THE NAUGHTY CARRIAGE ON THE ORPHAN TRAIN
Performed by Chantelle Micallef Grimaud, Becky Brincat and Luke Saydon
The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train is a two-act musical written and composed by Luke Saydon. The musical was selected for presentation at the BEAM2020 industry showcase, co-produced by Musical Theatre Network and Mercury Musical Developments in partnership with Royal and Derngate, Northampton.
The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train is a cautionary tale that warns about the dangers of not being naughty. This playfully macabre musical recounts the adventures of a troupe of mischievous children who escape a train transporting them away from their homes. It's inspired by true events, and tells the story of children who are equipped with questions, mischief and naughtiness, yet must find their way in a world where curiosity is suppressed.
The Orphan Train Movement ran between 1854 and 1929 in America. It relocated almost a quarter of a million children from crowded Eastern cities of the US to rural areas in the Midwest. These orphans were branded as “being thrown friendless upon this world”. When the train arrived in a rural town, they were taken to town halls, put on display and grown-ups came to choose the ones they wanted to take home.
Our story is about the orphans not chosen. "The naughty ones". The immigrants, the disabled, the unattractive. These children were put in the rear carriage of the train: “the naughty carriage”.
One night, a young boy drops through the roof hatch. His name is Champ, but he calls himself the naughtiest of all naughty children. He invites the orphans to escape, warning them of the life that awaits them if they remain on the train. A life with no curiosity, a life dictated by the clock, with no time for dreams. He invites them to celebrate their naughtiness, celebrate mischief and playfulness, and create their own unique stories.
With Champ as their leader, the troupe escape. He nurtures their sparks of curiosity and imagination, so that trivial moments become fascinating adventures. The further they run from being sensible, the more they realise that, to be equipped with imagination, curiosity and naughtiness, is a special thing indeed.
The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train has been in development since 2018, and is written for families. A cast of six adults play all the children roles and a band of four musicians provide the music.
The book is written as one epic nursery rhyme. Every aspect of the story is rooted in reality, but brought to life through the eyes of a child's imagination. Think the magic of Peter Pan meets a Charles Dickens world.
The musical is currently at its first draft stage, ready to move on to the next stage of development. It's open for new creative partnerships with directors, dramaturge, book writers, and consultants, as well as connections with theatres which can see the piece on to a workshop phase and beyond.
The writer of The Naughty Carriage is keen to work with theatres that are connected with communities of people who know what it's like to be a passenger on the orphan train. Luke's work is informed by his work within communities. He works with organisations such as Amnesty International, Chickenshed Theatre Company, the Museum of London, dementia groups and he recently worked with child victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train is a story of hope. How our own support system can overcome rejection and make us stronger. Collaborations with communities will guarantee an honest story that inspires, entertains and re-sparks curiosity in everyone.
THE BEAR WHO DRINKS TEARS
This song comes in the first act, when the youngest of the orphan troupe starts crying, and apologises for doing so, for he’s been told it's wrong to cry. Champ, the leader of the troupe, assures him that it's not right and necessary to cry, because there’s a bear out there who drinks tears. A bear who kindly collects tears from weeping eyes and stores them in his jars. We see a big puppet of a bear forming during the song. Tears made from blue pieces of fabric with lights float around the space to create a magical atmosphere.
THE CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT
This song comes in the first act, when Champ, the naughtiest of all naughty children, invites the passengers on the Naughty Carriage to escape. To leave behind a life of rules and sensibility, and live up to the naughtiness.
The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train is part of the line-up for the UK's leading musical theatre showcase BEAM2020.
BEAM is a festival highlighting emerging musical theatre talent from across the world. It’s the largest event of its kind in the UK, and gathers together musical theatre writers, producers, directors, supporters and enthusiasts. Industry figures and producers take part in BEAM to assess work and watch performers in action.
For the first time, The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train will be showcased. It's a musical about naughtiness. A musical about naughty children.
More on: http://www.mercurymusicals.com/2020/01/beam-2020-line-up-announced/
The full program of BEAM 2020 can be accessed from the link above or downloaded from as a PDF here. Do give it a look and celebrate the wonderful company that The Naughty Carriage is so proud to be part of.
MORE FROM LUKE SAYDON
If you'd like to hear more about this project, express an interest in collaborating, offer
support in any way, kindly get in touch using the following e-mail.
© Luke Saydon