set gobos or slide effects; area lights – like the Storyteller’s area, downstage right; the President’s Specials where he stands to make his presentation to the press. Lighting changes must be fast-paced to speed the show along. It is also good to use a Follow-spot for solo singers. Have as professional operator as possible as nothing is more irritating than to have shakey follow-spot operation.
- Storyteller’s Cloak
- Latino resses & costumes for Salsa Dance
- Raggedy Man / Wise Woman’s mystical cloak
- Soldiers’ Fatigues
- Commander’s Uniform and Cap President’s suits & medals
- UN Guard’s Uniform & blue beret
- National Groups’ Flags, banners & National Costumes for Great March
- Flags for war scene
- Convention paraphenalia for Hague Opening Scene+ Lectern for Convenor
- Computer project for Powerpoint presentation of Youth Statement
- Guns & Money for MIC scene
- Table + 2 chairs for Saskia’s Parents scene
- Soldiers Guns & flowers for inserting in them
- Dancer’s Costumes:
- White leotards + ribbons for Peace Day & Sing;
- Soldiers Costumes for War
- Press Men’s Hats & Vests (waistcoats) for I Gotta Story;
- Children/Chorus Costumes:
- 2025 Clothes (Peace Day & Epilogue – all in White)
- Normal clothes (all contemporary scenes)
- Kids on Great March – an assortment of rags
- Cameras & flash bulbs for Press Scene
- President’s Desk and chair for US president’s scene
- Horseshoe table for UN scene
6. PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES: There are at least five moments in the Peace Child production process when it is possible to get free publicity in local media. Here’s how:
- Announcement: Give dates; venue; artistic director’s name and producer. Provide the local media with backgrounders on Peace Child history;
- Auditions: Some of our best press stories and coverage have been about the audition process. Get the TV crews to come along and watch the children staggering through their improvisations. Get them to record you explaining why Peace Child is
- Cast Open Day: Get the cast to do something – a fund-raiser in the town square for some noble peace-related cause; a beach or pond clean-up; a backwards march for the future; a sit-in in a sewer against pollution – some daft thing that the kids themselves think up that, preferably, will advance the cause of Peace and grab the attention of the
- Open Dress Rehearsal: If you are smart, you will get some local dignitary to play the Storyteller – someone who will draw local media attention. They will only need one or two rehearsals so be sure the cameras are there to film them. Make it a Press
- Opening Night: Particularly important if you have a long run; make it a glitzy, up market affair with many local dignitaries, politicians, business leaders, Bishops, Rabbis, school principles etc. there. Entertain the press with a small reception; introduce them to members of the cast if they wish to be; have a question and answer session at the end of the show if the press or dignitaries want it. Build the First Night up into a major event for your community. But first, be sure it’s a good show!
- Other Promotional Strategies:
- Posters & Flyers: Saturate the Neighbourhood with them. Put them in every shop window; every library and school noticeboard. Get Private Houses on the High Street to put them in their windows. But be careful: don’t fly-post or pin them to trees. If you have a classy poster, this will make your production look cheap, and a little
- Paid Advertising: Who knows if papers write more about productions that advertise in their pages. Some do; some don’t. Check your budget very carefully and, if you have enough to buy a sizeable space – a quarter or eighth of a page – do it. If not, don’t bother. A small announcement which might still cost you a for tune is going to look silly beside the double-page spreads of feature copy that any respectable Peace Child production can
BUDGETS & FINANCIAL STRATEGIES
- Before starting, you must decide on how much you want to spend on your show. This should depend on: how much sponsorship or underwriting you feel you can raise, how much you think you can earn from ticket sales, and how much merchandise you can sell (coffee, cakes, T-shirts, programmes etc.) Peace Child has generally been a financially successful show as it has a large cast of children whose parents and friends will naturally support it; also the subject and Process is unusual thus it gains press and TV features.
- The Big budget is based on the one used for the Kennedy Center Concert Hall performance; costs will vary, but large performances can cost close to $100,000 +;
- The Medium Budget is based on an excellent performance in Derry, Ireland;
- The Little Budget is based on a performance arranged by a choir-mistress for a church in Minnesota;
You must be sure that the children who participate, and the building in which you rehearse and perform, are properly insured for all eventualities.
Ways to raise funds:
- Sell Tickets – This is how most shows cover their costs. But – be intentional about getting your cast and chorus to sell tickets to their family, relations and friends. Have a prize for the cast- or chorus-member who sells the most tickets, even if the show is free! The last thing you want is to perform to an empty hall – and getting the message out is the point of the show.
- Sell Adverts in the Playbill / Programme – you will be surprised how many local agencies and merchants will be eager to be identified with the message of Peace Child. Part of the awareness-raising process in your community is to go ask them. Persuade them!
- Sponsorship – Companies, Government, Churches – anything from $1,000 to $25,000
- Sales of Merchandise – T-shirts, programmes, mugs, etc. Without a well-thought out sales operation, this does not often make much money. It requires up-front expenditure to purchase stock, and can often leave you with a ton of unsold stock. Tread carefully.
- Do a Gala Opening – All productions should aim to have a “Gala” Opening performance, or last show to which local officials and dignitaries may be invited; not only will this raise money to help cover the budget, it will also ensure that the children is message reaches the ears of those in a position to act upon it.
Travel Costs: This can include bringing children from disadvantaged areas of a city or region to rehearsals, to a research or relaxation trip out for the whole cast;
International Productions: These are the best kind of Peace Child shows – but they are expensive as you have to find homestays for the International kids, and unless you have wide international contacts, it is hard to get kids to come from overseas. You can work through kids networks – or agencies like the European Commission or British Council.
Any child coming from a developing country or a war zone will normally require their ticket to be paid. However, the determined producer can make this all happen – Steve Elliott and the Monkton Heathfield Community School raised thousands of pounds to bring kids from many places to a magnificent production that ran in a local theatre and London’s West End in the presence of royalty!
Make sure that you have the resources to pay for a big international production before embarking on it. Because selling tickets for the play will never cover all the costs.
ALL PRODUCTIONS SHOULD RAISE FUNDS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
or, at a minimum, COVER THEIR COSTS: DEBTS CREATE ARGUMENTS – NOT PEACE!
Different Peace Child producers have thought up dozens of different, innovative plans to get cast members involved in peace activities after their show. We URGE you to do this – as drama, though powerful communication, is essentially frivolous entertainment. Getting your hands dirty – making the effort to take the show out on the road to different audiences: this makes your kids realise that they have to WORK FOR PEACE!
- Community Prayer Vigil for Peace: a number of other church-based activities can be done;
- Peace Child Tour: do a short form, small cast Peace Child show and tour it to schools;
- Peace Child Summer Camp: holiday activities for kids exploring peace themes;
- Peace Garden: create a corner of a local park as a Peace Garden, designed & built by kids; PCI has built them in places as various as Honolulu, Tashkent, to Marrakesh.
- International Story-teller’s Festival: get storytellers to tell stories from around the world;
- Hold a Peace Festival – on May Day, or Labour Day: get the whole town involved – with posters, banners – and international foods on stalls around the town+ performers;
- Pen Pal activity: get kids writing or e-mailing to friends around the world;
- Town Hall Meeting: raise the ‘Debate’ issues with your local council and see if they would agree to hosting a debate at the Town Hall; publicise it widely and get the cast to come!
- Dance for Peace, Peace Disco – etc. Actually stage the Act Two, Scene Three event;
- Peace Column: get your local newspaper to allow one of the cast to write a weekly column;
- Global Lunch. Get the entire school to attend a lunch. Divide them up as per the economic divisions of the world: 6% are very rich – they have an 8-course banquet; 14% are quite rich they have a 3-course dinner; 30% are quite poor – they have a single course with meat; 30% are very poor – they have a bowl of rice with gravy; 20% are extremely poor – they have a few grains of rice. Watch how those eating the 8-course banquet instinctively want to share their food with the poorest 20% – and ask why this cannot happen on a global scale?
- A Final Improvisation: imagine the two lead children in their sixties. They are not married but have remained good friends for all their lives. Sit them down in front of a fire in a nice pub or cafe – and have them reminisce about the old days. Have the cast tell stories about what happened on the Great March or behind the scenes at the United Nations – scandalous things , that should never be revealed publicly! Also, flesh out what they did with the rest of their lives – what career paths they chose