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25 February 2001 Issue
Animal Rights Theatre - Wall International

by Park StRanger@aol.com 

The literary and performing arts are wonderful ways to raise awareness of animal issues. It is easy to see the influence of movies like Bambi, Babe and Chicken Run. It was a fictional novel, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), which prompted government investigation of meatpacking plants and reformed the food laws of that time. Works of poetry and music have inspired many to live more compassionately. Live theatre is also a powerful vehicle for spreading our animal concerns.

Norman Wall is an English playwright who has formed touring groups in England and Sweden. While in Sweden he worked with the Nordic Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals in a theatrical capacity and was engaged by the Swedish Animal Ombudsman to write, direct and participate in theatre activities as a means to increase awareness of animal rights issues.

He has written several children's plays that concern animal rights and environmental issues. One of them, Billy the Bear, was performed by The Norwegian National Theatre. My favorite piece by Wall is The Litterbug, in which the title character learns respect for nature from friendly forest creatures, and that littering not only messes up the environment, but also endangers animals. Other titles include Minny the Mink (who escapes from a fur farm), Charley the Chicken, The Green Elephant and several more which all have happy endings for the animals and teach lessons about respecting the world and it's inhabitants. All the plays feature opportunities for music, scenery, makeup and costumes which can be as elaborate as you can fashion; or these elements could be done very simply and still be effective.

Norman explains what motivates him- "By writing plays about these things, I try to raise the understanding, the awareness of the rights of animals to people around the world into making this world a better place for animals. By giving animals their freedom, by treating them as living creatures like
ourselves and by raising the status of animals, it follows that we also raise the status of human life."

If you work with children, are an elementary school teacher or someone involved in a children's theatre group you will want to check out Mr. Wall's website for more information about producing his plays. A children's theatrical production not only influences the audience, but also teaches and motivates the young cast members who are involved. Any child who takes a part in such a play and goes through the rehearsal process is likely to become an animal advocate for life.

Wall International is dedicated to increasing the awareness of animal welfare issues in the public mind. Learn more about the plays and also children's books and music at

Animal Theatre
http://www.osonet.com/Animaltheatre
Wall international
http://www.wallinternational.com
children's play for animal rights
http://www.animalfreedom.org/english/action/childrensplay.html
or email Norman Wall at wallinternational@hotmail.com for more information

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