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The Bigger the Better: 8 Great Plays for Large Casts of Student Actors

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In a world of "two-handers" and "three-handers" where are all the "twenty-two-handers" and "just enough actors for everyone to have a part-ers"? Where are the plays with big casts for student actors?

Here at Stage Partners, of course!

Whether you're directing a school production, a summer show, or theater for young audiences, we know it can be hard finding new plays that fit your unique casting needs. That's why we invite our playwrights to think BIG: Big stories, big themes, and yes, BIG CASTS!

To get started here's a list of 8 plays for young actors, high schools, and middle schools that are guaranteed to get theater students excited— whether you have 14 or 40.

101 Breakups

By Jason Pizzarello
  • Comedy/Drama
  • One-act (30–35 minutes)
  • 10–50 actors
  • Gender flexible casting

Looking for a play that's a little funny, a little sad, and too true? How about one where you'll feel all the feelings— but most importantly you'll feel hilariously moved.

Jason Pizzarello's best-selling dram-com is bound to break your heart (101 times). And with a flexible cast you can break as many hearts as your production requires. 💔

Ready to read them and weep? Click on the crying robot or the link below— like all our plays you can read it FOR FREE!

Little Women - Stage Partners

  • Comedy
  • One-act (35–40 minutes)
  • 14–80+ actors
  • Gender flexible casting

In the fairy tale criminal justice system, citizens are represented by two separate yet equally ridiculous groups: the fairy tale police who investigate fairy tale crime, and the fairy tale district attorneys who prosecute the fairy tale offenders. But some days, these heroes must face a far darker challenge: nursery rhymes. These are their stories. [DUN DUN!]

If you liked Jonathan Rand's Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit, you'll LOVE his hilarious follow up! With a flexible cast that can fit any size production both kids and audiences have a blast getting to the bottom of these cases.

📖 Read the play for free!
📸 Check out these criminally-good production photos:

    The Zoo Farce

    By Jon Jory & Michael Bigelow Dixon
    • Farce
    • One-act (30–35 minutes)
    • 13–20+ actors
    • Large female cast

    It's the best of times, it's the worst of times for the “biggest little zoo in New Jersey.”

    The good news is that it’s Public Appreciation Day, lots of entertainments are planned, and the zoo expects to receive its official accreditation...

    ... But the bad news is that the animals are escaping their cages and the rhinos, cheetahs, and penguins are chasing the acrobats, clowns, and food vendors. (Oops.)

    It's up to zoo CEO Prudence Matterhorn to set things right— for both animals and humans— but first she must experience a much-needed change of heart in this zany comedy with a large female cast.

    📖 Read the play for free!

    🎭 BLOG BONUS: Get directing tips from Jon Jory in our Director's Corner series.

    The Zoo Farce - Stage Partners

    Morning Announcements - Stage Partners

    Morning Announcements

    By Sonya Sobieski
    • Comedy
    • One-act (25–30 minutes)
    • 12–25 actors
    • Gender flexible casting

    Another school day begins, and our seemingly stalwart student heroes are torn between anxiety and apathy. Will Craig ever tell Amber he likes her? Will Marcy convince anyone to help with the school beautification project? Does any of it really matter? Yes! And no! Maybe?

    A goofy-yet-poignant look at the agonies and ecstasies of teen life, this 25–30 minute one-act comedy is flexible and fun. If you like 10 Best/Worst Things About Middle School by M.G. Davidson, you'll get a kick out of Morning Announcements.

    📖 Read the play for free!
    🎭 BLOG BONUS: Playwright Sonya Sobieski interviews her middle schooler (or at least tries to) and talks about the inspiration behind Morning Announcements.

    The After

    By Werner Trieschmann
    • Drama
    • Full-length (70–85 minutes)
    • One-act (45–60 minutes)
    • 14–30 actors
    • Gender flexible casting

    One bright, blue fall afternoon a shooter walks in Three Roads High School and kills five students and two adults. During the shooting, students in one section of the school put up a makeshift barrier of desks, chairs, music stands— and a photo of the wall goes viral.

    In the hours, weeks and months after the wake of another tragedy, students and teachers deal with grief, the media frenzy and uncomfortable scrutiny that comes along with this horrible violent event that’s become all too common in America.

    With both one-act and full-length versions— and a wide range of casting options— The After is a smart and empathetic drama for both young actors and high school audiences.

    📖 Read the full-length play for free!
    📖 Read the one-act version for free!

    🎭 BLOG BONUS: Read our exclusive Q&A with playwright Werner Trieschmann.

    The After - Stage Partners

    Antigone in Munich - Stage Partners

    Antigone in Munich

    By Claudia Haas
    • Historical Drama
    • Full-length (85–95 minutes)
    • One-act (35–40 minutes)
    • 8–40 actors
    • Gender flexible casting

    Sophie Scholl was a member of the White Rose Society in Nazi Germany which encouraged passive resistance against the totalitarian government. Antigone in Munich chronicles her coming of age and development from bystander to witness to activist.

    With both one-act and full-length versions available, this historical drama for student actors is inspired by Sophocles' Greek tragedy Antigone, which asks: “What do you do when the laws of man contradict the laws of God?”

    📖 Read the full-length play for free!
    📖 Read the one-act version for free!
    🎭 BLOG BONUS: Read our exclusive Q&A with playwright Claudia Haas.

    I, Chorus

    By Ian McWethy
    • Comedy/Drama
    • One-act (35–40 minutes)
    • 18–30 actors
    • Gender flexible casting

    College-drop out Elle is lost and trying to find her place in the world until she meets a Greek Chorus completely devoted to each other and speaking in unison... And doing other things in unison. You know, like getting a job a Walmart in unison and going on a date— in unison.

    To join them, Elle has to give up everything and everyone she knows. It sounds crazy but maybe— just maybe!— this is exactly what she has been looking for...

    📖 Read the play for free!

    🎭 BLOG BONUS: A day in the writing life with Ian McWethy.

    I, Chorus - Stage Partners

    The Video Gamapalooza

    By Don Zolidis
    • Comedy
    • Full-length (90–100 minutes)
    • One-act (40–50 minutes)
    • 10–60 actors
    • Gender flexible casting

    A wild and rollicking ride through the history of arcade games, computer games, and newfangled apps! Join a crusty Gen-X-er longing for the good ol’ days and a plucky youngster who has downloaded the good old days on their phone in 12 seconds as they visit the emotional intensity of Pong, the groundbreaking nature of Ms. Pac-Man, the torturous love affairs of Mario, and the real estate development smash: Minecraft.

    If you loved The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, drop everything and read this play immediately. (Seriously, you can read it for free in your web browser right now.)

    📖 Read the play for free!
    📖 Read the one-act version for free!
    📸 Check out these pics from the show:

    For more great school theater recommendation and photos be sure to follow Stage Partners on Facebook and Twitter!

    Chris Barlow is the author of the comedies iFeel and School of Sharks (A Shark Tank Parody), as well as other plays. As a designer he has worked on over 100 productions in and around New York City, at theaters ranging from The Roundabout to Second Stage to an installation in a Harlem apartment.

    Chris is also the Director of Social Media and Content Manager at Stage Partners. He'd love to hear what you think of the blog by tweeting @stage_partners on Twitter.

    Plays by Chris Barlow - Stage Partners

    Looking for even more plays for young actors?

    Check out all our plays for schools and young actors here!

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