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Jack The LadJACK THE LAD
A musical celebration.

Book & lyrics by David Wood and Dave and Toni Arthur. Music by Dave and Toni Arthur.


Commissioned by the Manchester Theatre Library Company, the play was first presented at the Library Theatre, Manchester in 1984. Since then there have been several amateur productions.


Following the success of their collaboration on ROBIN HOOD, David Wood and Dave and Toni Arthur wrote JACK THE LAD, a musical celebration of Jack, the ubiquitous hero or everyman of English legend, myth and folklore – from Little Jack Horner, through Jack and the Beanstalk to Spring Heeled Jack, the Terror of London.

The setting is a gypsy encampment, where a series of Jack tales and songs are performed by the gypsies to celebrate the 80th birthday of their senior member – affectionately known as Jack the Lad. The play, therefore, depicts contemporary gypsy life, as well as traditional gypsy customs and superstitions, and is a delightful amalgam of the traditional arts of story-telling, singing and dancing, with a mumming play, a shadow-mime and puppetry also employed within the main framework.

David Wood writes: I would love this play to have more productions! The original production was a joyful celebration of folk tradition and story-telling, and offered opportunities for a versatile cast. I’m sure that professional and amateur companies would find it rewarding to perform.

The music is exhilarating and the contemporary gypsy framework is relevant and thought provoking.


“…this marvellous show is a comic strip with music… for those who like the hand-clapping, foot-tapping, sing-a-long type of theatre it is a must… and that theatrical rarity these days – solid entertainment for ALL the family. … the whole mood is carried on outside the theatre and in the auditorium with fortune-tellers, hedgehog crisps, candy floss and fiddle players galore giving the whole theatre a showground feel… it is hard to imagine anyone not liking this vibrant and refreshing treat.”
Oldham Evening Chronicle

“…a highly unusual musical… with colourful music, lots of dancing and movement it all adds up to a very pleasant and unsophisticated entertainment which might well provide a first-class Christmas show.”
The Stage


The play and piano/vocal score are published by Samuel French Ltd. First Class Professional, Repertory & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd. US Stock and Amateur Rights: Samuel French Inc.