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Teaching or directing tips Performing Shakespeare for kids

Plays with 20 or more characters

The beauty of Playing With Plays scripts is they are designed to be flexible, having 3 different cast sizes allowing the teacher and/or director to have a few or many kids. However, regarding the large cast size in each book, there are a few that have 20 or more characters. Allowing you to have larger cast sizes.

The list is below. BUT NOTE! Some of those characters will have only 1 or 2 lines, (maybe even zero!).

One of the handiest tools to help me cast these plays is the character line quantity sheet for each play. THIS PAGE WILL HELP YOU! Check it out, casting director!

The last trick that I do, when I have a larger cast, is to have many extras (townsfolk, pirates, monkies throwing… stuff, trees, etc.)

And lastly, what I typically do if I have this many kids, is to actually split the cast and do TWO plays. I pick two medium or smaller versions and have the kids start learning how to do self-directing! (it gives all kids more lines, too! – there are suddenly TWO leads, not one!) It simply opens up a lot of opportunities, that one show, on its own, can’t offer. It can be the same or different plays, too! But, that’s a post for another day!

The list of 20 or more character plays:

  • 12th Night – 21 characters
  • Alice – 22 characters
  • Beowulf – 19 characters (ok, it didn’t quite make the list… but hey, there are ALWAYS more soldiers and Danes that can die by Grendal’s hands!)
  • Cyrano – 22 characters
  • Frankenstein – 23 characters
  • Henry V – 23 characters
  • Jungle book – if you include kids being the “monkey people” – 20ish characters
  • Midsummer – 20 characters
  • R&J – 20 characters
  • Treasure Island (pirates galore!) – 26 characters

If you’re reading this and you’ve done one of our plays and found creative ways to add more characters, please drop me a note! I would love to hear and learn what you’ve done!

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By brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

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