9 Streamable Plays (plus a Musical!) for Middle School Audiences
Kids are at home and learning over the internet. Teachers are scrambling to adjust in real time. And, in many communities, the arts are getting lost in the shuffle. But that doesn’t have to be the case!
Whether you’re a theatre educator interested in online streaming for school productions, or a theatre company hoping to keep your young audience engaged, these 10 shows might be just the solution you’re searching for.
And with streaming rights for all titles available from YouthPLAYS, online streaming for theatre has never been easier.
Cast size: 8–50+ gender flexible
Other details: 80–90 minutes. Dear Chuck was developed and produced by the Choate Rosemary Hall Summer Arts Conservatory (Wallingford, CT), and was later revised and expanded into a full-length play. Producers have permission to cut any scenes in their entirety as necessary (with the exception of the Overture, Finale and the Chuck Interludes that connect the play), whether to align with their community standards or to reduce the running time. The play is also available in a 30–40 minute version here.
Playwright: Jonathan Dorf
Synopsis:Teenagers are typically caught in the middle — they’re not quite adults, but they’re definitely no longer children. Through a series of scenes and monologues, we meet an eclectic group of teen characters who are trying to communicate with that wannabe special someone, coping with the loss of a classmate, battling controlling parents, swimming for that island of calm in the stormy sea of technology — and many others. What they all have in common is the search for their “Chuck,” that elusive moment of knowing who you are.
Cast size: 3–11F, 3–11M (with the option of a gender-blind 3-actor cast; 3–21 performers possible)
Other details: 45–60 minutes, flexible. Developed by SkyPilot Theatre Company Playwrights-in-Residence, Los Angeles, CA.
Playwrights: Nicole B. Adkins, Jeff Goode, Adam Hahn, Samantha Macher, Liz Shannon Miller, Dominic Mishler, Mike Rothschild & Dave Ulrich
Synopsis: Aesop’s timeless fables get a 21st century reboot, with cupcake bullies, tween warriors, scheming cheerleaders and apocalyptic yellow butterfly people… Each tale takes an unexpected twist in this innovative offering!
Cast size: 2–21F 2–16M (4–37 possible)
Other Details: 30–35 minutes. Gold Medal Winner, 2012 Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild Festival, Cameron Middle School (Framingham, MA).
Playwright: Kelly DuMar
Synopsis: Four characters grow up before our eyes as they journey from elementary to middle school in this fast-paced series of scenes that inspire us to appreciate the extraordinary moments of ordinary life.
Cast Size: 9–21+F 4–14+M (75+ possible)
Other Details: 70–85 minutes. First produced by Friends Academy (Locust Valley, NY).
Playwright: Andrew Geha
Synopsis: A madcap sprint through every play written by the Bard. From 235 years of English kings in the History Plays, to (nearly) every bloody death in the Tragedies, to every girl who dressed up as a boy in the Comedies, it’s like watching Shakespeare’s entire canon fired out of a cannon — scattering prose, verse and characters across the stage. Sword fights! Word fights! Witches, ghosts and murder! All in 80 minutes!!
Cast size: 7F, 3M, 30 any gender (10–40 possible)
Other details: 35–45 min.
Playwright: Jessica McGettrick
Synopsis: See the world through the eyes of a gamer, a lonely person looking for love, a music fan, a blogger, a bully’s target and many others as they discover the perils and pleasures of creating an online persona that is different from their offline reality. What would you say if no one could see you behind the computer screen? Who would you become?
Cast size: 4F, 3M
Other details: 30–35 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older. The author will be donating all of his royalties to local charities helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Playwright: Arthur M. Jolly
Synopsis: Seven students are trapped in their Houston middle school classroom by rising floodwaters during Hurricane Harvey. As the waters rise, will they fall apart…or come together?
Cast size: 8F, 4M
Other details: 25–30 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older.
Playwright: Tara Meddaugh
Synopsis: When Taylor decides to hold an over-the-top yacht party on the same day as her best friend’s backyard birthday party, tensions rise, guests are forced to take sides, true colors will be on display — and someone gets pushed into a mud puddle.
Cast Size: 6–8F, 5M, plus non-speaking roles (11–60+ possible)
Other Details: 38–55 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older. The script includes an appendix of cuts specifically designed by the author to bring the running time under 40 minutes.
Playwright: Adam J. Goldberg
Synopsis: It’s war! Nobody’s quite sure how it started, but all the town’s girls and boys have split up along strict gender lines and are determined to crush the opposition utterly. It’s up to best friends Terry and Samantha to break the gender barrier and avert mutual destruction.
Cast Size: 3–30F, 5–30M (8–60 performers possible)
Other Details: 90 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older performers, elementary school and older audiences. Winner, First Annual Ronald Ruble New Play Festival. Weston Playhouse Demo New Musical Award Nomination. First produced by New York University (NY).
Book & Lyrics: Matthew Mazzacappa
Music: Cynthia Chi-Wing Wong
Synopsis: When awkward eighth grader Jennifer finds herself thrust into a time-traveling adventure with three classmates, is it time for her to step up and discover just how special she really is?
Cast Size: 8–14+ gender-flexible roles.
Other Details: 55–65 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older performers and all audiences. Premiered at Harrisonburg High School (Harrisonburg, VA).
Playwright: Bradley Walton
Synopsis: Animals in a coloring book are thrilled when a little boy begins to embellish them with crazy colors and off-the-wall flourishes. But when the boy’s older sister begins coloring other pages in more lifelike hues, social divisions begin to form and friendships are challenged. Will existence as they know it break down? The exuberance and wonder of a picture book meet Animal Farm in this play that offers thoughtful entertainment for performers and audiences of all ages.
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