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Jessie's Tree

    by Bev Clark


Drama Play Script: 'Jessie's Tree' by Bev Clark

In 1916 the old oak tree was struck by lightning and when Jessie’s brother Jack was killed at the Somme, she made it her only personal place to come and remember him.

It’s the day after Boxing Day 1918 and the war is over. Jessie meets Cecil who is mourning for his father, also killed in the war. Although their backgrounds are very different, these children find friendship and support in their shared grief.

The action moves to spring 1940 and Jessie’s children Bob and Margie meet two new evacuees by the old tree. Bob and Ralph are more interested in playing at “War” but Margie and Ivy form a friendship that will last throughout their childhood. They talk about the roles their parents must now take on and try to hold on to the innocence of childhood against a backdrop of conflict.

By summer 1967 the world is a very different place and young people are freely expressing their views and seeking new adventures. Margie’s son Stephen is now having to cope with the loss of Grandmother Jessie. Some of his friends are supportive but only Lorna really has the strength to help him through and find a future. The tree, which has been a burnt out carcass starts to sprout new shoots.

It is now 1999 and Jess and her friends are celebrating her birthday and Halloween by the old tree. She is the child of Steve and Lorna and has kept a keen interest in her family’s history- especially her great grandmother Jessie.  After lots of fun and banter the group are surprized by a gate-crasher – a young polish boy Carl who has a present for Jess – A story that will delight and amaze her.

They will all see a new millennium and look to an exciting future whilst keeping a firm foot in the past.

Although the scenes are connected, they could be performed as separate short pieces. Jessie’s Tree offers a great vehicle for drama, social history classes or remembrance commemoration events for senior youth groups or schools.

Please note there are references to drug-taking in Scene 3.


55 mins approx


(11 young m, 11 young f)

Scene 1: Christmas 1918                    

  • Jessie Hannigan - 12, working class 
  • Cecil Davenport - 13

Scene 2: Spring 1940                          

  • Bob Blakemore - 11
  • Margie Blakemore - 12
  • Ralph Summers - 12, evacuee
  • Ivy Summers - 11, evacuee 

Scene 3: Summer 1967                      

All about sixteen years of age           

  • Stevie Caruthers - Jessie’s grandson

His friends                                          

  • Pete - the leader
  • Dave - the studious one
  • Mike - the political one
  • Lynn - Pete’s girlfriend
  • Sue - the old fashioned one
  • Jane - the giggly one
  • Lorna - the caring one 

Scene 4: Autumn 1999

All about sixteen years of age

  • Jess Caruthers

Her friends                                          

  • Abbie
  • Clare
  • Jo
  • Josh
  • Matt
  • Barney
  • Carl Borowski - 14ish, Polish                        
There are twenty-two characters but these can be doubled. 

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