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Childe Rowland

    by Ron Nicol


Youth One Act Fantasy Play: 'Childe Rowland' by Ron Nicol

Childe Rowland and his sister Burd Ellen are playing by the church when Burd Ellen mysteriously disappears. Childe Rowland consults the wizard Merlin, who suspects that Ellen might have been spirited away by Elves. Knights Chancelot, Dancelot and Prancelot are reluctant to attempt anything remotely perilous, so despite the misgivings of his mother Queen Guinevere and Merlin’s warnings, Rowland determines to rescue his sister from the awesome and all-powerful King of Elfland. Accompanied by apprentice jester Turvey, maid Topsy and several pairs of underpants, Rowland sets out on a hazardous journey through the Land of Faery.

Along the way the oddly-assorted trio encounter horses, cows, sheep, pigs and hens which belong to the King of Elfland, and are given directions to the Dark Tower. Unknown to them they’re being followed by Merlin and Guinevere, who adopt a series of disguises to avoid being recognised.

Burd Ellen and her Shadow have indeed been captured by the Elves, but Ellen is an uncooperative captive. The Elfin King is more ineffectual than all-powerful, finding it difficult to instil a suitable sense of awe into his captive or to gain any respect from his subjects, particularly Chief Elf Gorm.

Rowland eventually enters the Dark Tower – and comes face to face with the King himself. With a little assistance from Merlin, Rowland avoids a trap which would make him captive if he eats any food in Elfland, and following a brief but successful fight with the King, manages to obtain the release of Burd Ellen. They triumphantly return to Camelot – but not to the hero’s welcome that Rowland had expected.

Childe Rowland” can be, and has been, performed by youth, adult and mixed-age groups. It can be played as written, or songs may be inserted at appropriate points to perform it as a play with music, or even as a pantomime.

A one act version of this play is available as 'The Spiriting Of Burd Ellen'.


(6m, 2f, 6m/f with many other characters)

  • Stage Manager (m/f)
  • Merlin the Magnificent
  • Childe Rowland
  • Burd Ellen - his sister
  • Queen Guinever - his mother
  • Sir Chancelot a cheeky knight
  • Sir Dancelot an arty knight
  • Sir Prancelot a superior knight
  • Turvey an Apprentice Jester (m/f)
  • Topsy an ambitious member of the Chorus (m/f)
  • Gorm number One Elf, a would-be comic (m/f)
  • Glum number Two Elf (m/f)
  • The Elfin King outwardly awesome, but isn’t
  • Stage Crew (any number, m/f)
  • Groom
  • Cowherd
  • Shepherdess
  • Sheepdog
  • Swineherd
  • Henwife
  • Cockerel
  • Burd Ellen’s Shadow (non-speaking mime)
  • Chorus of Knights, Courtiers, Horses, Cows, Sheep, Pigs and Hens
  • Elves

Many characters make only one appearance, so doubling, trebling and even quadrupling of roles is possible; the various ‘Herdspeople’ could be played by one performer. Most of the supporting characters can be male or female, with the text changed appropriately as required.

  • Perusal Script (Childe Rowland)
    £0.00 Perusal Script (Childe Rowland)
    In advance of the formal publication, we offer you an advance, pre-publication version, of the script. It is provided in full, as originally received from the playwright, but without having been proof read and with no...
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    Royalty Quotation Form (1A+)
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