It's Mr Beard!

Ravenbeard Productions

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The funniest school play scripts

No hidden performance fees

+44 (0) 7515 649413

shortofapicnic@hotmail.com

Well - you've either ordered something from us or inadvertently landed on the least interesting page on the website. Just below is a biog about the author of the plays, and further down are the Terms and Conditions, which you should read if you've bought a script.

About Us (well - me)

 

Ravenbeard Productions Limited is a company set up by me, Michael Conyers. I have been a teacher for over 20 years, which makes me sound a little crusty and lacking in ambition but I hope I'm neither. I started writing children's plays because the ones that were available at the time all seemed patronising or preachy. There seemed to be a real need for plays that were genuinely entertaining for children but also for the poor adults who have to rehearse or watch the productions, without any clunky 'moral message' attached to them. I wanted to perform funny musicals that didn't take themselves seriously, weren't trying to teach children morals that they'd heard a hundred times before.

 

My first play was Rebecca Riding Hood, which looks terribly modest to me now. Don't get me wrong, it's a terrific little play, but I wasn't certain when I started writing how well primary aged children would remember lines, so I kept both the number and length of lines to a minimum, even including a subtitled section where Rebecca and Violet are gagged. But the children I worked with at the drama club at Monteney Primary School in Sheffield just gobbled it up. It was clear from the beginning that these children could cope with more complex scripts.

 

The next two shows I wrote for Rudston Prep School in Rotherham (sadly closed in July 2015). Murder at the Hotel Crumhorn and Roger Ravenbeard were written in consecutive years (2002 and 2003) and performed by the drama club at the Rotherham Arts Centre, my first experience of staging a show for a paying audience in a real - if tiny - theatre. I received some very flattering feedback from the audiences of these shows - you know you can't lose when you have the performers' parents making up the bulk of the audience - but even so, the praise was of the highest order. This made me wonder if there was a market for my shows. My last show for Rudston was Peace & Goodwill, which is a bit like Nativity! - a nativity play within a play - but written several years before. We performed this at Rotherham Cathedral in November 2004.

 

In 2006 I moved to Sark to become Headmaster of the school there. If you haven't been to Sark you really should. It's one of the smaller Channel Islands, lying 45 minutes boat ride away from Guernsey. No cars, one paved road, two pubs, some great restaurants and a unique population governed by their own parliament, the Chief Pleas. Oh, and the darkest night skies you can get this side of the Kalahari - great for meteor spotting! You'll have gathered I have a soft spot for this tiny island. The drama club performed Rebecca Riding Hood and a new show, A Job For Mr Bunny. I only stayed in Sark for a couple of years - the winters can be pretty grim - and writing two more shows, A Christmas Carol and Panto Crime during the long winter nights.

 

After Sark I moved to London to work at Abercorn School in Marylebone. Having convinced the Head that her new Head of Maths could also do drama, the drama club performed the newly completed Panto Crime at the Rudolf Steiner theatre near Baker Street. This was easily the most ambitious play I had written to date and preparations for the final productions weren't helped by the worst snow London had experienced for years in February 2009. We had three days of rehearsal time booked at the theatre but could only use one because the city had ground to a halt. The show did go on, but I remember the first performance being a bit rough around the edges, to the point where we had to stop the first scene and cut to the song because a chunk of the story had been missed due to an over-eager Woodsman jumping onto the stage about four pages too soon.

 

I wrote History of the World and Persephone whilst at Abercorn and the drama club performed them at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre in 2010 and 2011. Persephone is as close as I think I'll ever get to a West End length show for children. We had an amazing cast of year 5 to year 8 children and for me it was the pinnacle of school drama I had been involved with. It was also - thus far - my last turn as a director/producer.

 

I also wrote another Christmas play while at Abercorn. Orginally entitled 'The Mathematician of Prague' you'll now find it by clicking 'The Speed of Santa'. I love this play - it's about the King of Prague's mathematician who develops, at the king's behest, a formula for calculating how fast Santa has to travel to deliver all his presents. The king promptly decides that no one can travel at that speed and therefore Santa must be a fiction. Of course he isn't, and all's well that ends well. It's one of my less popular plays and I have never been able to understand why - it's a very funny script. Perhaps the Czech names put people off? I don't know.

 

In 2012  I started a Master's degree in Screenwriting, which tied up my writing time up for a couple of years. I've written three complete screenplays, one of which got through to the quarter finals of the PAGE screenwriting awards. I got my MA (with merit! Woo-hoo!) and so now my writing time is divided between film script ideas and children's show ideas. I've written another couple of shows: The Legend of Steve - Elf, Third Class and The Great Fire Of London (my first show written specifically for Key Stage 1 children). I think The Legend of Steve could become one of my more popular plays - it has some great characters and a typically silly premise.

 

If you've read this far then I'd just like to say that you are by far my favourite customer.

Terms and Conditions for Supply of Scripts with Performance Licences to Non-Profit Making Organisations

 

1.  What we provide

A copy of the script and the licence to perform the script, in whole or in part.

We do not charge on a 'per performance' basis to non-profit-making organisations such as schools and youth drama groups.

 

2.  Availability

The performance licence is only available to non-profit-making individuals and groups who have purchased from Ravenbeard Productions Limited the script to which it pertains. Professional theatre organisations should see below.

 

3.  Type of performance

Different types of amateur performance do not incur royalties at different rates. We do not distinguish between different types of organisations and between 'performances made to paying audiences', 'performances to non-paying audiences' and 'Classroom /workshop performances'.

 

4.  What counts as a performance?

Any performance in front of an audience requires the permission of the rights holder, for which the rights holder is entitled to set a performance royalty. The licence issued with the script allows the purchasing individual or organisation to perform the play an unlimited number of times for the duration of the licence (one calendar year from the date of dispatch of the script).

 

5.  Venue Capacity

Ravenbeard Productions Limited will not make further charges contingent upon venue size.

 

6.  Credit Shall be Given to the Authors

The name(s) of the author(s) must be displayed on all forms of advertising and promotional material, including, but not limited to posters, programmes, hand bills and web sites.

For material publicising public performances, the publisher and rights agent shall be credited in promotional material, using the words 'By arrangement with Ravenbeard Productions Limited'.

 

7.  Videos of Amateur Shows

Performance licence for an amateur production includes permission to make one and only one video of the show.

This excludes the right to broadcast the show (live or from a video recording) or to distribute recordings or live performances via the internet. Please contact Ravenbeard Productions Limited before considering such things.

Members of the audience have no right to make videos of a performance. Such videos constitute an actionable breach of copyright. Enforcement of this prohibition is the responsibility of the production company.

 

8.  Refunds

a)  Hard copies

We do not offer refunds on hard copies of scripts that have been paid for via our online Shop and PayPal portal. For scripts that have been sent to organisations who prefer to pay via invoice, the script and any associated materials must be returned in saleable condition within 7 days of the date of the invoice for the order to be cancelled. and a £5 handling charge will be incurred by the organisation to cover our postage and handling. We do offer perusal versions of scripts so that you can be certain you wish to perform a show before you order it.

b) Digital copies

We do not offer refunds on any digital versions of our scripts or music. Please be sure that you want the script before you buy it.

 

 

Terms and Conditions for Supply of Performance Licences for Professional Production

 

1.  What we provide

A master copy of the script and the licence to perform the script, in whole or in part.

Writers of plays get most of their income from performance royalties. Each time a script is performed, the author is entitled to a royalty fee.

 

2.  Availability

Performance licences are only available to individuals and groups who have purchased master copies from Ravenbeard Productions Limted.

 

3.  Royalty Fees for Professional Performance

Unless agreed otherwise, professional performances are charged a royalty fee of 7% of total income from ticket sales (or equivalent) plus (where applicable) VAT.

Where the performing company performs to non-paying audiences (e.g. theatre-in-education), the royalty fee is 7% of total income associated with the production (including, but not limited to, fees, grants, bursaries and donations).

The Customer shall declare gross box office earnings (or equivalent) to Ravenbeard Productions within 7 days of the last performance or within 7 days of the end of each month for a show with a run of more than one month

On receipt of the declaration, Ravenbeard Productions will issue an invoice for the licence fee. The invoice shall be paid within 28 days.

 

4.  What counts as a performance?

Any performance in front of an audience requires the permission of the rights holder, for which the rights holder is entitled to set a performance royalty.

Rehearsals do not count as performances but...

If you allow an audience (other than people directly involved in the show as actors or production crew) to see a rehearsal, this counts as a performance and is liable for performance royalties. (Some groups do this, with a reduced entry charge, to give the performers an idea of how the audience will react.)

A play reading in which members of a group read to each other does not count as a performance, but a play reading before an audience does.

 

5.  Changes in Performance Requirements

It is recognised that performance requirements may change during the planning of a production.

It is the customer's responsibility to notify us if performance dates are changed.

 

6.  Credit Shall be Given to the Authors

The name(s) of the author(s) must be displayed on all forms of advertising and promotional material, including, but not limited to posters, programmes, hand bills and web sites.

For material publicising public performances, the publisher and rights agent shall be credited in promotional material, using the words 'By arrangement with Ravenbeard Productions Limted'.

 

7.  Videos of Professional Productions

Videos of professional productions and videos for other purposes are not covered by these terms. Please contact Ravenbeard Productions Limted before making a video of a script for any other purpose.

Members of the audience have no right to make videos of a performance. Such videos constitute an actionable breach of copyright. Enforcement of this prohibition is the responsibility of the production company.

 

8.  Refunds

Since there is no up-front performance rights fee, the need for refunds should never arise.