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The Papertown Paperchase - Short Play, Drama

The Papertown Paperchase

David Wood

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Short Play, Drama

12boy(s) or girl(s)

ISBN: 9780573050329

Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Wood
The Salamander, a sort of dragon, is in trouble with the Fireflies because he is unable to create a fire. To redeem himself he is sent on a mission to burn down Papertown. The townspeople gather their resources to meet the threat: even the two petty criminals. Blotch and Carbon, are released to join…

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Media | Author | Reviews
Acting Edition

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Minimum Fee: $45 per performance


Short Play


Fantasy, Theatre for Young Audiences


Play w/ Music

The Salamander, a sort of dragon, is in trouble with the Fire Flies, because he is unable to create a fire by breathing on a pile of sticks.

To redeem himself he is sent on a mission to burn down Papertown.

The paper inhabitants, including the Papertown Crier (a newspaper), the Postman (an envelope), Professor Paperback (a book who runs the bookshop), Mr. Quid (a pound note who is the Bank Manager) and Lady Carrier Bag – gather their resources to meet the threat. Spike the Pen (the litter collector), Fireman Silver, and even the cheeky Litterbug become involved, and the two petty criminals, Blotch and Carbon, are released to join the forces.

In the end, Salamander, who has fallen for timid little Tishoo, joins the paper people in thwarting the Fire Flies, and Papertown is saved from destruction.


“…the moment the curtain went up to reveal an imaginative set swirling with smoke, the youngsters were captivated. If Steven Spielberg is the man with the magic films to entrance children into sitting still, then David Wood is ‘live’ theatre’s Spielberg…a winner.”South Wales Evening Post

"…a roaring success…a play with a good deal of thought-provoking stuff in it…a brilliant theatrical confection, it simply doesn’t have a dull moment. Tip top entertainment.” - Liverpool Daily Post

“The Papertown Paperchase provides children’s theatre for thinkers, for those with a sense of fun, mischief and compassion, in a style that is beautifully structured and varied in its pace…Wood’s way is to take simple every day objects and weave them into a fantasy in which all the essentials are included – baddies to hiss at, goodies to warm to, chases to set spines tingling with excitement…his stories are clear and moral but not pious, for Wood really does engage sympathies and give children an escape to where people love and care for one another.” - The Stage

“…one of Wood’s strongest texts. As with all his plays, the strength is not so much in richness of language, but in the storyline and crossroads with which he peppers the text…it is a neat moral maze, and all the better for that…exhilarating.” - The Guardian

“…an original and inspired plot to create a production which was not only entertaining but educational. From the moment the curtain rose, the young audience was fascinated by the tale of the Salamander banished from the land of fire for failing his fire-breathing test…lessons in the nuisance of scattering litter, the danger of fire and learning to settle problems without violence are cleverly hidden in the play, which is simple enough to capture the children’s imaginations without being patronising.” Hull Daily Mail

“…packed with ideas…we are bombarded with novel ideas such as the waste paper basket being the Papertown prison, and the firemen being made of silver paper because that does not burn.” - Kentish Independent

First produced by the Worcester Repertory Company at the Swan Theatre, Worcester for Christmas 1972.


12boy(s) or girl(s)


Flexible casting

Rental Materials
Piano/Vocal Score
  • David Wood on Doing It Yourself

  • David Wood on Getting Started As a Playwright

  • David Wood on Challenges In His Plays

  • Interview with David Wood

David Wood

David Wood

David Wood has been called "the national children’s dramatist" (London Times). His plays are performed worldwide, and include The Gingerbread Man, The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner, Save the Human, Aladdin, Hijack Over Hygenia, Jack the Lad, Larry the Lamb in Toytown, Old Mother Hubbard and The Ideal Gnome Expedition. Among his adaptations are eight Roald Dahl stories (The BFG, The Twits, The ... view full profile

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