At the moment, our list of One Act plays is small but selective. We are sure that your group will find something among them to suit your requirements.

How to read the information
There is a short description of each play, followed by cast numbers and ages, then a description of set requirements. Technical demands (sound effects, lighting and audio-visuals) are given a star rating, move your cursor over the red dots ? for specifics. One star denotes an undemanding technical plot (switch the lights on at the beginning of the play and switch the lights off at the end, virtually!). Five stars denote a play that requires more than one pair of hands to control all of the effects in the script. Finally, we give an approximate running time, without an interval.

ONE ACT PLAYS

NEW ABSOLUTE DISCRETION
A comedy by Stewart Auty

Absolute DiscretionA weekend for mature singles at a country hotel has drawn a reasonable number of people looking for companionship – or dare one hope – a little more? Whatever the guests are looking for, absolute discretion is guaranteed. This starts at the reception desk, where everyone is given name tags that state place names, not surnames. However, some guests and staff have a touch of larceny (and maybe revenge) on their minds. What should be a peaceful weekend of conversation and shared aspirations turns out, for some, to be a chance to make some illicit money. But does crime pay? Probably not – but it could cause a few laughs along the way!

CAST: 9 women (5 aged 55 to 70, 4 aged 30 – 45) and 5 men (1 aged 70+, 4 aged 55 – 70).

SET: One set. Set plan at the back of script.

TECHNICAL: star?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 50 minutes

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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NEW DAD'S LAST FAMILY DO
A black comedy by Will Butters

Dad's Last Family DoBilly Senior tragically drops dead in the middle of his usual rendition of 'Danny Boy' down at the British Legion. His family, including his mother, who is about to reach the age of one hundred, are left to deal with their grief in their own ways – mostly by making frequent visits to Billy Senior's grave and reminiscing about his, often, comical life and sayings. There are other visitors to the cemetery who become involved with the late Billy's family – the eccentric Jessie, whose husband Arthur was swept out to sea at Blackpool after the tide came in unexpectedly whilst they were making love – and the tragic Dawn, who comes to visit her stillborn baby. They all support each other through a great deal of laughter and some tears.

CAST: 5 women (1 is supposed to be 100! 1 aged 70+, 1 aged 60+, 1 aged 40+ and 1 aged 20+) and 2 men (I is voice only, the 70+ year old deceased, Billy Senior, and 1 aged 40+) Some male voices offstage.

SET: One set.

TECHNICAL: starstarstar?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 50 minutes

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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NEW AN UNASSUMING MAN
by Stewart Auty

An Unassuming ManMr Harvey, the unassuming man of the title, has been brutally murdered whilst walking his dog. The police discover that he was quiet gentleman – a retired teacher – with no dubious connections or apparent enemies. This play follows the deductive process of the police team and the gathering of evidence that eventually uncovers a tragic scenario which can only be described as an indictment of modern society, where 'respect' for an evil reputation is more important than human life.

CAST: 4 women (1 aged 50+, 2 aged between 30 and 50, 1 aged 20+) and 4 men (2 aged 50+, 1 aged 20+, 1 aged 20-35).

SET: One set.

TECHNICAL: star?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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A STROKE OF LUCK
A black comedy by Will Butters

IV dripYou wouldn't think that there was anything at all funny about someone having a stroke and, yet, the playwright, Will Butters, has managed to turn his own experience of having a stroke, at a relatively early age, into a masterpiece of black comedy. His experiences of the stroke itself and the rehabilitation in hospital afterwards - aided and abetted by an unholy trinity of patients, Sandra, Hilda and Albert - borders on farce. A play that will move you to laughter and tears.

CAST: 4 women (1 any age between 20 and 50, 1 aged 70+, 1 aged 60+, 1 aged 40+), and 4 men (3 minor parts could be done by one man aged from 20-40), (2 men aged 50+, 1 aged 70+) Various voices off, male and female.

SET: One set, which adapts to two locations. Full instructions and plan are given in the script.

TECHNICAL: starstarstarstar?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 35-40 minutes

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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HERE ENDETH THE FIRST LESSON
A satire by Stewart Auty

Carol service programmeEver served on a Committee where one person continually dominates proceedings by being critical, opinionated or distracting? The oh-so-familiar situation is the theme of this one act play. The Parish Council of St. Orphs has suffered Councillor Cooper's strange sense of humour, carping criticisms and outbursts of fury at regulations for quite long enough. The time has come to take revenge...

CAST: 4 women (1 aged 60+, 1 aged 50+, 1 aged 40+, 1 any age) and 4 men (1 aged 50+, 2 any age between 40 and 60, 1 aged 30 - 40).

SET: One very basic set. Could be done with just black curtains.

TECHNICAL: 1 star?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 35 minutes

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA
by Lynn Brittney

Supermarket trolleyIt is 2008 and self-service tills have arrived in the local supermarket, bringing with them a raft of problems. Edie reckons it is just a matter of time before there are job losses; Janice tries to concentrate on her knitting, which is a second source of income; whilst Kelly has found God and wants everyone else to join her. Suddenly, there is yet another case of “till rage”, in the shape of distressed customer, Dawn. What follows is a bittersweet indictment of the advance of technology and how it has made the already difficult lives of these women much harder.

CAST: 4 women (all aged 40 – 60)

SET: The storage room of a local supermarket.

TECHNICAL: 1 star?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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THE FIRST WORLD WAR SERIES

This group of three one act plays deals with various aspects of the First World War - and its considerable impact on society. The plays can stand alone, if used for a One Act Play Festival, or can be performed together as a full evening's drama.

FIRST WORLD WAR 1 – After the Ball is Over
by Lynn Brittney

Gunners amongst blasted treesLady Marjorie and her husband, Sir Edwin, regularly hold a summer ball at their country residence - as do so many other landed gentry in the summer of 1914. But, of course, this time, the revels are haunted by the spectre of impending war and only a few of the guests, like middle aged country solicitor, Tom Pritchard, who has volunteered for the army, have any idea of how devastating this world conflict will become. During the evening, Tom strikes up a warm friendship with Victoria Pelham - a forthright and intelligent woman - who shares his insight into the unfolding events. What follows is a journey of horror, tragedy and, ultimately, love.

CAST: 3 men ( I aged 70+, I aged 50+, 1 aged 20+) 3 women( 1 aged 70+, 1 aged 45+, 1 aged 20+)

SET: The terrace of Sir Edwin's country house.

TECHNICAL: 3 stars3 stars3 stars ?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 28 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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FIRST WORLD WAR 2 - Grandma's Photograph
by Alan Marshall

Men in trenchesEvery year, the Pye family, like many other families, has a photograph taken in a studio and sends copies to relatives. In 1914, this is a very special photograph, because John Pye, the son of the family, has volunteered to fight in France and he has just been issued with his uniform. Mr Stott, the photographer, is impressed but his long-suffering wife, has no illusions about the imminent war. During the following two years, the Pyes turn up for the annual photograph until, eventually, in 1916, there is just a gathering of women. What is discovered is that the war has imprisoned some women and liberated others. Nothing will ever be the same again...

CAST: 3 men( 2 aged 50+ and 1 aged 20+) 3 women( 2 aged 50+ and 1 aged late 20s)

SET: Mr Stott's small photographic studio.

TECHNICAL: 1 star?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 28 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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FIRST WORLD WAR 3 - Dig for the Diggers
by Lynn Brittney

Battle of FromellesThe Battle of Fromelles took place on the days of July 19th and 20th, 1916, and came to be known as 'the worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history.' Over five and a half thousand Australian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner due to an 'error' by the British High Command. The Germans buried all those who were killed in mass graves behind German lines, however, not all the burial pits were found in the aftermath of the war. Eventually, in 2007, more graves were found and exhumation began in 2008. A new cemetery was created and a process of DNA matching amongst Australian relatives began. The first body was re-interred in January 2010. This play recounts the story of a fictional 'first body' in the shape of Mick Feeney - stubborn Australian miner from Ballarat, who volunteered, even though he was in his late 30s.

CAST: 2 men (1 aged 38, 1 aged 50+) 4 women (2 of any age, 1 aged 60+, 1 aged 35+)

SET: Almost bare stage containing a war memorial, a table and a coffin.

TECHNICAL: 1 star?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 25 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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THE WINE AND WISDOM SERIES by Lynn Brittney

There is something about the human psyche and the way it responds to the challenge of a quiz. Some people become highly competitive, others become uncertain. All human emotions surface during a quiz - arrogance; frustration; nostalgia; enjoyment; sociability - the list is endless. All the plays in this series mine the very rich vein of those emotions. Audiences will find them moving; funny; even thought-provoking - but they won't be bored! The Wine and Wisdom plays are designed to be stand alone, for entry into festivals, or bolted together in twos and threes for an evening of themed drama.

WINE AND WISDOM 1 - A Two-Berth Life

An old caravanDen and Gloria and their grown-up children are taking their annual Caravan Club holiday, as they have done for nearly thirty years. The problem is that Den is terminally ill and has a very short time to live. However, he is surrounded by the warmth and humour of his family and gradually they persuade him to use his famous encyclopaedic general knowledge to win the star prize of the Quiz Evening. A deeply moving play, it is, nonetheless heart warming with an upbeat conclusion.

CAST: 2 men (1 aged 60+, 1 aged 25-30). 2 women. (1 aged 55-60, 1 aged 30-35)

SET:The interior of a small, old-fashioned caravan.

TECHNICAL: 2 stars2 stars ?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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WINE AND WISDOM 2 - The Luvvies

Pouring wineThe Horbridge Amateur Dramatic Society Guild has organised a Quiz Night all about "the movies", which annoys Eileen for a start - "Why does everything have to be so Americanised? Why can't he say 'the cinema'?" Debbie has arrived with allergy problems; Roger's menopausal wife has taken to her bed, so the team is one short; Mike is in a bad mood and the Dalbridge Strollers' team is being rowdy. To cap it all, Shirley has put a swear box on each table to raise money for the church. It promises to be an eventful night... This humorous play contains moderate swearing. As Eileen says (and she is making the rules) "I hope no-one in the group uses the f word. We're all far too mature, aren't we?" (Tip : you're supposed to say 'yes'.)

CAST: 6 women (3 aged 50+, 2 aged 40+, 1 aged 30+), 2 men (1 aged 50+, 1 aged 40+) 1
MALE VOICE OFFSTAGE (large part - quizmaster on microphone) N.B. Ages are flexible

SET: Very easy. Just one large table and chairs set on a bare stage.

TECHNICAL: star ?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 35 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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WINE AND WISDOM 3 - Nostalgia

Living room decorated for ChristmasIt is New Year's Eve at Roy and Jean's house. Celebrating with them are Roy's close friends, Maurice and Eve, and Eve's wayward brother, David. Jean has decided that they will all play a board game, called "Nostalgia", and the questions are all about the 1960s. Roy, Maurice and Eve, being some ten years older than Jean and David, have mixed feelings about the period in question. While playing the game, some very interesting memories come to light. Simmering resentments surface from the older age group about the fecklessness of those who were teenagers during the 60s, which only draws Jean and David closer together as they share their experiences of the "swinging scene". The moral of the story is - beware of marrying a younger woman - especially one who yearns to recapture her youth!

CAST: 3 men (2 in their late 60s, 1 in his late 50s). 2 women (1 in her late 60s, 1 in her late 50s)

SET: A living room decorated for Christmas.

TECHNICAL: starstar?

APPROX RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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WINE AND WISDOM 4 - Mixed Doubles

Tennis club hall with tables and chairsThe Tennis Club is holding a quiz night and George, who has made a career out of running quiz nights since he retired, is the quizmaster. Everything is organised. George's long-suffering wife, Heather, has prepared all the answer sheets and the flip chart - Marjorie, the club's social secretary has prepared mountains of food. The only problem is that she sent out the newsletters too late and only a few members turn up. And, what is worse, one of them is supreme know-it-all, Martin, who challenges every question George has set! Also, things are going on in the background - secret longings surface - which erupt into mayhem. All human life is here, in this hilarious comedy of suburban habits.

CAST: 8 women (2 aged 60+, 2 aged 50+, 1 aged 40+, 1 aged 30+, 2 teenagers) 5 men (1 aged 60+, 3 aged 50+, 1 aged 40+)

SET: The hall of a tennis club with tables and chairs dotted about.

TECHNICAL: star ?

APPROX RUNNING TIME: 45 minutes (Please note this play is too long for most One Act Festivals).

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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WINE & WISDOM 5 - Motivation

Interview room in bankDoris has organised the bank's quiz night for the last ten years and she is most annoyed that her boss has decided it should now be done by committee - particularly when that comprises of the very ambitious and high-powered Melanie, the very lazy and unreliable Patrick and the dim teenager Ethan. But then Doris is unhappy with a lot of other things in her working life as well, which surfaces during the meeting. However, all is not what it seems. Is this a genuine meeting to organise a quiz night or is it some fiendishly clever motivational exercise, designed to weed out the dead wood? A thought-provoking play, with a sinister ending.

CAST: 2 men (1 aged 50+, 1 aged 16-25) 2 women (1 aged 50+, 1 aged 25-30)

SET: A bland interview room in a bank.

TECHNICAL: star ?

APPROX.RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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WINE AND WISDOM 6 - Ask the Family

Living roomColin was made redundant and, because of his age, he is virtually unemployable. So he whiles away his time feeding his obsession with television and radio quiz programmes. He ignores his son, Jason, who is home from university, which makes no difference really, as Jason lives in a world of his own anyway. The weather outside is atrocious and when wife and mother, Margaret, comes home - the only member of the family actually earning a wage - she is disappointed to discover that her yoga class has been cancelled because the hall is flooded. Then, Colin and Jason are devastated by a sudden power cut, which means that they can't watch television or listen to music. The family are faced with talking to each other - something that they obviously have not done for a long time. The consequences are dramatic.

CAST: 2 men (1 aged 50+, 1 aged 19/20), 1 woman aged 50+.
VOICES FROM THE TELEVISION (either pre-recorded or offstage on microphones)

SET: A living room.

TECHNICAL: starstarstar TV sound effects, power cut lighting effects

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 25 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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OTHER ONE ACT PLAYS BY PLAYSTAGE SENIOR

STRAIGHT TO DVD by David Summers

Birthday cakeGeorge Vale is celebrating his 70th birthday at the home of his much-loved son, Ian and his wife Marsha. Celebrating with him are his favourite sister, Ruthie, and her husband, Frank. The day has been splendid, with a day out for the men, followed by a meal, lots of presents, and fireworks. To crown the perfect day, Ian produces a set of DVDs that he has had made from old ciné films he found in George's loft. What starts out as a wonderful trip down memory lane suddenly uncovers a deep, dark secret that threatens to tear father and son apart. A deeply moving play that explores the true meaning of fatherhood.

CAST: 3 men (aged 40+, 60+ and 70) 2 women (aged 40+ and 60+)

SET: A living room with dining table and chairs, sofa and chair. I window.I entrance/exit.

TECHNICAL: starstar ?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 35 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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A DIFFERENT WAY TO DIE by Lynn Brittney

Israeli hotel room with tape on windowThis play was originally published by Samuel French and has won many awards for amateur actors in festivals. Anna Gruber is a Holocaust survivor who has applied to emigrate to the newly-created State of Israel. But first she must submit to the ordeal of an interview and psychological assessment by a psychiatrist. While waiting for the doctor she is left in the company of Magda, a young Israeli whose prejudice against Jews from Europe is patently clear. However, when Dr.Feldmann arrives and the interview proceeds, Anna's experiences under the Nazis is not what was expected, and the news that Anna's husband survived the death camps and is in Israel too, brings about a crisis that alters everyone's perception of life and death. A powerful and thoughtful drama about inhumanity.

CAST: 2 women (aged 40+ and 20+), 2 men (both aged 50+)

SET: A sparse, modern hotel room in Israel. I taped-over window. I entrance/exit.

TECHNICAL: star ?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 35 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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HAVE A NICE DAY by Lynn Brittney

TV cameraThis comedy play was originally published by Samuel French and has since been updated and edited. Carol is a not-too-bright presenter on breakfast television and she is facing the axe - a fact that she has learnt through the daily newspapers and not from her bosses at the TV station. She gets little sympathy from her co-workers. Joe, her researcher, is barely on speaking terms with her anyway. When Carol's agent, David, arrives he confirms that she will soon be out of a job and he doesn't seem to be able to come up with much as an alternative. So Carol rebels and goes on set looking decidedly unglamorous. But David - ever the opportunist - instantly sees possibilities in her "new look" and starts making phone calls... A wonderful satire on the shallow (and not exactly honest) world of television.

CAST: 3 women (2 aged 30+, 1 aged 50+), 2 men (1 aged 40+ and 1 aged 50+) ONE MALE VOICE-OVER OF ELDERLY FINANCIER.

SET: The hospitality room of a TV station. Soft chairs around a coffee table plus a make-up table with mirror.

TECHNICAL: starstarstar ?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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PROPERLY PROCESSED by Lynn Brittney

GraveyardThis play was formerly published by Samuel French and has been a favourite at one Act Festivals for many years. This biting satire on modern bureaucracy takes place in the waiting room for the Afterlife. Here dead local government personnel are processed (after they have taken a number, waited for eternity and filled in some incomprehensible forms). Enter the recently deceased Carol Benson-Brown - a Chief Planning Offer when alive - and someone who knows a thing or two about frustrating the public. Her management methods could just make entry into the Afterlife even more difficult for those poor unfortunates who come after her.

CAST: One woman (age 30+), three men (2 aged 50+, 1 any age)

SET: A very spartan office, reminiscent of a Social Security Office in the 1960's.

TECHNICAL: star

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 25 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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FAILED INVESTMENTS by Lynn Brittney

Modern apartmentCarol and Anne are holding a residents' meeting for their block of flats, but the subject of ground rent gets lost in the welter of human issues that get aired on this particular evening. Anne is getting a divorce; Margaret's son has just told her that he is gay; Judith has a domineering husband and Carol is far from pleased to be "outed" as a lesbian. The four women, united by their condemnation of the male-orientated society that is making their lives so hard, set about redressing the balance. With four strong parts for women, this adult play provides moments of piquant social comedy as well as moving drama.

CAST: Four women (three aged 50+, 1 aged 40+) I man (aged 60+)

SET: The interior of Anne and Carol's modern flat.

TECHNICAL: starstar?

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 30 minutes.

ROYALTY FEE PER PERFORMANCE: £40.00 Apply Now

PRICE OF SCRIPT: £5.00

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