The Tinderbox

By Charles Way

A play with songs for all the family, suitable for both Christmas and all year round.


Jonas, a handsome young soldier, discovers treasure beyond his wildest dreams when he finds a tinderbox which gives him power beyond other mortals.

The Tinderbox is an epic journey tale, from rags to riches, though war, political intrigue, the depths of despair to the heights of love and passion. It is a classic everyman tale inspired by the Hans Andersen story but not a copy of it. This version of the tale reflects Andersen’s own life as he searched for fame and fortune.

Jonas’ adventures explore friendship, betrayal and the importance of ‘staying true‘ to one’s values. Exciting and touching, the story includes a fantastical range of characters – a witch, a king, a beautiful opera singer and a dog with eyes as big as saucers.

Minimum cast size

7 (5M 2F, flexible)


  • The Witch of What Happens Next
  • Jonas
  • Jennny
  • Christian / Gold dog
  • The Sergeant / Dr Meisling of Meisling on Sea / Brother Sam
  • Bernard the soldier / Mr Wullf the banker / Father Collins /
    Silver dog
  • Hans the soldier / Copper dog / Brother John

Production history

The Tinderbox was jointly commissioned by the Unicorn Theatre London, and Gwent Theatre, Wales. It was first produced in 2001 by Gwent Theatre and toured to middle scale venues. The author directed a rewritten version of the play in 2005 at The Gardner Arts Centre in Brighton (music by Richard Taylor).

Available from

The Tinderbox is published by Aurora Metro Press in The Classic Fairytales 2 Retold for the Stage (together with The Golden Goose and Sinbad – The Untold Tale). ISBN 978-0-9551566-7-0

Age suitability

A play with songs for all the family, suitable for both Christmas and all year round.


All images and content © Charles Way 2018