The Rainbow

Music-theatre work for young performers


25 minutes




Commissioned by





Pat – a schoolchild
Teacher – with a gown, mortar board, cane and handbell
Mrs Flett – with a brolly (umbrella)
Mr Tait – with a walking-stick
Donkey – a pantomime animal with two children inside, both wearing clogs
Selkie (seals)- with a rainbow hoop

Members of the chorus appear firstly as School Children; then, by putting on masks, as Dogs. Wearing appropriate headgear and being seen mending nets they become Fishermen and, by changing to suitable masks and flippers, a chorus of Selkies (seals). Finally, they become children in the classroom once more.

Descant recorder, treble recorder, tenor recorder, solo violin, piano (the pianist plays from a teacher’s score), *Percussion (6 players)
Percussion (6 players):
percussion 1: soprano glockenspiel
percussion 2: alto glockenspiel
percussion 3: chime bars, bicycle bell, klaxon
percussion 4: wood block, tambourine, castanets
percussion 5: suspended cymbal, wood block, temple block percussion 6: bass drum, tam-tam (or gong)

All singing parts are written in the treble clef, fall within the range of children’s unbroken voices, and are therefore suited to boys and/or girls. The work involves some simple acting and dancing.



Composer Notes

Programme Notes

Short Note by Paul Griffiths

This is effectively a little opera, inviting a ‘cheap and cheerful’ presentation, drawing on the artistic as well as the musical skills of those taking part, who will probably be primary- or middle-school children. No elaborate costumes, props or stage effects are required and the work is designed to be performed in a school hall, in daylight where convenient. A curtain to start and finish is unnecessary. The only ‘set’ should be a huge painted rainbow behind the action and present throughout. This will, ideally, be made by the children themselves, as will the masks worn by members of the chorus as they assume their different roles. The chorus is on stage at all times, taking part in the action as directed. Members of the chorus are required to move the cut-out traffic across the stage as indicated in the score. This ‘traffic’ is also preferably made by the children.


First Performance

Academy Hall, Stromness, Orkney (at the St. Magnus Festival)

Saturday, 20 June 1981

Pupils of Stromness Primary School