Children’s Theatre – Crystal’s Vardo


In 2017 Crystal’s Vardo will be in its sixth year! The journey continues and we are now taking bookings for June 2017. A performance of Crystal’s Vardo is a great way to celebrate Gypsy Roma Traveller history month. It is suitable for school children 7-13 but also is a great tool for training events for professionals and service providers.  We have performed the play in schools, theatres, festivals, colleges, prisons and conferences for health professional s and police.

Crystal’s Vardo is a play that examines the impact of being bullied at school on a young Gypsy girl’s life. It also explores the rich history and culture of Gypsies and Travellers to raise awareness and improve understanding of the Travelling community.

If you would like to book a performance or just have a chat about the possibility please contact Suzanna King or 07825 003072

What our audiences said June 2016

‘What a powerful aid to understanding the rich heritage of Gypsy, Roma & Traveller people, and a shocking reminder of the prejudice and persecution they have suffered through the ages – prejudice they sadly still face today….thank you to Friends Families and Travellers and to everyone behind this amazing, inspiring production.’ Mayor of Brighton & Hove

‘The performance was fab.. children and staff loved it’ Traveller education, Blanau-gwent

‘Loved the way the story was told, and thought the characterisations were brilliant!’ St Andrews Church Youth partnership, North Somerset

‘Informative, creative and entertaining .. well presented, costumes very authentic to the times’ Tuxford Academy, Notts

‘They did us proud’ Traveller from site in North Somerset

‘Traveller children at our school loved the fact you knew ‘their words’ and it will be something they will always remember’   Teacher, North Crescent Primary, Essex

‘I enjoyed the intimate close-up performance … educational, entertaining and thought provoking! I foresee the potential to use this play for raising awareness within the police’ Herts Police

We always like to follow the play up with a discussion after and a teacher’s pack is provided for schools. We are also happy to run workshops and tailor to your requirements.


This is following the huge success of the tour of Crystal’s Vardo in June 2013 and 2014:

All the children were captivated as were all the adults’
Tim MacFarlan Bexley and North Kent reporter


‘Taught the settled community who we are’
Bonny, Traveller age 12


‘A seamless mix of entertainment and education. I didn’t know Traveller history was so rich and so varied.
Rhys, 20


DSC_0190One of the best shows I’ve seen’
Detroy, age 12


‘I think the play was amazing!!!!!!
Kai aged 10


Very well put together, more people need to be made aware of this play’ … ‘thank you for educating me today and giving me an understanding of the Gypsy and Traveller community’
Sussex Police Training event


‘The play was absolutely fantastic, the children loved it and have really taken in lots of information – a fantastic way to introduce the topic’
Liz Searle, Year 4 teacher Ellingham Primary School, Surrey


DSC_0146Crystal’s Vardo was brilliant this evening! Should be shown to educate all.. very well done!!
Jo Jo Keogh, MBE


‘The children really had a thought provoking and up-lifting experience! There is a real change in attitude from the children who saw the play. The message is now clear!
Teacher, Belvedere Primary school Kent


‘I will recommend Crystal’s Vardo as a learning resource whenever, wherever it is appropriate. Thank you – it was fantastic!
Liz Hayle Belvedere Primary School

Background of Crystal’s Vardo

In June 2012 Friends Families and Travellers produced its first ever professional theatre production ‘Crystal’s Vardo’ a new play for children and young people written by Suzanna King.

The play premiered at The Pavilion Theatre in Brighton as part of Gypsy Roma Traveller History month and was a great success. The play was also performed in several Brighton schools where it was also well received.

Kavanagh Rose Rattigan herself of Irish Traveller heritage led the cast as Crystal, supported by Neil Thomas and Cara Fraser in numerous other roles.

Despite the gravity of the themes there was a great deal of sympathetic humour in the script, and Crystal’s boisterous character kept the mood light. Historically accurate, detailed, well-researched and not too long to lose the interest of the children, the resultant production was educational yet thoughtful.
Though clearly moralistic with a strong message, the play remained humorous and warm, ending with emotional appreciation. The more children get to see plays like this, the greater the chance that unfairness towards Travellers and Gypsies will come to an end.
The Argus, Brighton

The play focuses on Crystal a young Gypsy girl who has been bullied at school. Desperate to get away she runs away from home with her Grandfather’s vardo and pony only to find herself lost and miles from anywhere familiar, she has not no choice but to put her trust in the audience to help her find her way back. As Crystal begins to tell the story of her ancestors, something extraordinary happens and Crystal and her companions find themselves far back in time, when the first Gypsies migrated from Northern India. By piecing together the shards of her ancestry, she regains a new confidence in her own identity, whilst raising the awareness of her new friends. The play unfolds employing traditional telling and music, the audience are invited to participate.

Crystal’s Vardo was written in response to the continued problems of discrimination and bullying faced by young Travellers. It is an excellent resource for schools to help tackle these issues and to teach the settled community about the history and culture of Gypsies and Travellers and in turn building a sense of pride in Traveller children and their
rich heritage.

‘Loved the show, you did us proud’
Bev, Traveller

The play is suitable for both Junior age (7-11) and year seven at secondary level.
Teaching materials and follow up work will be provided and can be tailored to the needs of the school.

What the schools said:

Personally, I liked the fact that the history of the persecution of Travellers was explained as I think we all learnt something there. In addition to this the acting was great and really engaged the children for the duration of the performance. There were many aspects of the play that were accessible for all ages some with the help of follow up discussions in class and year group assemblies.
It would be a fantastic starting point for schools that have not experienced Travellers within the community and equally excellent at supporting ones that have.
Carden Primary, Brighton


It was great! We all enjoyed it very much
I liked the way the personal and the historic wove together in a moving, interesting and entertaining way. Crystal was a very engaging character and I liked the way her relationship with the audience changed during the show making plain the power of getting to know someone before you judge them._
I think the show will reinforce learning about the consequences of name-calling and encourage discussion about how we welcome someone new or from a culture that is often subject to discrimination/prejudice and also how we challenge prejudice.
St Lukes Primary, Brighton


It was good the way it made students think about the ways in which traveller children are thought of and spoken about. Very good
Patcham High School

Friends Families and Travellers is proud to be supported and assisted in this project by René Cassin, a Jewish human rights organisation currently campaigning on behalf of Gypsies and Travellers. Like the Jewish communities, Gypsy/Traveller and Roma communities have experienced a long history of persecution, discrimination and exclusion and we believe that all should stand together in the ongoing fight against racism and prejudice.

If you are interested in hearing more about Crystal’s Vardo or would like to book a performance please contact Suzanna at FFT 01273 234821 or

lottery__crystals vardo

Last modified: November 25, 2016