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Playbill detail

The Ragged Child

A Musical in 2 Acts. Music by David Nield, book and lyrics by Jeremy James Taylor and Frank Whately

Sadler's Wells Theatre, London - 20 January, 1988

Synopsis

A stark and moving account of child deprivation in London in the 1850s which won the coveted Edinburgh Fringe Festival Award, The Ragged Child is about the plight of the poor and destitute, mirrored in the tragic lives of Joe Cooper and his sister Annie. We see Lord Shaftesbury fighting for the education of the ignorant and illiterate poor in the House of Lords, and, from an inauspicious beginning, the 'Ragged Schools' are founded with Lord Shaftesbury as President, but it is too late for Joe and Annie. Based on an important chapter in social history, this show is an ideal vehicle for school projects involving the music, drama and history departments.

Minimum cast:

23 male, 13 female (can be expanded)

  • A Judge 
  • Aggy - a Streetwalker
  • Alice Smith - a Street Trader
  • Annie Cooper age 11
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper - 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
  • Australian Judge 
  • Ben - a boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • Bill - a Street entertainer
  • Billy - a boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • Charlie - a Street entertainer
  • Clerk of the Court 
  • Connie Crimple - a lodging house owner
  • Dorry - Street Urchins
  • Eaves - a boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • Ethel - a Fish-wife
  • Francis Ashley-Cooper - Age 13, son of Shaftesbury
  • George – a boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • George Lloyd - a Transportee
  • George Wilson - a Transportee
  • Joe Cooper - Age 13
  • John Giles - a crippled cobbler
  • Jolyon 
  • Lady Grangemouth  
  • Lady Shaftesbury 
  • Lady Ursula Epp 
  • Leary - a Thief. age 13
  • Lenigan - a Beggar
  • Little Eaves - a boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • Lord Flitterby 
  • Lord Ganlian 
  • Lord Greville 
  • Lord Shaftesbury - Father of Anthony
  • Mary  - Street Urchin
  • Matron at Harrow School
  • Miss Williams - a volunteer Ragged School teacher
  • Molly - a young Washer-woman
  • Mrs Ingleby  
  • Mrs O'Lafferty -  an Inebriate
  • Mrs Sterncastle  
  • Mrs Underby-Pugh 
  • Perkins - a Stall-holder
  • Polly - Street Urchin
  • 'Rob Roy' Mcgregor - a Scottish philantropist
  • Sam - a boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • Sir Giles Merridew  
  • Sir Peter Dykewater  
  • Stephen - A boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • Stephen Storey - an accountant and founder of the Ragged Schools Union
  • Syd - Head of a team of Mudlarkers
  • Teresa - a young aristocrat
  • The Crossing Sweeper (Tommy)
  • The Patterer - a Street-Singer
  • The Rev John Lowry - founder of the Ragged School Union
  • Thomas Cranfield - a clerk and founder of the Ragged Schools Union
  • Timothy - a young aristocrat
  • Tommy  -  boy in the Lodging House and a street urchin who becomes a member of the Bootblack Brigade.
  • William Smith - a merchant and founder of the Ragged Schools Union

Extras Policemen, Australian Policemen, Dock Officers, Flunkies, Sailors, Emigrants, Female Transportees, Maidservants, Indigents
 

Musical Numbers

  1. In the Devil's Acre
  2. Botany Bay
  3. The Ballad of Joe Cooper
  4. Ain't That a Bloomin' Shame?
  5. There'll Come a Day
  6. The Sores of London
  7. Cholery
  8. Let Them Starve
  9. Up and Be Doing
  10. There's a Friend For Life
  11. Work, Boys, Work
  12. London Town
  13. Here's To the Bootblacks
  14. Australia
  15. Home Sweet Home
  16. The Voyage

Instrumentation:

Pit Band (can be replaced by 1 keyboard player): clarinet db. bass clarinet, 2 horns, 2 percussion, piano db. harmonium, bass. Stage Band: flute, clarinet, cornet, trombone, percussion, violin

Recording: CD available on sale from Josef Weinberger