The Great Bank Robbery

Music-theatre work for young performers


30 minutes


Opus 134


Commissioned by





Mother Father
2 Bank Robbers
4 Policemen
TV Receptionist
TV Personality
TV Director
2 (or more) Security Guards
Chorus of Bank Clerks, Townsfolk
Film Crew

The piece is scored for a small band of woodwind, brass, strings, percussion and piano. The general level of wind and string parts is approximately that of Grade IV/V of the Associated Board. There is an important violin tune which needs to be played with musicality, while the trumpet part is prominent, often carrying the melody, and needs a player of some experience.
WoodwindThe ideal instrumentation if for three players:
flute or clarinet

The ideal instrumentation is for three players:
trumpet trombone
Tuned percussion
For two to four players. The actual instruments are not specified but could include a glockenspiel, xylophone, metallophone, chime bars and bass xylophone.
Untuned percussion
For three players:
tambourine and snare drum
suspended cymbal and tam-tam or gong
clashed cymbals and bass drum
There is no piano part as such; the pianist can use either the full score or the vocal score. When the complete orchestral resources are available, the pianist needs to play at specific points only, at the discretion of the conductor.
If you have the resources, the following groupings would be desirable:
violin 1 (4 players)
violin 2 (4 players)
viola (4 players)
cello (4 players)
double bass (1 player)
However, the parts may be played by solo strings, or by a small, balanced group of players. The viola part is optional.
In the first performance, the string section consisted of violin 1 (2 players), violin 2 (2 players), cello (2 players) and double bass (1 player). These numbers gave an adequate balance with the woodwind, brass and percussion.


1. The Bank
2. The Car Chase
3. Mammoth TV Studio


The story concerns a surprise raid by robbers on a High Street bank, the subsequent car chase, and the unmasking and capture of the robbers by their young hostages in a television studio, live before the nation.

There are three short scenes, each linked by an instrumental transition:
1. The Bank
2. The Car Chase
3. Mammoth TV Studio

Composer Notes

Programme Notes

Short Note

The Great Bank Robbery is a short music-theatre work written for eleven- to thirteen-year-olds. It provides scope for a large group of children to be involved in singing, playing or acting, and in the making of simple scenery and props. In the first production, there were about 75 children in the cast, with an orchestra of 20.


First Performance

Kirkwall Arts Theatre, Kirkwall, Orkney (at the St. Magnus Festival)

Friday, 16 June 1989

Pupils of Kirkwall Grammar School