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  1. Imagining a World at Peace              6. How to achieve Peace?              11. The Geography of Conflict
  2. WAR                                                  7. Obstacles to Peace                     12. US Leadership for Peace
  3. A World without War                          8. The Generation Gap                   13. The Uniting of Nations
  4. Hague Appeal for Peace                   9. The North-South Divide               14. Completing the Search
  5. A Role for Youth                               10. The Peace-Makers



The purpose of this lesson is to give the cast a sense of the kind of world they are working to create – to actualise and give physical details of what a world at peace would look like.

  • Imagine there’s no countries – it isn’t hard to do
  • Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too Imagine all the people living life in Peace
  • Imagine no possessions – I wonder if you can!
  • No need for greed or hunger now, a brotherhood of man Imagine all the people – sharing all the world!
  • You may say that I’m a dreamer
  • But I’m not the only one
  • I hope some day that you’ll join us
  •  – and the world will live as one!

John Lennon, 1971


Book List:
  • The Peace Book by Bernard Benson (Bantam, 1981): this, and other books by Bernard Benson, pro­ vide an important philosophical background to Peace Child;
  • How Peace Came to the World, Christian Science Monitor, Boston(1985): A collection of essays written by distinguished writers answering the q:uestion “How did peace come to the  world?” from the perspective of the world in 2010. A useful source of ideas for new Peace Child
  • The Evolutionary Journey by Barbara Marx Hubbard. New age speculation on how human beings might develop in the next thousand years.
  • Peace: a dream unfolding, Sierra Club. A beautiful document on the history of the Peace-mmaking.
Discussion Points:
  • “Imagine no countries… no religion … no possessions” Is John Lennon serious?? It sounds crazy, blasphemous even!! What do you think he is getting at? – and would it produce peace??
  • “When you go around the world in a space-craft, you look down and see the earth as a single entity. You cannot see any borders or lines between countries. You cannot imagine why in the Balkans people are killing each other over lines that you cannot see.” Russell Schweickhart, astronaut. Is the world a harmonious bio-unit with people as the only problem??
  • For centuries, warfare was considered a noble human endeavor, the major source of human heroism. Bernard Shaw said, “A life of peace & endless happiness would be the most boring life imaginable.” Debate: “This House wants Peace” – and let both sides shape your vision of a peaceful
  • “Peace Day is the day that adults are supposed to listen to the requests of children”: Peace Child International promotes Days of Access when the doors of government officials at every level from Heads of State down to police officers are open to children under-18. UNICEF’s Day of the African Child offers a similar programme.·What do you think of this idea? Would it work in your country?
  • Drop In ONE: What’s changed since the 1990s?? Get each cast member to imagine waking up in the year 2050 and think of one thing that would be – or should be – different. List them for the
  • Drop In TWO: The Resolutions: again, get each cast member to write down one idea for a resolution for 2050. List them and get the cast to choose the best of them for your
  • Imagine a scene in 2050 with a reunion of this Peace Child cast. Split the group into threes or fours and spread them around the room. Invite them to reminisce over what they have done with their lives, and how the dreams they had while doing Peace Child have, or  have not, been realised. Get them to articulate why the world is, or is not, a better place in 2050 than in 2000.
  • Red Herring: this is when we lay a red herring across the script and shift the story off in a new direction – a great opportunity for improvisation and invention! Imagine the Storyteller decides arbitrarily which children shall play the leads provoking  a  huge argument between the children of the cast. Divide your group and get one side to try to resolve it peacefully, while the other side prepares to do battle and settle it by force.

Production Notes: You will notice that on the tape, we have no vocal version of If You Close Your eyes. This is because often the instrumental is used; many kids think the words too syrupy and cheesey!! But it does work beautifully with a good voice and  sensitive singing of  the tricky  vocal line. You decide!!



The purpose of this lesson is to explore what we think about war as we enter the new millennium: what place does war occupy in contemporary society? Does it have any role as an instrument of policy?

Book (&  film) List:
  • The Fate of the Earth by Jonathon Schell. An eloquent examination of contemporary society and our addiction to nuclear weapons – an addiction that must ultimately  destroy  us  unless  we abolish
  • Birdsong by Sebastian An amazing contemporary study of the effect of the First World War on ordinary people with terrifying descriptions of  what it  must have been like to have been a part of it;
  • A similar book about the Vietnam War.
  • . If these do not convince you of the insanity of war, get out some videos. Few films have captured the essence of warfare better than Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line, two films nominated for best film Oscar in 1999. Other excellent films that take you inside the reality of war include another 1999 film, Life is Beautiful and All Quiet on the Western Front – a black and white classic.
  • If you want to learn more about the first Hague Peace Conference, read The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman. It contains a whole chapter on the Conference with revealing biographical details about the participants and the complex diplomatic moves made by different countries during the
Discussion Points:
  • In 1899, the First Hague Peace Conference was held. It ushered in a century of the worst violence ever perpetrated by humanity. Why might this conference be different?? What is different now?
  • In the 1989 Seville Declaration, several brilliant psychologists concluded that human beings are not inherently violent. It is not inbred in us – so why do you think  people can do  things like murder innocents in concentration camps, mutilate babies and young children as they are doing in Kosovo and Sierra Leone right now, or shoot up fellow students as they did  recently in a US High School. Where does that evil come from?? Can it be stopped or prevented??
  • “Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori” (It is sweet and honorable to die for your country!) Discuss what the members of your cast think it would be sweet and honorable to die for today?
  • The song “War!” mentions ;’flags” several times: are flags bad things? Should we work to out­ law flags as archaic symbols of national separation? Or are they harmless totems like football shirts?
  • Debates: “This House wants Peace and would prepare for it not war” – argue it out. Also debate the Hague Appeal: “This House will abolish war!” or re-run the famous Oxford Union debate of 1934: “This house would not fight for King and Country.” (The motion was carried but 6 years later, most of its participants were fighting in the Second World )
  • Extend the debate about the need for War: set up individual kids to argue with the Figure of War – and keep swapping roles to throw up a bunch of ideas about the nature and value of warfare;
  • Ghosts: In the famous poem by Wilfred Owen, a recently dead soldier meets one of his dead enemies with the famous line, “I am the enemy you killed, my friend!” Imagine two dead soldiers meeting in the after-life: what would they talk about??
  • The end of the War song has the dying soldiers crying to God to “come and save us!” Imagine God weighing up his/her answer: is present warlike  humanity  worth  saving or should  they be subjected to the nuclear equivalent of Noah’s flood? Have different kids playing “God”!

Production Notes: We have no band score for the War song, only an orchestral one that runs to 20 pages, and is hard for a normal band arranger to read! Sorry. We are working on getting one done, but most arrangers have been able to develop their own score. If you cannot do this, replace the song with “World”. For information, call Rosey Simonds at the Peace Child International office.

                           LESSON THREE                          


The purpose of this brief lesson is to put  the children of the  cast in the position of young people of their age in a world in which  war  is completely  unthinkable.  Their debate on the nature of war allows them to go further than the first scene – and will help them understand the role of the Storyteller’s group better.

Discussion Points:

In England as I write this, a much-loved TV hostess is shot dead on her doorstep; three nail bombs kill and maim hundreds of people in London; two political leaders who were rock ‘n roll-loving children of the ’60s are waging a murderous war against innocent civilians in a European country. Isn’t it na1ve to think that war is unthinkable? Would a Global Police Force help?

‘Child Soldiers: do you know that there are perhaps 300,000 young people under 18 in armies around the world. Some are under 10. Many have killed people. Commanders like child soldiers because they are fearless and brutal: they kill casually and seem to enjoy it. And if they get killed, it is no big deal. Imagine a rebel army comes to your town, kills your parents and local leaders: you are captured by them and forced to train as a soldier. You refuse: you die. How would you react??

  • Try the Child Soldier scene above: have different kids play the commander and the child. Swap
  • Try a time-warp scene: a child of 2050 meets a Roman Centurion for whom honour and death are paramount. Have the child of 2050 persuade him he is on the wrong side of history.


                           LESSON  FOUR                          


The  purpose of  this lesson is  to introduce  the cast to the history of  the Hague Appeal for Peace. Because this guide is being written before the meeting, I cannot tell you the outcomes. Also, you will note that, for dramatic effect, the youth are somewhat spurned at the start of the meeting – something that never happened at the actual meeting where the youth  component  was given great prominence.


The Hague Appeal for Peace is the most comprehensive strategy for achieving peace ever attempted. It set out, soberly and seriously, to achieve the primary aim of the UN Charter which is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of .. ” While acknowledging that the 20th Century was the “bloodiest, most war-ridden in history,” it also points out the immense advances humanity has made in the fields of science, medicine and the promotion of democracy. It asserts that peace and the abolition of war is a realisable goal. The Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century is a superb and comprehensive document which I urge every producer and every cast member of a Peace Child show to read and study in depth before attempting to do the play. There is no facet of the business of peace-making that it does not address.

In particular, it focuses on four main strands:

1) disarmament and human security;

2) prevention, resolution and transformation of violent conflict;

3) Law and Institutions;

4) Root Causes of War.

The background to the meeting was UNESCO’s initiative for a Year of the Culture of Peace which links to the last strand. What is a “Culture of Peace”? – basically, one in which the various elements of the Hague Agenda combine in the collective consciousness of humanity and produce a peaceful, war-less world. There is no space here to review all those elements – many of them you can guess at: replacement of the law of force with the force of law – strengthening of the International Court of Justice and the International  Criminal  Court, support campaigns  for the banning of the arms trade and the use of child soldiers, universal peace education, democratisation of international decision-making, transfer of financial resources from the war machine to the peace machine, all human rights for all people, rapid deployment force – if necessary staffed by civil society – to prevent conflicts, etc. etc.

Read it, embrace it, and work its different strands into your production  of  Peace Child. You will undoubtedly create a better script, and far better peace-teaching vehicle, than this one which, rather mischievously and for comic and dramatic effect, lampoons the conference process

Book List
  • The Women’s Group (read the gender issues raised the Hague Agenda);
  • Military Conversion(read Seymour Melman’s famous book, Profit without Production, about conversion from military to civilian production.);
  • World Religion(get information about the World Conference on Religion and Peace);
  • Nuclear Abolition(read Jonathon Schell’s The Abolition and all material from the Abolition 2000 campaign)
Discussion Points:
  • Do you share the author’s disdain for international conferences? Do you think that they are, talk shops which, by definition, can take no action? Consider the lines of this poem:
The Development Set
  • The Development Set is bright and noble
  • Our thoughts are deep and our vision global
  • Although we move with the better classes
  • Our thoughts are always with the masses               


  • We discuss malnutrition during coffee breaks  
  • And plan hunger talks as they grill our steaks
  • Whether Asian floods or African drought
  • We face each issue with an open mouth


  • In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
  • We dream up multinational co-operations
  • Injustice seems too easy to protest
  • In such seething hot beds of social rest


  • We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
  • Raises difficulties for every solution
  • Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
  • By showing the need for another meeting

Discuss the issues raised in this anonymous poem;

  • What is not mentioned in this scene is that a European War supported by most of the

governments of the people attending the Hague Appeal was raging in Kosovo at the time of the meeting. Have a heckler raise this, or any other contemporary conflict issue, and demand that this issue be the focus of the meeting, thus rendering irrelevant all the other focus groups planned. Argue it out.

  • Are adults still so patronising of young people?? Probably not – and certainly not by 2050 by which time we feel that young people will be powerful and useful members of all social debates. Imagine a confrontation between a Victorian father who profoundly believes that “children should be seen and not heard” – and a young person of 2050 who feels that young people can be peace-makers as the Hague Agenda

  • L

                           LESSON  FIVE                          


Academic research shows that most adults – and most youth – have a poor opinion of young people. 75% of Americans believe that things will get worse during the next generation  rather than better. Youth, when mentioned in press or media stories, are more often shown in a negative light – taking drugs, committing violent crimes, acting irresponsibly. Positive stories about youth are still very rare.

Book List:
  • The role of Children in Governance, David Woollcombe, Durham, 1998. An exploration into the different ways that young people participate in the governance of the societies in which they  live;
  • The Children’s Participation Handbook, Roger Hart, Earthscan/UNICEF, 1997; a comprehensive global survey of children in roles of responsibility around the world;
  • Listening to smaller voices, Jo Hill, E Ivan-Smith, Johnson; Action Aid, London (1995). Brilliant study of youth roles in Nepal, Uganda and elsewhere in developing country societies;
  • Taking Part, Gerison Lansdown, IPPR, London (1995); an analysis of the ways that young people take part in decision-making post the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Youth Citizenship and Social Change, Jones and Wallace, Open University Press(1992); A basic primer on youth participation in the UK and Europe;
Discussion Points
  • What would an International Police Force look like?? The NYPD with tanks & missiles?
  • What do you think a “big Federal World Government” would look like?
  • Research this tax they talk about: James Tobin won\he Nobel Prize for Economics for his suggestion of this tax but, when the senior world governments discussed it at a G-7 Summit in Halifax, Canada in 1996, they rejected it in 20 minutes. Why? – because national governments are terrified of any one else collecting taxes as this would threaten their national sovereignty. Why is everyone so frightened of the idea of world government??
  • Drop In THREE: Discuss the things that your cast would like to see in a peaceful world. Refer to the ideas raised by the group doing Lesson One, and see if some of them can be incorporated.
  • Try some red herrings and other improvisations to throw out  a big list of  ideas, then select democratically which your cast likes
  • Discuss the Hague Model United Nations resolutions: get hold of one of their reports – e-mail them at It is a wonderful selection of solutions to world Get their reports off the Internet – and flesh out the scene with some of the best of them. Each year provides new twists to old issues.
  • If you want to read the major issues under consideration by the United Nations itself, read: A Global Agenda by UNA-USA(1999 + Annually) published by Rowman & Littlefield; or check  out the Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs(1999 + Annually) published by Norton
  • In our GEO book, David Cornwell(aka the Novelist John Le Carre) states that “Human Greed will be the most devastating issue facing us in the next century .. .” Do you think we can abolish human greed or, at least, mitigate its worst effects?
  • Debate: “This House believes that kids can do nothing to save the human family”
  • The taking of land: ask one of your pupils if you can look at their watch. Take it, examine it, express your appreciation of it, and then announce that you are going to keep it. Assess the reaction of different pupils and see if there is a way that peace can be secured without you returning the watch you have taken;
  • The Red Herring: this is a technique that delivers interesting improvisations, especially after the cast are familiar with the scripted dialogue. You lay a red herring across the dialogue path to send it shooting off in a different direction. There are good opportunities in this scene, for example, on Page 11: when Youth 8 says, “It’d be chaos!” – have them say instead: “That’s right! We must do that – but how?” – and then get the rest of the group to continue the dia­ logue;
  • Another red herring can happen at the bottom of that page: when Youth 7 says, “You really don’t think … “have them say instead: “That’s the only solution!: – and argue in favour of mil­ itary solutions to land-tenure conflicts. See where the discussion
  • Try another Red Herring in the Saskia-Osvaldo dialogue on Page 15: after Saskia says, “It could happen…” have Osvaldo say: “It will!!” – then force him to explain why and

Production Notes: Again, we have only an instrumental version of “Look at Life” on the tape. Sorry, but we used it a lot in the early versions of the show, but not recently. You can, of course, leave it out completely – but we think that it gives a festive, upbeat addition to the kids dialogue.  “I want to live” expresses a major theme for the show, but some casts find it very cheesey, and use only one verse of it – as in the vocal tape. You decide: it sounds very good if a girl sings one  verse, a boy the second, then they sing a duet together on the last verse. Do get  your music director to set the song in a key appropriate to both singers as it is horrible if either voice has to strain for the notes!




The purpose of this lesson is to draw together the ideas raised in the previous Act One lessons to develop a comprehensive theory of

  1. a) what a world at peace would look like? – and
  2. b) how you might, in theory, achieve it? If time allows, have a plenary with the entire cast to decide how the outcomes of the previous five lessons can feed into this
Book List:
  • Beijing Platform of Action for Women; United Nations
  • Human Development Report 1995, UNDP /Oxford; Gender and developme!lt – learn just how far women are discriminated against;
  • Consumption Issues: Human Development Report 1998, UNDP /Osford: has all the up-to-date facts about the inequalities in our world;
  • Abolition 2000: their material and website will give you all the material you need to fill out the background to the debate on the abolition of nuclear
Discussion Points:
  • Women Debate: “This house believes that a world led by women would avoid wars!”
  • Education Debate: “This house believes that a generation educated in the ways of peace would not make war!”
  • Drop In FOUR: The Youth Statement: discuss every point they make – eliminate war, environ­ ment security council, ending poverty, teaching tolerance, international system of justice – and then figure out what they have left out?? Make a list and discuss each idea in detail, checking whether all believe it really is fundamental to a peaceful world. Thrash this one around the entire group until all are happy that they have exhausted their ideas for what lies at the foun­ dation of a peaceful world.
  • Once you have a statement, think of all the reasons an adult – or a government – would tear it apart. Debate: “This house believes the kid’s statement is rubbish!”
  • Do you buy the kids innocent appeal: “Reach out – put your hand in mine, See, see how we shine!”? How else might the kids win over the adults with crushed egos?
  • To strengthen the cast’s commitment to the various components of their statement, have an improvisation in which a skeptic casts huge doubts over each element of it. Swap the kids so that they have a chance to argue both for the statement and against it – like in the
  • Great Red Herring opportunity on Page 21: after Youth 7 talks about getting it implemented, have the Convenor say: “Get it implemented? – what nonsense! That’s no part of the plan!” – and enjoy!

Production Notes: Several producers wonder what to do if they do not know Powerpoint, and do not have a computer projector. Simple: use a flip chart with pre-drawn sketches. The only point here is to show that the kids are very well prepared coming out of their caucus.



The purpose of this lesson is to explore the most obvious obstacles to peace, as experienced by any kid who has tried to start a peace group. By defining them, the cast can think about how to overcome them.

The Military Industrial Complex: What is it?  In shorthand, you can say it is where government, foreign policy, the army, the airforce and the navy + big business meet to create a market so that they can all make money. Here are the famous words that US President Dwight D Eisenhower used to explain it:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist… We must also become alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. I don’t want to see us subsidise fraud and incompetence.  I don’t want  to see people who have a financial stake in crisis and tensions to have a voice in national policy.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children … This is not a way of life in any  true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Remember, Dwight Eisenhower was a conservative, Republican president. Arguably the most celebrated US general this century, his words cast a long shadow over the morality of the military. Read up about him – see what else lie did, and what he thought about war and the military industrial complex.

Read up also materials produced by the Campaign against the Arms Trade – the failure of  the UN, or any one else, to make an accurate register of arms sold, in spite of many attempts. Read about the proliferation of small arms – rifles, pistols etc. – which terrorist armies use, and which are still virtually uncontrolled. Read about how the greed and corruption and the arms traders feed weapons into the hands of almost any tinpot dictator who wants them – and how the super­ powers are the biggest arms traders of all, encouraging poor countries to buy by offering them preferential loans. This is  the  whole  disgusting  mess of  the  Military  Industrial  Complex  –  which is why it must be extremely sinister and menacing in the staging of the song.

Discussion Points:
  • “Fear, racial hatred and insecurity… ” What other elements are the root causes of war that must remain in order to allow the Military Industrial Complex to grow rich?
  • What does it take to be seriously rich? A million dollars a year? Five million dollars in the bank?
  • Is being rich at all a sin? Does it mean that you are somehow depriving poor people of their stages of stupor and undress scattered about their home. Have their child try to defend the fun they have had.

After Saskia accuses the MIC Man of being “Mad and Dangerous”, have the MIC man reply, “No! -you are!” “Why?!” asks Saskia. Let him explain.

Production Notes: The arrangement of Military Industrial Complex on the cassette is far too bouncey and jolly for my liking – but it is the one we used a lot because it is up tempo and fun and fits the nonsense words. Try, in your arrangement, to make it more sinister, more menacing – and reflect that menace in the lighting and the dance, so that it comes across as a genuine night­ mare dream sequence.



The purpose of this lesson is to draw into the discussion some parents of cast members, who will probably form a majority of the audience for this production. How real is the generation gap in their minds, and in the minds of the cast members. If there is such a gap, what are its major components?

Book List:

Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger; Turgenev, Father and Son; The last picture show etc. etc.

Discussion Points:

Discuss the following issues with the parents and cast members –

  • “Isn’t creating world peace and saving starving people more important than passing exams?” Possibly – if Saskia or any kid had any realistic chance of doing so. Is she not being insufferably na1ve? – and isn’t school work rather important?
  • “Our Dutch consumer lifestyle requires we have a country the size of Portugal!” This is the ecological footprint theory which endeavors to calculate exactly how much land each person needs to support their life-style. Look at your larder, wardrobe, sitting room: think how many acres it has taken to create it all! Is that fair to the poor people of the world?!
  • “At least I do something productive. All you do is talk!” – fair criticism??
  • “I shall find the money myself!” If you live in a prosperous country, is this possible??  Do you buy the fact that Saskia just goes and does it? Isn’t this a tad unrealistic??
  • The scene ends abruptly with Saskia storming out. Have Saskia carry on the argument with her father and mother until she gets the money out of them – but make the parents in the improvisation force her to fight very hard for it! Have each cast member play Saskia so that all have to articulate why they feel what she is trying to do is so important.
  • Have the MIC Man walk in on the scene – let him support the arguments of the parents, and see what this does to the dynamic of the
  • The classic generation gap improvisation: Mum and Dad come home unexpectedly to find kids having a party. Don’t try to stage the party! – just stage the dialogue  between  parents and child as the parents survey the wreckage of their home, and the young people in various minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed … “
  • This eloquent appeal for peace education has been all but ignored by the world’s governments: how many lessons do you have on the thinking of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, compared to those you have on great wars of the past? Why do you think there is so little Peace Education?
  • Peacemakers are rarely wealthy: a vow of poverty seems to go with the territory. Do you think it is possible to be both rich and at peace?
  • Think about the Wise Woman: get each member of your group think up five details about her life – from her childhood, to her career, her family, the books she reads, the music she likes etc.
  • Debate: This House believes the wise woman misleads kids in a criminally negligent way!
  • The end of this scene is absurd, isn’t it?! I mean, how would a little Dutch girl and  a  boy  from Ecuador decide in all seriousness to set  out  and  march  around  the  world  with  kids  they  could gather from the barrios?? Check through history: have such things  happened  before?  (Jesus disciples??)
  • Hold a Quaker meeting! Get a Quaker to introduce it and give a history of the Quaker move­ ment; then sit and have people speak only if they feel absolutely compelled to do so. It’s great if they keep silent for an hour, and  no one speaks! Real Peace!
  • Love your enemy! Set up a hate figure – Milosevic, Satan, Hitler. Have 2 kids go at him/her. One outlines the reasons he\she hates the figure, the other the reasons he/ she is able to love him/her!
  • Two Red Herrings you can try: on Page 28, when Osvaldo asks, “So you know why we’ve come?” have the Wise Woman say, “I haven’t a clue: what can I do for you?” – and get Saskia and Osvaldo to improvise through the rest of the scene; on Page 29, when the wise woman says, “So you know what to do now?” – have Osvaldo reply, “No – “and let the wise woman and Saskia make a variety of suggestions – differen t .from the ones written in the script.• Imagine a meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King: what do you think they might have said to each other?

Production Notes: “I have a vision” is probably the most powerful and difficult solo in the whole show. This is a number for your best singer – one with a big range and a strong, resonant voice.



The purpose of this lesson is to ensure that all cast members have a sense of the North-South divide. If you are doing this in the Northern or Industrialised world, few, if any, of your cast members will ever have been to a developing country. For this scene, they need to be able to smell the barrios.

Background: The early Peace Child shows dealt with the division between East and West – the Cold War. Now, a Cold War of a different sort is being fought between the North and South, and the gap is even wider. All the wealth and most of the power is in the North – in the hands of banks, arms dealers, governments and international institutions. In many ways, economic impe­ rialism is more effective than political imperialism – as when scientist from big pharmaceutical companies, come to the rain forest, steal medicines from indigenous tribes, take them home, patent them and sell them back to the poor countries as medicines that they have invented!  Resentment runs high – and yet, all will tell you how resilient poor people are; how magnificent are their cultures and traditions, and how they shame those of us who live in the so-called devel­oped world by their simple, sustainable life-styles.

Book List:
  • Look up Ecuador and Guayaqil in an Encyclopaedia and see what it tells you about the area that Saskia visits. Also check out the Andes MountainS, Incas and the horrific stories of the conquest of the Incas by the Spanish. See too how Ecuador has grown towards democracy through several military dictatorships, some very
  • Check out old National Geographic magazines – see if you can find one on
  • Look up the statistics on Ecuador in the UNDP Human Development Report: see how it lies way above Peru and Bolivia in terms of its human development,  but  way below  Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile. Look at the statistics on phones: 4.9 per 100 people, com­ pared  to 79 per  100 in the USA. 8.3 TVs per hundred  Ecuadorians against 89 per hundred in the USA.
  • For impressions of Latin American life and history, read Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits, or Gabriel Garcia Marques’ 100 years of solitude, or the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Look at films like Central Station which portray life in Latin America; Listen to the music of Juan Luis Guerra;
  • Imagine this scene set in another country that you may have studied or visited: improvise how would the scene be different?
  • Stage an argument between one who believes passionately that the countries of the North should provide more assistance to those of the South. Make a list of the points raised, and see whether they have any relevance to the scene?
  • Try a red herring in the middle of Page 26: after Committee 1 asks “What do you suggest we do?”, Committee 2 retort: “How can she possibly know what we should do? – she lives in a European country: she has no idea of the situation here!” Osvaldo and others live within it.
  • Is their conversation realistic? Isn’t it better to show how hard it is to bridge the North-South divide? Re-write through improvisations where they do NOT reach a happy resolution….
    • Debate: “This house would increase aid to the countries of the South”

Production Notes: Dress this scene with as much colour as possible – streamers, balloons,   banners, – anything that gives it the impression of being festive. Half the battle is having good salsa music loudly amplified; also make sure that you have the girls in colourful Latin dresses.  Do not try to be too elaborate in creating a set for this scene. A table and a couple of chairs is all you need. Isolate a small area of the stage for the scene with lighting.





The purpose of this lesson is to show how long, and how passionately, certain  people have worked for peace. It is, in many ways, a long and glorious history: its heroes are not as well­ known as Alexander the Great, Napoleon or Bismarck and the other military heroes, but consider the writings of some of the best of them – and consider joining their number!

“The force of non-violence is infinitely more wonderful than material forces like electricity. The men who discovered the law of love were greater scientists than any of our modern scientists. The more I work at this law, the more I feel the delight in lzfe, a delight in the scheme of the universe… Though tyrannies may seem invincible, they all eventually crumble. The way of truth and Iove will always prevail.”       Mahatma Gandhi

“To our most bitter opponents, we say: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we shall continue to love you. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our chil­ dren and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities and the midnight hour and beat us and leave us for dead, and still we shall love you. But be ye assured that one day, we shall wear you down with our capacity to suffer. One day, we shall win freedom and, when we do, it will not only be for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and consience, we shall win you too, so it will be a double victory.”           Martin Luther King

Book List:
  • The Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita and other devotional
  • The UN charter, the UN Declarations & Conventions of Human Rights, women’s rights, chil- dren’s rights, development, on genocide, setting up an International Criminal Court
  • Where do we go now?, Martin Luther King’s famous essays against the Vietnam War;
  • Love is letting go of fear, Gerald Jampolsky: the roots of love and inner Peace;
  • New Genesis, Robert Muller: a former UN employee rhapsodizes on a peaceful future;
  • The Search for Peace, J.Jacobs; A History of the United Nations;
  • Planethood, Ken Keyes and Ben Ferencz – a fascinating vision of the planet as ore nation;


Discussion Points:
  • Consider: people say we have been at peace more or less since the end of the 2nd world war – and yet, twice this year, the UK and USA have been at war! Do you think we are moving towards, or away from, a more peaceful world??
  • The preamble to UNESCO’ s charter states, “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed … ” This eloquent appeal for peace education has been all but ignored by the world’s governments: how many lessons do you have on the thinking of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, compared to those you have on great wars of the past? Why do you think there is so little Peace Education?
  • Peacemakers are rarely wealthy: a vow of poverty seems to go with the territory. Do you think it is possible to be both rich and at peace?
  • Think about the Wise Woman: get each member of your group think up five details about her life – from her childhood, to her career, her family, the books she reads, the music she likes etc.


Debate: “This House believes the wise woman misleads kids in a criminally negligent way!” The end of this scene is absurd, isn’t it?!· I mean, how would a little Dutch girl and a boy from Ecuador decide in all seriousness to set out and march around the world with kids they could gather from the barrios?? Check through history: have such things happened before? (Jesus disciples??)

  • Hold a Quaker meeting! Get a Quaker to introduce it and give a history of the Quaker movement; then sit and have people speak only if they feel absolutely compelled to do so. It’s great if they keep silent for an hour, and no one speaks! Real Peace!
  • Love your enemy! Set up a hate figure – Milosevic, Satan, Hitler. Have 2 kids go at him/her. One outlines the reasons he\she hates the figure, the other the reasons he/ she is able to love him/her!
  • Two Red Herrings you can try: on Page 28, when Osvaldo asks, “So you know why we’ve come?” have the Wise Woman say, “I haven’t a clue: what can I do for you?” – and get Saskia and Osvaldo to improvise through the rest of the scene; on Page 29, when the wise woman says, “So you know what to do now?” – have Osvaldo reply, “No – “and let the wise woman and Saskia make a variety of suggestions – different from the ones written in the
  • Imagine a meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King: what do you think they might have said to each other?

Production Notes: “I have a vision” is probably the most powerful and difficult solo in the whole show. This is a number for your best singer – one with a big range and a strong, resonant voice.



The purpose of this lesson is to help the kids map out their Great March for Peace, visting current conflict zones, establishing where they meet the soldiers and the ‘dangerous terrorists’ etc. The lesson also looks at the critical role of the Media.


Try to find a book called The Children’s Crusade – a wonderful book about the 12th Century crusade by children that tried to succeed  in  the Holy Land where their father’s  had failed. It was a disaster – with hundreds of the children dying etc. But it is the obvious precedent for the scene we have in mind here.

The Great March for Peace: this started with great fanfare in Los Angeles in J 986 but ran out of money days later a few miles into the California desert. Several of those who started continued using their own funds and raising money as they went along the way – reaching Washington DC some months later and forming a human chain  between  the White House and  the Soviet Embassy. A moving event.

The March to end Child Labour: Organised by the Anti-Slavery group and others in 1998, this 3-route march started in Nepal and passed through every continent with the three routes meeting up in Geneva at the start of an Intl. Labour Organisation’s annual meeting. It didn’t achieve an end to Child Labour, but it did draw attention to the issue.

There have been many marches of the kind we outline here: try to find information on some of them, so that you can flesh out your own reality for this scene.

  Discussion Points:
  • Drop In SIX: This is very similar to Drop In FIVE, except that in this scene, Saskia has to succeed in persuading the kids to join the March. You cannot afford to make it too long and elaborate – Act Two is too long any way, and should probably be cut, but see if you can add some cutting arguments of your own
  • Is it brave or stupid when the kids put flowers in the guns of the soldiers? Do your parents or teachers remember this scene on the front page of every newspaper following the riots at Kent State,
  • Peace is pretty embarrassing for the Commander, isn’t it? Do you think he joins the March? Debate: “This house can think of absolutely no reason why any intelligent person would want to join the army!”
  • Drop In SEVEN: Where do you want to go today?? It is good to draw attention to the children suffering in real wars in this scene – think of the Child Soldiers in the Lords Republican Army in Uganda; think of the victims of the shooting at the school in Littleton Colorado or Dunblane; it is a chance for the children of Peace Child to honour the victims of violence. Research and create a good
  • Do you think the Media is an improving influence on society or a bad influence?
  • The Press men here are presented in caricatures, like in Ben Hecht’s comedy, The Front Page. If you were presenting an accurate portrait of pressmen, what qualities would you try to emphasise?
  • Do you usually believe what you read in the newspapers?? Do you think they lie a lot?
  • Debate: “This House believes that the Pen is mightier than the sword!”
  • The March is finally successful: imagine how easily it could have failed. What kept it going??
  • Imagine Saskia and Osvaldo were seasoned media professionals: how would they have answered the Press Questions? Re-run the scene with Osvaldo and Saskia as Presidential candidates!
  • Imagine if one of the soldiers had shot a child – by mistake maybe, or because he thought he would be punished if he did nothing. Improvise the aftermath of the tragedy. Would the children give up?

Production Notes: It is almost impossible to do this scene without a live band or piano player: copying and re-copying cassettes is too complicated! Use the aisles, use every part of the  theatre to give the impression of the children getting everywhere around  the world. And have them stay in the aisles through the next scene – a hovering presence, forcing a productive meeting with the US President.



The purpose of  this lesson is to help the cast get a handle on the US post-Cold War policy. Why on earth do they insist on holding on to so many nuclear weapons now that the Soviet Union has collapsed and Russia has joined the G-7 to make them the G-8? This scene can take some radical re-writing as much of it dates from the first Peace Child show of 1981.

Background: During the super-power rivalry of the Cold War, thousands of nuclear warheads were targeted by the USA and USSR on each other. It was a tense stand-off: the weapons were on hair-trigger alert and nuclear accidents were an ever-present threat: a flock of birds on radar once set off a nuclear attach warning; a bomb dropped out of a plane over North Carolina and almost

  • went off! Now the threat of nuclear war is over, but the threat of nuclear accidents is not. There is no logic in the President’s position that he has to hang on to his nukes, beyond ego – and the fact because of the US Super-Power status; he loses face immensely if he chooses to disarm. Britain and France are in the same illogical/logical

However, you and the cast have to choose what focus you want to give the scene: maybe you feel that a Pax Americana – peace around the world enforced by American troops – is a desirable situation. Or maybe you want to talk about environmental leadership: the average American consumes 200 times more in his/her life than the average Indian so sustainable consumption patterns is not something that the US can give great leadership in.

Book List:
  • Deadly Gambits by Strobe Story of Geneva arms negotiations by top Time Magazine correspondent now an official in Clinton’s State Department;
  • Survival is not enough by Richard Pipes. Conservative review of US Foreign
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Life amongst the Diplomats by Lawrence Durrell. Get the inside view of diplomatic presentational style from a witty ex-diplomat. Is it ridiculous or what?!
  • US News Magazines and Newspapers -CNN, Voice of America-get an impression of how America projects itself to the
Discussion Points:
  • This whole scene seems intent on revealing the private man behind the public figure – an approach that got President Clinton into a great deal of trouble. How much do you  think  that a President can reveal his private feelings, and how much do you think that he has to maintain a public persona??
  • You get the impression that the President really wants to help, to take the children’s side but is prevented from doing so. Is this accurate? Who would “eat him for breakfast if he even tried?”
  • 42 Wars and 33 unresolved conflicts… Update yourself on these facts, and figure exactly how these statistics are arrived at: is it conflicts that cause 1,000+ deaths a year? – or what constitutes a war?
  • Mr President: Ripe for a re-write! Set your cast to work to get the verses to include their most pressing requests to the President;
  • Peace Day? The writing of Peace Child coincided closely with the creation by the UN of an International Day of Peace on the 3rd Tuesday of September – the opening day of the UN General Assembly Do you think it would be a good idea to have a popular Peace Day – when the whole world celebrates? A kind of Christmas at the end of Summer in the North, a spring holiday in the south?? Could it happen??
  • Debate: “This House believes that Nuclear Weapons have no useful purpose and should be abolished!”
  • This whole scene can be improvised from the old idea: “If you had 5 minutes alone with the President….” Ask each member of the cast to think up five things that they would really, really like to ask the Set up different kids as the President, and have each kid put their questions. See where this takes the scene.
  • A red herring on Page 38: after the President says, “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle…” have Kid 5 say, “You’re right! What can we do??”
  • “Powerless though I am..” Come off it!! You are the President of the world’s remaining Superpower – argue it both ways with different kids taking the role of Pres. and his
  • Work through the scene with a female president varying the lines as the girl playing her wishes: how does this alter the content and the dynamic of the

Production Notes: There is a great danger of the kids around the President getting cocky and rude. Preserve a respect for him by the kids, and the dignity of the office. The key to the scene is that both the President and the kids earn the respect of the other – even become fond of each other. It is very important that this fondness be established in order for the next scene to work.



The purpose of this lesson is to convince your cast that what happens in it is not an absurd flight of fancy. It is something that, like the ending of Apartheid and the fall of the Berlin wall, seems extremely unlikely at the moment but yet which will happen in some way in their lifetimes.


The background to this scene is that Peace Child has been working with the United Nations for some time to find a better way for this international organisation  to relate  to young people- and to make young people feel invested in its important goals. Though it has passed many resolutions about “forging partnerships with young people”, it has proved bad at implementing those partnerships: the cultures of youth and international diplomacy are perhaps too different. But, as we see in this scene, the culture of youth may, ultimately, be more effective in promoting world peace than professional diplomacy.

Book List:
  • The Pathology of Power by Norman Cousins. A Final testament on the way that power corrupts by one the finest US peacemakers, and also a leading light in the World Federalist
  • Einstein on Peace by Albert Einstein. Selected writings from the great man. World Without Borders by Lester Brown. Classic argument for internationalism;
  • The Different Drum Community and Peace by Scott Peck. A wonderfully readable account by the popular psychiatrist on how peace is sourced in the relationships built up in a genuine community.
  • Towards an Alternative Security System by Robert C. Johansen, World Policy Institute
Discussion Points:
  • “World Federation of Democracies” – this is the World Federalists dream, and it has been going around since the 1930s and 40s. It would seem to be obvious that, at some stage, the democracies of the world will come together in a Federation, but how and when is uncertain. Sovereign nations with the power to raise taxes, to fight and kill with their armies and their diplomatic immunity to prosecution for any crime from wholesale fraud to non-payment of parking tickets, are reluctant to give up their power and privilege. What do you think will force them to do this?? Another war? – or is a peaceful transition possible?
  • Which national leaders would you choose to speak at the UN? – it’s good to start with the US
  • President because we already know him, and he is the kids’ friend, but after that, it could be any one. For the story, they have to be mean, and reject the kids’ solutions – but any one can be mean, even the British!
  • What’s a “Millennial Gift”? – this is an idea that has been circulating for some time in NGO circles: it would be something like forgiving Third World Debt, or cancelling a nuclear or chemical weapons programme – something that is daring and in the long-term interests of  the people of the planet. It is not something done just by governments: individuals and NGOs should makes these gifts to the future too: what would your’s be?
  • Drop In EIGHT: Which problems do you want to solve today? It is good if this relates to the Youth Statement (Drop In FOUR) but the group should survey the list of current conflicts and global challenges, decide which they most want to solve and put them in the
  • If you have ever been to the United Nations, you will know that security is tight: so why do you think the kids are not thrown out when they take over the Security Council? How can you make this realistic?
  • Isn’t “United Nations” a contradiction in terms? – how can you unite nations which are defined by their separate, sovereign status? Isn’t it like “United Eggs” – if you want to unite them, first you have to smash the egg?
  • “In and through community lies the salvation of our world” – this is the first line of M. Scott Peck’s book. True?? – aren’t some of the best communities those created by kids in schools and camps? How can kids give leadership to the creation of a global community??
  • “Anyone who believes that world peace won’t be established until religious and cultural differences are obliterated – until all Jews become Christians, or all Christians Muslims, or all Muslims Hindus – is part of the problem! If ‘One World’ meant a melting  pot in  which every­ thing comes out a bland mush instead  of  a salad  of  varied  ingredients  and  textures,  I’m  not sure that the outcome would be palatable. The solution lies  in  the  opposite  direction  –  in learning how to appreciate,  yea! Celebrate  cultural  .. ”  Peck.  We  believe  this!! Peace Child does not want to have anything to do with bland mushes! What do you think?
  • All the solutions the children seem to reach in the Drop In section seem to involve some sur­ render of nationhood. Is that not extremely un-patriotic?? Is it possible to be Patriotic and a Peace-maker at the same time?
  • There’s a fun Monty Python sketch where a group of famous people are trying to outdo each other in describing the misery of their childhood. As I remember, it gets increasingly absurd with one of them claiming to have been “brought up in a shoe-box in the middle of the City Road in Bradford, being run over by the 27 bus every 20 minutes.” “That’s nothing to what I suffered … ” etc. You get the idea. Now do  this with Millennial Gifts: imagine a group of retired world leaders sitting round in about 2010, trying to outdo each other with  the generosity of their Millennial Gifts… “That’s nothing to what I gave! ..”
  • Patriot meets Peacemaker! Stage a confrontation between one who believes “My country! Right or Wrong!” and the peacemaker who is happy to surrender national interests in a second in the cause of creating

Production Notes: It is important to give the impression of the Horseshoe table on the stage. It will take a few moments to set up, maybe with green baize spread over an arrangement of desks with a hardboard cut out of the horseshoe laid over them. Also, you should get hold of a UN flag and hang it above the table. The Secretary General’s chair should be an impressive one.

Music: There is a much longer version of “Child for a Day”, with two additional verses. Cat Stevens sang it on his last album, Izitso. Most musical directors feel that the shortened version says it all, but if you want the longer one, contact Rosey Simonds at the Peace Child International office.



The purpose of this lesson is to draw together the themes of the previous lessons, and plan, as a group, what might happen after the curtain comes down on the final performance. It is our hope that all participants in Peace Child shows become activists in some degree following the experience: that follow-up  requires  planning at an early stage. NOW!      ·

Background: While Peace Child was working on the US-Soviet issue in the 1980s, there were chapters all across the USA with an Annual Conference etc. The chapters used to organise international tours with children from regions of conflict – and performing a show in which children from different sides of a conflict acted out a story of how they made peace was an extraordinary and empowering event for both performers and audience. Unfortunately, though there are always billions of dollars available for warfare, there is never any money available for peace­making initiatives of this kind. Also, often the children involved in the conflict feel that it is dangerous, or naive, or inappropriate for them to be involved in a “play” about peace: the issues are just too serious. It is not the business of Peace Child to force people to make peace: we just want to offer this instrument, this technology for peace-making should people want to use it.

However, if a producer in a country not at war is interested in putting together an International Production, contact Rosey Simonds at the Peace Child headquarters in the UK and we will be happy to help you put one together through our contacts.

Discussion Points:

Gandhi listed seven “Social Sins” –

  1. Politics without principles
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Science without humanity
  4. Wealth without work
  5. Knowledge without character
  6. Commerce without morality
  7. Worship without self-sacrifice

Consider your own society, its leaders, its wealthier members – and figure out how many of those sins they are guilty of; then consider, how many do you think you would be guilty of were you in their position?

A Dutch visionary, Fred Matser, once set up what he called the “Harmony Foundation” because he felt that there were three essential harmonies in life: 1) harmony between people and the natural world; 2) harmony between people; and 3) harmony within the spirit and body of each individual

Drop In NINE: Some casts have thought it unbearably cheesey that the Story-teller might be Osvaldo grown old: think who else he could be? A War orphan from Kosovo; a child soldier from Sierra Leone – a former UN Secretary General??!! Think of all the things he could possibly have been – then fill in your own scene and background  to the mystery. The key part of the drop is the Final Speech: this can relate to any local or global situation that the cast feel is the most important. You might look back at the Resolutions you chose for Drop In Two – see if you can link them to what the story teller talks about. We recommend that it includes some urging to the audience to go out and do something to promote peace – in their lives and in the world at large.