Plays From the Top of the Stairs Volume 1 by Matthew Ryan


CAST SIZE: Large Cast – suit a whole class production – three short works

A PLAY TO: Read, read aloud, study, perform, and produce

GENRE: Drama, non-naturalism, comedy

THEMES: Change, identity, inclusion, family

CURRICULUM LINKS: The Arts- Drama, General Capabilities – Literacy, Personal and Social Learning, Critical and Creating Thinking

SYNOPSIS: A collection of plays for performers from 8 to 15 years of age – The Tree House, Rule of Thumb and Lost Property Rules. Plays From the Top of the Stairs was developed from drama exercises in consultation with young performers at Backbone Youth Arts and written by one of the Australian’s most prolific playwrights. Each play is made up of smaller stories, encouraging group work.

The Tree House

Follow the life of a tree growing inside a house and all the lives it affects along the way. From a young girl dealing with change, adults too busy to enjoy life, a poor family at Christmas and renovators intent on knocking the tree down – no one escapes the influence of the tree. An imaginative and uplifting work for even the youngest of aspiring theatre-makers.

Rule of Thumb

Veronica Thumb is a bit different. She speaks differently and sees the world differently. Follow Veronica through her childhood as she learns to come to terms with Aspergers and the way it affects the different stages of her life. A story about accepting others and accepting yourself, this work shows the world through the eyes of girl who lives with a very different set of rules.

Lost Property Rules

Alice and Isobel are running away to Grandma’s house. But to get there they’re going to have to spend the night at the train station, hiding from the Guard Dog. Huddled in a Lost Property box, they try to stay calm by telling each other stories based on the lost things they find in there. An empowering play about accepting change, this work finds stories in the most unusual of places – stories that might not be as made up as they seem.

STAGING: Performers are able to play multiple roles. Some characters (such as Tree, Portrait and the Furniture) appear in multiple stories. These should be played by the same performers throughout. There are multiple locations so the design elements should be flexible in order to create the different places and times. This offers wonderful scope for imaginative design and sustainable and recyclable set items.

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024