Things That Go Bump, Volume 2: Plays for Young Audiences

Things That Go Bump, Volume 2: Plays for Young Audiences



About the book

These six recent Canadian plays for elementary school age audiences is a companion volume to 2009’s Things That Go Bump, Volume 1.

Lig & Bittle by Elyne Quan and Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull:
The story of Lig, who is big, and Bittle, who is little, as they embark on a funny, wild and adventure-filled journey to a place called Perfeckt Phitt, in hopes that they’ll find somewhere to belong.

A Giraffe in Paris by Mark Haroun:
When the young Prince of Egypt sets out to bring a giraffe to the King of France in Paris, blistering heat, crocodiles, a scheming circus ringleader and growling wolves are just some of the adventures that mark their cross-continental journey.

The Secret Life of the Octopus by Clem Martini:
When Leah and Willis are forced to serve their detentions in their school’s gloomy science room they reluctantly meet and then become attached to the mysterious eight-legged occupant of the corner aquarium.

Bluenose by Emil Sher:
Three bumbling, colonizing, red-nosed pirates get more than they bargained for when a blue-nosed captive punctures their assumptions and beliefs.

The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh by Chris Craddock:
All her life, people have told Jamie Cavanaugh to “Slow down!” Jamie knows she is developing Super Speed, but her parents suggest the culprit might actually be ADHD.

Under the Big Top by Jan Derbyshire: About to be heads over heels in love, ZooZoo hesitates; why did her happy-go-lucky clown parents divorce, when they were all under the big top and living the happy dream?

About the authors

Craddock, Chris

Chris Craddock graduated from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program in the spring of 1996. Since then, he has written or co-written over twenty plays for Fringe, Mainstage and TYA audiences, as well as two feature films, and three musicals, two of which received commercial productions in major cities. Some highlights include BASH’d: A Gay Rap Opera, which played three months off-Broadway and is the recipient of a GLAAD award; BoyGroove, which received a six-week commercial run in Toronto and a Dora Award; and 3…2…1, which toured to the Magnetic North Festival in Ottawa 2006. A bilingual feature film, The Pharmacist/La Pharmacien, written by and co-starring Craddock, is currently in audio post-production. Summer of My Amazing Luck was adapted from the novel of the same name by Miriam Toews. Chris’s solo show Moving Along has toured across Canada, including appearances in the 2005-2006 seasons of One Yellow Rabbit and Theatre Network. Chris has also worked as an Artistic Director, first of Azimuth Theatre 2001-2005 and then of Rapid Fire Theatre from 2005-2009.

Derbyshire, Jan

Jan Derbyshire’s plays include Funny in the Head for Calgary’s Stage Left Theatre, recently part of the Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver, Audition of The Embarrassed Woman for Vancouver’s Solo Collective Theatre, The Opposite of Everything is True for Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company, Turkey in the Woods for Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto, Under the Big Top for Quest, Calgary, Labour Unions, The Brotherhood of Mothers for Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Ingenious Speculations, (co-written) for Belfry Theatre, Victoria, A Modern Woman’s Guide To Female Impersonation for The Women in View Festival, Vancouver, and Joke You for the Vancouver International Comedy Festival. Jan lives and works in Vancouver as a theatre maker, writer, teacher, and mental health activist.

Haroun, Mark

Mark Haroun is an award winning playwright and screenwriter. His play for young audiences, A Giraffe in Paris, received its premiere at the Citadel Theatre in 2005 and was later produced in Montreal at Geordie Productions. The play was the winner of the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes award for Best Production for Young Audiences and was short listed for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama at the Alberta Book Awards. Mark was the recipient of the 2008 Canadian Authors Association’s Emerging Writer Award and winner of an AMPIA (Rosie) Award for screenwriting. Recently, he has written for Northern Lights Theatre’s Urban Tales Project Taking Possession and Concrete Theatre’s New Sprouts Festival. Currently, Mark is a writer and Executive Story Editor on CBC’s popular one-hour family drama Heartland.

Martini, Clem

Clem Martini is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist. He is the recent co-author of Bitter Medicine, A Graphic Memoir, author of Feather and Bone, The Crow Chronicles trilogy, the Past President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and a winner of the National Playwriting Competition. His texts The Blunt Playwright and The Greek Playwright are employed by universities and colleges across the country. He is presently the Head of the Department of Drama at the University of Calgary.

Matsunaga-Turnbull, Jared

Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull is an actor, writer, director and dramaturg based in Edmonton. From 1994 to 2007, he was an Artistic Co-Director of Edmonton’s Concrete Theatre where he helped to create, develop and produce award-winning issue-based, culturally diverse Theatre for Young Audiences. With Concrete, he has been involved as an actor, director, playwright and dramaturg on various projects, and was heavily involved in Are We There Yet?, Jane Heather’s participatory play for 14-year-olds on healthy sexuality and relationships. He continues to be involved with Concrete’s Sprouts New Play Festival as a festival dramaturg. Currently, Jared is the Outreach Program Coordinator with the Alberta Workers’ Health Centre, where he develops, produces and directs plays for Junior and Senior High School students across the province, with a focus on empowering young workers in the workplace. These plays are the long-running Work Plays by Jane Heather and That’s Danger! by Dave Clarke. Jared’s playwriting credits include Near Diamond (Flying Diamonds Co-op), Danny Loves a Girl (co-written with Chris Bullough), and the TYA plays Harusame, the Little Bird (Concrete Theatre); Penelope vs. The Aliens! (co-written with Chris Bullough) (Citadel Theatre, Quest Theatre); Paper Song (Concrete Theatre) and the award-winning Lig & Bittle (co-written with Elyne Quan) which continues to be produced across the country. Jared has also worked as a popular theatre facilitator and drama instructor with diverse and marginalized populations, especially youth and Aboriginal communities. Jared has his BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta, and is a member of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) Next Generation Committee. He lives in Edmonton with his wife Isabelle, and their two truly excellent kids Claire and Felix.

Quan, Elyne

Elyne Quan is a writer, actor and director. She holds a MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, a BA Honors degree in Drama from the University of Alberta and is also an alumna of the TV program at the Canadian Film Centre. Playwriting credits include the Sterling Award winning Lig & Bittle (with Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull), What (Rice, Concrete Theatre), One Block Radius (Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2002) and a radio play, Direct Dial (CBC Radio). Productions of her plays at New York University include Trust, Apple Skin and Souvenirs of Home (KCACTF Region II NPP Winner & national David Mark Cohen Award runner up). Elyne’s screenplay, Subway Theory, placed first in NYU’s Fusion Film Festival in 2005 and she received the John Golden Playwriting Prize from NYU in 2005. She was Artistic Associate at Workshop West Theatre in Edmonton where she led the Pitch-to-Play Playwrights’ Unit for the 2006/2007 season. Her recent plays include Stray, which received its world premiere at Workshop West Theatre in Edmonton and Look Both Ways, commissioned by Ohio Northern University. Upcoming projects include Retrospective for her commission from the Canadian Centre for Theatre Creation. Elyne currently lives in Toronto.

Sher, Emil

Emil Sher’s works include stage plays for the young, the older, and the in-between, as well as screenplays, radio dramas and essays. His works for young audiences include Beneath the Banyan Tree, a commissioned play for Sampradaya Dance Creations that weaves movement, music and puppetry has been staged by Theatre Direct across Canada and toured the U.K in the fall of 2009. His adaptation of Hana’s Suitcase (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People), the acclaimed Holocaust book by Karen Levine, has toured Canada and been staged in the U.S., including St. Louis and Chicago. A Hebrew-language version was staged in Israel in 2010 (Nephesh Theatre) and the published version of the play (Hana’s Suitcase on Stage) has been translated into Italian. Emil adapted Marie Day’s Edward the Crazy Man, about the bond between a boy and a man living with schizophrenia, for Workman Arts. Current projects Emil is writing for family audiences include two commissioned works: the narrative for A World to Shake by Ballet Jorgen Canada, and Alia and the Book of Ashes for Seattle Children’s Theatre. Mourning Dove, a play inspired by a true story of mercy killing and based on the radio drama of the same name, has been produced in major cities across Canada. He is a regular contributor to CBC Radio’s Afghanada. Works-in-progress include Girl in Field, Dusk, and Conviction, a play about wrongful convictions for Studio 180. To learn more about Emil’s work, please visit

About the editor

Editor Kit Brennan is an award-winning playwright whose work has been seen across the country. She is a faculty member at Concordia University’s Theatre Department in Montreal, where she coordinates the undergraduate playwriting specialization.


from foreword by Kit Brennan

Things that Go Bump, Volume 2 : Plays for Young Audiences is a collection of recent Canadian plays for elementary school age audiences; it is a companion volume to Things that Go Bump, Volume 1: Plays for Young Adults.

These six plays are road and audience-tested, seasoned by professional and touring productions covering most of Canada’s provinces and into the United States. Through humour and great characters, the scripts explore large issues with an entertaining verve.

Three of the plays (Lig & Bittle, Bluenose and Under the Big Top) employ the art of clowningâ��in various ingenious manifestationsâ��to explore large themes of longing and belonging. Two of the plays (The Secret Life of the Octopus and The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh) take place in the child’s real-life world of school and home, but follow them beyond and into the world of imagination and exploration. A Giraffe in Paris is based on a real event in the early nineteenth century, and whisks the audience into a travel adventure. Cast size for the plays varies from two to four actors.

The playwrights reside in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver; as well as writing for young audiences, they also write for film and television, they are directors and actors, they teach at universities and other professional training schools. The theatre companies which workshopped, commissioned and/or produced and toured the plays are based across Canada; these fine companies include Black Theatre Workshop (Montreal), Carousel Players (St. Catharines), Citadel Theatre (Edmonton), Concrete Theatre (Edmonton), Geordie Productions (Montreal), National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), Quest Theatre (Calgary), Roseneath Theatre (Toronto), and Theatre New Brunswick (Fredericton).

Everyone involved in theatre for young audiences will speak of the wonderful sense of fun it generatesâ��and also of the exciting honesty of the audience. If they love it, they’ll tell you so; if they’re bored, you’ll know it. I asked each writer to talk about their experience writing this play, why and how it came about, what happened in the play’s evolution, and how it has been received by the young people for whom it was created. These notes by the writers can be found at the end of each script.

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