Whistle Down the Wind

A fugitive is caught between the prejudice of adults and the innocence of the young.

Photo: The Ballywillan Drama Group 2020, photograph by Darren Gardiner
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Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Jim Steinman

Whistle Down the Wind revolves around the time and place where the word teenager was invented. Swallow, a 15 year-old-girl growing up in America’s deep South in the fifties, discovers a mysterious man hiding out in a barn. When she asks who he is and the first words he utters are “Jesus Christ,” it’s as if all her prayers have been answered.

Swallow and the town’s other children vow to protect the stranger from the world that waits outside—the townspeople who are determined to catch a fugitive hiding in their midst. As fantasy and reality collide, Swallow is torn between the two and begins to discover who she is and where she is going.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s emotive score combines hauntingly beautiful love songs and explosive rock music, with lyrics by acclaimed Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler songwriter Jim Steinman. It features “No Matter What,” which was covered by Boyzone, hitting number one in 18 countries.

Whistle Down the Wind contrasts the relentless influence of the modern world with the traditional values of the old days—something which the community at its heart yearns to return to. The show is a great choice for secondary schools and youth groups with a broad talent pool of young performers.

Based on the original novel by Mary Hayley Bell and the film produced by Richard Attenborough, directed by Bryan Forbes from a screenplay by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. With book by Patricia Knop, Gale Edwards and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Orchestrations by David Cullen & Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Whistle Down The Wind Perusal Script


Size of orchestra: Medium

Genre: Adaptation (Literature) Adaptation (Stage & Screen) Drama Faith-based Mystery/Thriller Period Romance Social Themes

Vocal demands: Moderate

Dance Requirements: Minimal

Cast Size: Large

Casting Opportunities: Children Ensemble Cast Star Vehicle Female Star Vehicle Male

Performance groups

Amateur Society Performing Arts School Professional Religious Secondary School University Youth Group

Videos from the show

  • Todrick Hall and Andrew Lloyd Webber perform "No Matter What" in lockdown
  • Tina Arena sings “Whistle Down the Wind”
  • Jeremy Jordan & Ashley Spencer sing "Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts"
  • The cast and creative team discuss the 1998 London production
  • Elsie Cornish performs “Whistle Down the Wind” in the Halton Community Artists 2013 production
  • "When Children Rule the World" performed by the Spirit Young Performers Company in 2015
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