WALDEN: The Ballad of Thoreau

The Walden play is helping introduce thousands of folks who have heard about Thoreau, know some of his quotes, but nothing about his life and his thinking. This past Earth Day alone, over 500 radio stations aired the Walden Radio Drama, based entirely on the play script used in schools, colleges and community theaters.

This two act, one set, four character play is designed for use by high schools, colleges, community theaters and home schools. The play script and all the production materials are provided free. Walden can be performed at any time, but we encourage you to consider it as an Earth Day event.

Thoreau is America’s original “tree hugger” and forefather of our environmental movement. Yet, the generation in schools right now haven’t a clue about Thoreau. He was a gentle naturalist, earth lover, author, pencil maker … and is the most quoted American writer in history. Yet, when he passed, he was more well known for having helped market the pencil than for a single word he wrote with it.

Why is Thoreau and this play relevant to students?

“In an age of global warming, bio-fuels, hybrid cars and oil wars,” says play author Michael Johnathon from his farmhouse home in Kentucky, “the play can introduce students to Thoreau as well as environmental concerns in their own home towns at a time when, frankly, they need it.”

How can my school and my students participate?

Two ways:

By PERFORMING the play as a community/school event. This will involve young folks, teachers, actors, musicians and more. It is a great hometown project!

By STREAMING the online version of the Walden play in the classroom and using the provided lesson plans to engage students in a discussion about Thoreau, the earth and our place in it.

By SHOWING the Walden DVD as a film to students

The use and performance of this original stage play is free to any school wishing to participate. It can be as small as a classroom (the two acts are 25 minutes long each) or in front of hundreds in the school theater or auditorium. Educator’s can simply download all the scripts, music and promotion materials from this website … put on a show and have a great time!

How do I start?


Simply email us with you name and school or theater information and we will direct you to our download page: producer@waldenplay.com

How do I get a copy of the Walden Play and lesson plan?
Educators can send us an email simply asking for the script, producer@waldenplay.com. We will direct you to the FREE download site for the script posters and instructions. There you will be able to simply download the play as a 52 page PDF, plus posters, programs, lesson plans, music and more.
Another way is to FAX us on school stationary 859-225-4020. ALWAYS INCLUDE your name, grade, school name, school address and phone number in your email or fax request.

Can we invite the public?
Yes, of course.

Can we charge tickets as a fund raiser?
Yes, you can.

Would we owe royalties if we charge a ticket to the public?
No, the play is free for your use and a gift from the author to the schools.

How can we promote the play?
The WaldenPlay website has a section for teachers to use. It has predesigned posters, handbills, radio PSA scripts plus an 8 page Walden Play Program. The program is essentially four 8 1/2” by 11” sheets of paper, folded. The artwork is already laid out for you.

Who is supporting this project?
Aside from the author: the Earth Day Network, American Forests, Dixon-Ticonderoga, EarthCARE Canada and Mother Earth News Magazine. By working together, the play is made available free of charge to schools.

Does the play HAVE to be performed on Earth Day?
The play is uniquely designed to tie-in with Earth Day, environmental and nature themes that many schools already have on their schedules. Producing the play on Earth Day can associate your school into the national momentum of Earth Day … very helpful to students. However, the subject of the play and Thoreau makes the production suitable all year long. The setting of the play itself takes place in September, the month Thoreau left the cabin. Some schools and theaters might prefer to produce the play in the autumn. Some schools might have better promotion and production accessibility in the winter months. The producers understand that performance schedules can change from school to school, theater to theater.

Does the Play have to be performed in a Theater?
The production can be as intimate as a classroom or as spacious as a local theater where students from several schools are bussed in all day long to see repeated performances of the play, like a field trip.

We would love to work with you!

Please email us at this address producer@waldenplay.com and we will be glad to answer any questions.