Show History



Although The Ragged Child is a fictional story, many of the details of its historical setting are inspired by truth. The dire straits of poor and destitute children living in 1850s London are mirrored in the lives of the characters. Additionally, the creators used a past circumstance to highlight a present concern: the plight of the homeless.


The Ragged Child is a National Youth Music Theatre production that premiered in 1986 at the Edinburgh International Festival.

The show went on to Sadler's Wells in the spring of 1987.

The Ragged Child has since become one of the company's flagship productions; it was additionally mounted in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2014.

With the 1998 production of The Ragged Child, the NYMT also became the first touring company to perform at the new Glyndebourne Opera House.

Cultural Influence

  • In 1988, The Ragged Child was filmed for BBC TV.
  • The Ragged Child was the subject of an ITV documentary; ITV is a commercial TV network in the United Kingdom.
  • An original cast recording of The Ragged Child featuring the NYMT cast was released in 1988.


  • National Youth Music Theatre is a British company that has been producing work for youth since 1977.
  • Jeremy James Taylor, bookwriter and lyricist for The Ragged Child, is also the founding director of NYMT.
  • Actors Jude Law and Johnny Lee Miller were in the original cast of The Ragged Child early in their careers and both sing on the 1988 Sadler's Wells cast recording.