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Programme Outline

The Teacher/Actor arrives in the class, to meet the children, in role as a Story Smith, he is working on a new version of Jack and the Beanstalk and needs the children’s help. The Story Smith asks the children if they know it. Together they piece together the main events of the story. In order to explore further they need more space so they leave the classroom for the hall.

Laid out in the hall is a 100 number grid similar to a snakes and ladder board. Beginning at number one, Jack’s house, the children and the Story Smith imagine what it must be like doing the chores. When each exercise is complete a number challenge card is read out and the children attempt to solve the puzzle to move on along the board. The children, in the collective role of Jack, meet Jack’s Mother she talks to them about the need to get some money and they help decide to sell the cow. The next number challenge leads the children to meet a strange little old man on the road to market; a child takes on the role of Jack while two others represent the cow. The exchange of the cow for the bag of beans is played out.

Meanwhile Jack’s Mother is excitedly planning what to spend the money on once the family debts are paid off. Jack returns with his bag of beans and children play out the scene between Jack and his Mother until he is sent to bed and the beans are thrown through the window. We see Jack in his bedroom alone with his thoughts before going to sleep.


Arriving back after break the children see that the Beanstalk has grown and join Jack as he climbs up, and bounces his way across the clouds to the castle. The door is very large and the children estimate how big the giant might be based on a footprint. Jack sneaks into the castle and find himself in the kitchen. Lost in exploring the giant kitchen Jack is caught by the cook, who is persuaded by Jack to let him live because he can help preparing the Giant’s supper. The Giant is having Bean Feast Soup and the different ingredients have to be weighed out, but some of the weights seem to be missing. The children work to combine different weights to make the right quantities.

The Giant returns from his night of plundering and Jack hides, the Giant eats and falls asleep while counting his loot.

With the teacher as the sleeping giant the children try to sneak up and take the bag of money, each time the giant is disturbed by too much noise he
stirs in his sleep and the children in role as Jack freeze. When the Jacks haev all the money, they sneak off and climb down the beanstalk.

The children help count the money but quickly realise there is not much and will not last long. Jack decides to climb the beanstalk once more.
At the Giant’s castle Jack lies in wait once more and watches as the Giant return as before and as well as money being counted Jack sees the Hen that lays the golden egg. Jack has to decide whether to take the money, the golden eggs or the Hen. As Jack grabs the Hen the clucking wakes the Giant and he runs, Jack makes it to the beanstalk and as he climbs down he calls to his Mother for the axe and she chops the beanstalk down. The Giant falls and dies.

There is a discussion as to whether the treatment of the Giant is fair, votes are cast by putting beans in a yes or no pot the outcome is assessed . And what became of Jack and his Mother? Did they live happily ever after? What happens when the rest of the village hear about the wonderful Hen? Do Jack and his Mother share their good fortune? Why is nobody talking about the huge dead giant lying on the village green? They are all stories for another time.

The programme ends.

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