Suitable for ages: 7-11 / P4-7
Outline: The gruesome tale of Edinburgh’s most infamous criminals.
Songs: 10
Character Groups: Townsfolk/Cadavers, Students/Guards, Navvies
Lead Parts: William Burke, William Hare & Dr. Knox
Duration: 50 MINS

About Burke & Hare

Burke and Hare is a musical by Charades Theatre that is specifically tailored for school productions. The original brutal tale of the Edinburgh body snatchers has been tempered and modified so that it is ideal for dissemination amongst children. In this version of the story, Burke and Hare are pantomime villains who vow to do their worst on Victorian Edinburgh. However, through a series of blunders, their evil schemes are unravelled and they are brought before the law in the closing scenes of the musical. Throughout the production, the atmosphere of Auld Reekie, as Edinburgh was known, is omnipresent. The musical takes the participants and the audience on a guided tour of the closes, cobbles and landmarks of the nation’s capital whilst Burke and Hare may be lurking in every darkened stairwell.

The Production

This production of Burke and Hare has been structured so that it can be performed by large groups of children – a cast of up to 120 children from classes in primaries 4, 5, 6 & 7. These groups will play characters such as the Townsfolk, Guards, Navvies, Medical Students and Cadavers all of whom are integral to the story. The musical consists of nine major songs and each cast member will be involved in singing four of these. The cast is divided into three main character groups that correlate with normal school class divisions. For example, the Navvies would be played by the primary 5 class and the Townsfolk/Cadavers would be played by primary 6. The way that the cast is divided into three main character groups can vary from school to school so that it causes the minimum disruption to timetables, curriculums etc.