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Jack the Lad - Full Length Play, Comedy

Jack the Lad

David Wood, Dave Arthur, Toni Arthur

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Full Length Play, Comedy

6m, 4f, 3m or f

ISBN: 9780573018015

Book by David Wood
Music by Dave Arthur and Toni Arthur
To celebrate the eightieth birthday of Jack the Lad, the senior gypsy in the encampment, "Jack" songs and tales (like Little Jack Horner and Jack and the Beanstalk) are enacted with singing, dancing, a mumming play, a shadow mime and puppetry.…

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Media | Author(s) | Reviews
Acting Edition

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Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play


Theatre for Young Audiences, Fables/Folktales

Time Period - Greek; Roman & Biblical


Animal spot, Play w/ Music

Exterior Set

Period Costumes


No Special Cautions


Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)


College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre

Following the success of their collaboration on Robin Hood, David Wood and Dave and Toni Arthur wrote Jack the Lad, a musical celebration of Jack, the ubiquitous hero or everyman of English legend, myth and folklore – from Little Jack Horner, through Jack and the Beanstalk to Spring Heeled Jack, the Terror of London.

The setting is a gypsy encampment, where a series of Jack tales and songs are performed by the gypsies to celebrate the 80th birthday of their senior member – affectionately known as Jack the Lad. The play, therefore, depicts contemporary gypsy life, as well as traditional gypsy customs and superstitions, and is a delightful amalgam of the traditional arts of story-telling, singing and dancing, with a mumming play, a shadow-mime and puppetry also employed within the main framework.


“…this marvellous show is a comic strip with music… for those who like the hand-clapping, foot-tapping, sing-a-long type of theatre it is a must… and that theatrical rarity these days – solid entertainment for ALL the family. … the whole mood is carried on outside the theatre and in the auditorium with fortune-tellers, hedgehog crisps, candy floss and fiddle players galore giving the whole theatre a showground feel… it is hard to imagine anyone not liking this vibrant and refreshing treat.” - Oldham Evening Chronicle

“…a highly unusual musical… with colourful music, lots of dancing and movement it all adds up to a very pleasant and unsophisticated entertainment which might well provide a first-class Christmas show.” - The Stage

Jack the Lad was commissioned by the Manchester Theatre Library Company, the play was first presented at the Library Theatre, Manchester in 1984.



6m, 4f, 3m or f


Roles for Children


Plus dog


N/A (Not a musical)

JACK - 80 year old family elder
NELSON - Jack's son, 50-ish
MARIA - Jack's daughter-in-law, Nelson's wife, 40-ish
ZELDY - Jack's granddaughter, Nelson and Maria's daughter, 20-ish
ROSE - Jack's daughter, 40s
TOM - Jack's son-in-law, Rose's husband, 40s
YOUNG JACK - Jack's grandson, Rose and Tom's son, 20s
FRANK - Jack's grandson, Rose and Tom's son, 20s
REUBEN - Jack's sister Alice's son, mid-30s
BETSY - Reuben's wife, mid-30s
DARREN, CHARLOTTE, JASON - Reuben and Betsy's young children
BESS - Nelson's lurcher dog

Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)



  • 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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