Street Child (play)

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By Berlie Doherty

originally published 1 January 2009

In 2000, Berlie Doherty wrote a play script version of her novel Street Child for the Collins Plays Plus series. Act 1, Scenes 5 and 6, covers the same events as in chapter four in the novel. The children can therefore compare the handling of the same storyline in two narrative genres.

There are seven speaking parts and a number of non-speaking parts, so the play is ideal for group reading or a whole-class performance.

This activity can be linked to the activity Street Child, extract from novel, which compares the novel with the play.


Before reading

  • Discuss the title. What do the children think a ‘street child’ is? Which era do they think the play will be about?
  • Look at the cast list. Why has the author chosen these characters? How will this affect the plot and setting?
  • Set the extract into context. It is based on the true story of an orphan who inspired Doctor Barnado to set up his famous orphanage. The main character, Jim Jarvis, and his sick mother have come to the workhouse following the death of his father and his family’s eviction.
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  1. Fracat
    on 5 July 2017

    Novel activities

    I'm a subscriber but still can't open either of the leaflets for the script and the extract. Help!

    Hi Fracat, the extracts that are referred to in the above lesson plan can be found chapter 4 of the novel and Act 1, Scene 5 and 6 of the script, (Plays Plus series published by Collins). Best wishes, Primary Resource Bank team.

    1out of 5
  2. Dramatic persona
    on 16 May 2017

    Street Child resources

    Can't open the 'leaflets' for the script and extract.

    This article has been updated and all content is now available for paid subscribers.

    1out of 5
  3. evie
    on 22 September 2015

    i love the book

    I love the book but I haft to finish the it yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    5out of 5
  4. Emily
    on 18 October 2014

    The street child

    I like this book because there adventures sound fun.

    5out of 5
  5. Patricia
    on 17 October 2013

    Street Child Play

    Can't open any of your resiurces

  6. Katie fletcher
    on 8 November 2012

    Street child

    I love the book it is just sooo hooking to me.

  7. emily
    on 26 September 2012


    this book is really good but i haved finshed it yet reading it with the class. it very depressing in a good way i will finsh this when have finshed the book.

    5out of 5
  8. charmaine rosa
    on 18 November 2011

    i love street child

    i think street child is a good story

  9. ploddy
    on 25 September 2011

    street child

    Cannot download the text

  10. kyle greenhill
    on 2 February 2011

    street child

    please work