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Janys Chambers


Plays Available

Contact me about the rights to any of the following plays:

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Plays for Adult Companies (for Plays for Young Companies see below)

North and South adapted from Gaskell's novel, with period songs

Cast size: any number 10 upwards.  Originally performed at Pitlochry Festival Theatre by 10 professional actors and a community cast of 30 as the Chorus


A powerful adaptation of the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about love and class set against the backdrop of the industrial revolution

Dorothy’s War about the only woman to fight in the trenches in WW1, with period songs

Cast size: 3 women with strong singing skills.   First performed in 2 national rural tours by professional singing group The Harmonettes


This poignant musical comedy play interweaves the stories of two fictional characters who are organising a ‘Pageant to Celebrate Peace’ in 1919 for their local community with the story of Dorothy Lawrence, a journalist and soldier of the first World War

Great Expectations adapted from Dickens' novel 

Cast size: any number 10 upwards. First performed as an Octagon Theatre/Bolton School co-production by a cast of 40


A crisp and clear adaptation of Charles Dickens’ acclaimed story about the relative importance of love and loyalty versus class and social advancement

Jane Eyre adapted from the novel by Charlotte Brontë

Cast size: Minimum 8 adult actors and 5 younger actors, but this involves considerable doubling, so it could easily involve more actors.  First performed at the Octagon Theatre

A fresh version of Brontë’s wonderful story about a young orphan in the 1800’s making her way as a governess in a harsh and brutal world, and balancing the opposing forces of reason and passion to find real love

Jessica Baglow in Jane Eyre at the Octag

Jessica Baglow as Jane Eyre adapted by Janys Chambers at the Octagon Theatre and directed by Elizabeth Newman

My Family And Other Animals adapted from  Durrell's novel 

Cast size: 11 upwards (10 adult characters plus one male child character.)  Premiered at York Theatre Royal.  This play is due to be published by Nick Hern Books in 2020

A lively and comic adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s autobiographical story about a boy growing up in Corfu in the 1930’s with a houseful of wild animals and extremely eccentric family members

Handbag - The Musical!

Cast size: 3 to 5 principal female actors, plus a choir of any size, for whom there are some cameo roles, although these roles could also be played by actors.  Written originally for 3 professional actors and the award-winning choir The Handbags of Harmony, although it could be adapted to any choir and its name


A comedy about sisters, family and friendship and dealing with bereavement; full of pop classics for the choir to sing 


Lear’s Daughters a prequel to King Lear.  Co-wrote

Cast size: 5.  Premiered by the Women’s Theatre Group (now Sphinx Theatre) at Battersea Arts Centre and in a subsequent national tour.  Published by Faber and Faber in 'Mythic Women/Real Women, Plays Selected by L. Goodman'; and also published by Routledge in 'Adaptations of Shakespeare, Edited by Fischlin and Fortier.')  Play co-written so royalties shared between company members


A feminist play imagining the lives of the three daughters of Lear along with their Nanny and the court Fool; a prequel to  Shakespeare’s great play


The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit a 50's musical comedy with contemporary songs

Cast size: 3 women who must have strong acapella/harmony singing skills.  Performed in 4 national rural tours and at the Edinburgh Festival by professional singing group, The Harmonettes. This name could be changed for that of any fictional singing trio


A musical comedy set in the 1950’s examining contemporary female stereotypes through three young women with very different aspirations coming together to sing as a trio at an event - this event being the performance of the play itself, on the date of its actual performance, but as though in 1956

The original cast of the hugely successful The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit 

The original cast of The Harmonettes Go

The Secret Garden adapted from Hodgson Burnett's novel - 2 different adaptations

Version one - cast size: 20 upwards, mixed adults and young people.  Premiered at the Octagon Theatre with 4 professional actors and a company of 70 aged aged 7 to 28

Version two - cast size: 20 upwards, young people.  Was premiered by 100 children - three classes of school children in North Wales, an act each, so many roles split into three

A moving adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, telling the story of grumpy Mary from Colonial India and her move to live with her reclusive uncle in his strange house in Yorkshire, with its secret inhabitant

The Railway Children adapted from Nesbit's novel - 2 different adaptations

Version one - cast size: 30 upwards, mixed adults and young people. Premiered at the Octagon Theatre with 4 professional actors and a company of 80 aged 7 to 28.  Features a Chorus of Sheep

Version two - cast size: 20 upwards, young people.  Was premiered by  100 children - three classes of school children in North Wales, an act each, so many roles split into three

A sparkling adaptation of the classic children’s novel by E.Nesbit about an urban middle-class Edwardian London family uprooted to a life of poverty close to a railway line in the countryside

One Small Step for Lily a comedy about young people ‘going up to big school’

Cast size: 8 professional actors to perform to schools or ideal as a class, school, or youth theatre play for 12 young actors. Was premiered at Theatr Clwyd and Queensferry Civic Theatre

A 45-60 minute play about the hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares of a group of Year 5 children facing transition, based on research with real young people and full of authentic voice, pain and humour

The flier for the original production of One Small Step for Lily

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Plays for School or Youth Theatre groups

The Holiday a comic 30 minute play about the children of 2 single parents on a camping holiday; ideal for a class, school, or youth theatre 

Cast size: 12 to 35.  First performed by Trelogan School

This funny and lively story about accepting new relationships includes other characters on the campsite and the beach, and features an exciting adventure at sea, ‘ice cream wars’ and donkeys

Falling Skies a 30 minute play about WW2, ideal for a class, school, or youth theatre 

Cast size: 12 to 35.  First performed by Whitford School 

Evacuee children with a dad at the front are transplanted from London to a small rural village (originally Whitford, but could be anywhere).  The children are separated, the boys sent to a farm, the girl to a house, where her ideas about patriotism and war are challenged when she encounters a crashed German airman. The play follows the children's adventures in the village until the family is reunited


Catchman a 50 minute apocalyptic play, ideal for a class, school, or youth theatre

Cast size: 14 female and one male.  Originally published by John Murray in the collection Themescripts (Volume 'Loyalties') and performed by groups internationally

A story set in an imaginary future, when gender and power roles have been reversed; women run society.  But have they gone too far? 

On Gop Hill a 20 minute play about an ancient hill 

Cast size: 10-12 young people, an ideal class or school or youth theatre play.  First performed by Trelawnyd Primary School

A short apocalyptic play set in a future in which the countryside has flooded due to global warming (though this is not made explicit); about children climbing an ancient hill to survive.  Gop Hill is a real hill in North Wales, but the story could be adapted to centre on any hill

Wait A Minute a 30 minute rites-of-passage’ play, ideal for a class, school, or youth theatre

Cast size: 20, ideally half and half female and male, but adjustable.  First performed by Gronant Primary School

A comedy (like One Small Step for Lily, but for a bigger cast) about going up to big school, fears and doubts and how it's alright in the end 


Moving On an ideal 50-60 minute class or school or youth theatre play

Cast size: 6 up to 30

Another comic transition 'going up to big school' play (again Like One Small Step for Lily, but longer and more complex).  This one hour version was co-written with Kevin Dyer and uses rhymes at the beginning.  19 specific speaking parts, gender fluid, with many unallocated lines for other actors.  First performed by a Theatr Clwyd Theatre In Education company of 6 actors with a lot of doubling


Will Shakespeare Comes Home a 10 minute piece, ideal as a class or school play

Cast size: 10.  First performed by children from Bryn Deva School

A very simple play about the last years of Will Shakespeare with some factual material but an outrageous fictional twist - a murder! - designed to interest young children in Shakespeare the real person  


The Lost Kingdom an hour-long play based on the Welsh legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, ideal for a class, school, or youth theatre

Cast size: 30 up to 100.  Was premiered by three classes of school children in North Wales, an act each, so many roles split into three

The poster for the original production of The Lost Kingdom 

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Plays for School or Youth Theatre groups specific to North Wales

The Painter a 30 minute play set in North Wales, ideal for a local class or school or youth theatre 

Cast size: 10 to 30

A story interweaving the lives of actor/writer Emlyn Williams, Albert Houthuesen the Dutch painter, and the Welsh tenor singer David Lloyd, all of whom lived at one time in the village of Trelogan in North Wales.  Performed twice by Trelogan School 

The Riot a 30 minute play based on Welsh agricultural riots in the 1880’s, ideal for a local class or school or youth theatre 

Cast size: 10 up to 30. First performed by Whitford School

The extra-ordinary story of the anti-tithe uprisings by farmers and their families in North Wales in the 1880's

The Warren a 30 minute play about a coastal community in the 1960’s in North Wales, ideal for a local class, school or youth theatre

Cast size: 10 to 30.  Performed twice by Gronant School 

A short play about the wonderful shanty-town community that lived on The Warren at Talacre for many decades, focusing on the 1960s when everything began to change.  Features the Beatles and the Twist!  

Don't forget - (the elephant from The Secret Garden is here to remind you) - where plays have been commissioned for specific companies, they can often be adapted for a new one

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