Once Upon a Bridge
Educational resources for secondary students to explore Sonya Kelly's acclaimed 2021 play
About the Resources
We invite teachers and students to explore this critically acclaimed play with the help of our teachers' pack, video interviews and writing prompts.
Introduction to the Play
Once Upon a Bridge is a tale for a modern age. Early one morning on Putney Bridge in London, three strangers’ lives collided for one fleeting second.
Playwright Sonya Kelly weaves a tale about human triumph and frailty, about the power of destiny and chance, and why sometimes we choose to hate, and other times we choose to dance.
This play was inspired by a real incident: in 2017, a jogger pushed a woman into the path of an oncoming bus on Putney Bridge in London. After the push, the jogger kept running and didn’t look back. The quick-thinking bus driver managed to swerve and narrowly avoid the woman. CCTV footage of the incident was released at the time, but the jogger was never found.
Relevance to Secondary Schools
The play provides an opportunity to examine issues such as:
- Gender-based violence
- How our actions can impact others
- How we view others (status)
- The bystander effect
- The impact of negative comments on social media
In addition, these resources provide:
- The opportunity to learn about playwriting from playwright Sonya Kelly
- Information on text analysis
- An understanding of how theatre is made
- Tips and guidelines on writing for the stage
- Writing prompts to encourage students to get creative
The play and resources are suitable for English, Drama, SPHE and Religion classes.
They are geared towards Senior cycle students, and may be of particular interest to Transition Year students. Junior cycle students may also engage with the resources but discretion is advised.
This play and accompanying educational resources explore sensitive subject matters.
Please adjust your engagement with these resources to ensure that they are appropriate and safe for your students.
Please also be aware that Once Upon a Bridge contains occasional use of strong language, a fleeting reference to sex and drug use, and a portrayal of violence against women.
How to Access the Play
The play text of Once Upon a Bridge is published by Methuen Drama and is available for purchase (ISBN: 9781350267091). We recommend buying online via Kenny’s Bookshop, Galway.
Previously, in March 2022, the play was available free to view online for secondary school teachers and their students.
This teachers' pack is free to download from the link below and contains everything teachers will need to engage fully with this play.
Meet the Playwright
We talk to Sonya Kelly about life as a playwright and the experience of writing Once Upon a Bridge.
The Art of Playwriting
Sonya Kelly provides tips and guidelines on writing for the stage – this video is particularly useful as preparation for the writing prompts.
In April 2022, we invited students to write their own monologues inspired by Once Upon a Bridge. Three of these student monologues were selected to be read by Druid actors.
Here you will find worksheets for Writing Prompt 1 and Writing Prompt 2.
We have two worksheet options: printable hardcopy for handwritten responses and softcopy for typed responses.
Please see the teachers’ pack for further information on the two writing prompts, and please consider the environment when printing these worksheets. We recommend printing double-sided where possible.
If you have any queries or feedback about these resources, please contact Claire Mullane, Druid's Community and Education Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.