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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and other Classics on Stage in Southern Ontario

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

Novel Study Ideas for Fourth and Fifth Graders

0 7 June 2016 | TMA

Director Tim Carroll's production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, a fantasy classic written by CS Lewis and first published in 1950 and 1954 (with illustrations by Pauline Baynes), is now on stage through November 2016 at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. Lewis a medievalist at Oxford University also wrote children’s books dedicated to his niece Lucy. He was friends with J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, and R.L. Green, the author of several children’s book that we use for the TMA teaching packets. In fact, it was Green who encouraged Lewis to publish the children's books and gave it the title of Narnia to the collection. The collection, entitled The Chronicles of Narnia, is a series of 7 fantasy books with characters representing medieval stories and myths, such as centaurs and satyrs. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the most famous from this collection with four siblings entering a medieval land from a special wardrobe connected to the land of Narnia.

The Stratford Festival staging of this classical makes for a great cross-disciplinary learning of the story and medieval topics. In addition, in grade 4, the Ontario curriculum of Language Arts initiates the learning of rhetorical language, and the first lesson is allegory (third grade in French Immersion with the study of allégorie), and this text is full of allegorical meaning; thus, a great novel study to hit various criteria in the curriculum.

The play tries to capture the magic of Narnia with representations of the animals of the land (even with actor Mike Nadajewski in satyr’s hooves as Mr. Tumnus), the children flying on the back of Aslan, and Aslan himself created from books. Writing, reading, words is theme of the play as not only Aslan’s mane created from pages of books, but books are visible on stage and sentences from the Lewis’s book flow on a backscreen (cyclorama wall in the theatre) as the children fly to the battle with Aslan.

Students may enjoy reading the book in class and then seeing the story staged. In addition the education department at Stratford Theatre have included several Educational Materials to teach the text. Visit their site at

If you need anymore lessons or activities, such as a lesson sheet on allegory in English or French, contact us this summer so we can prepare the information by September.

For a copy of the text, visit the TMA shop. There are several editions available.

Alice in Wonderland written and directed by Peter Hinton at the Shaw Festival, Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, May 14-October 16, 2016 (see Review by CHristopher Holie:

Another great classic on stage this summer through the fall is Lewis Carroll's Alice and Wonderland at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The classic story of a young girl who falls through a rabbit hole is not set in medieval lands but in a 1865 fantasy world (also with anthropomorphic creatures). It also is a great novel study for some of the goals of the curriculum in fifth grade. If you need any support for Reading Expectations of responding to and evaluating texts (1.8), our team can create a key for teachers of a character profile based on stated and implied text, looking at text through narratology, especially how speech and thought are represented as the curriculum is asking for teachers to discuss (see language Arts, page 95 [for grade 5]). Contact us this summer in advance to the new school year to prepare lessons for you. We can also create lessons on similes and personifications for Element of Styles (2.4)

In addition, just like the advice above the text can be read and then students can see the story come to life on stage. Alice small and large can be discussed within discussions of perspective and math, and the director created spectacular perspective on stage!

Also, connect with the community for other activities. When Wizard of Oz was stage at The Ed Mirvish Theatre in 2013, directed by Jeremy Sama, Avenue Roads Art School on Avenue Road in Toronto offered a structure class for a week where students made the house of Dorothy falling on the Wicked Witch!... this of course fulfilled buildings and creating structures for grade 3 in the Ontario curriculum.


In Niagara this summer Prince of Wales Hotel, walking distance from the Shaw Festival theaters, is complimenting the Alice and Wonderland show with a special tea event—the Mad Hatter Tea Party—for children after the 2pm show, learning a British custom of High Tea (usually at 4PM) and of course lots of boutiques offering beautiful British hats to purchase for your High Tea event! Experience a book and make reading a classic fun!

How to cite this blog:

TMA staff, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and other Classics on Stage in Southern Ontario: Novel Study Ideas for Fourth and Fifth Graders,” Teaching the Middle Ages (TMA), June 7, 2016,

Books Recommended:

Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland.

Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz.

See TMA Shop for more purchasing options.

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