Operation: Who Stole the Crown Jewels?

by Adriana Flores Heard

Length of Program

10 hours

  • Workshop: 1 hour
  • Writing: 2-3 hours
  • Production (props, etc): 2-3 hours
  • Rehearsal: 2 hours
  • Performance: 1 hour

Program Description

Teens write, produce, and perform a play in which the audience tries to discover who stole the missing crown jewels.


Invite someone from the community, such as an English teacher, or a local playwright to offer a brief workshop on playwriting. Alternately, librarians may develop and host a workshop based on titles in the Professional Resources section.

Begin with a of history of the British Crown Jewels and Colonel Thomas Blood, known as the “Man who stole the Crown Jewels”. For details, see The History and Heritage Accommodation Guide for England, Scotland and Wales web site at www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/England-History/ColonelBlood.htm.

Let teens create a new culprit to steal the crown jewels. Use the “Who Stole the Crown Jewels?” Planning Sheet.

Invite members of the community to attend the play and let the audience guess “whodunit” before the culprit is revealed.


Place pictures of the Tower of London, the crown jewels, and question marks surrounding the words ” Who Stole the Crown Jewels?” on the bulletin board. Include a description of the program, date, time, and location.


The library staff writes the mystery in advance and displays copies on the library’s web site and in the Teen Department. The librarian gives teens one clue per week throughout the summer. Clues are placed in the Teen Department and on the library’s web site. Teens are eligible to participate in two raffles, one for the correct and one for the incorrect guesses. After teens receive all of the clues, place the names of those who submit entries with the name of the thief in one raffle, and those with incorrect names in another raffle. Give a gag gift to the winner of the raffle with incorrect entries. Host a party at the end of the summer to “unveil” the real thief, the winners, and distribute the raffle prizes.

Perform the “Readers’ Theater Program: Uncover the Unexpected” or “Mystery Role-playing Game: The Body in the Billiard Room” from No Limits Read: Young Adult Reading Club and Program Manual by Lisa Youngblood published by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Books to Display

  • How to Steal the Crown Jewels by Nicolas Green.
  • The Queen’s Jewels: The Personal Collection Of Elizabeth II by Leslie Field.
  • Tower Of London: The Official History by Edward Impey and Geoffrey Parnell.

Audio Recording

Film Music by Maurice Jarre.


Treasure! Jewels of the British Crown. (50 minutes)

Web Site

The History and Heritage accommodation guide for England, Scotland and Wales


Professional Resources

  • No Limits Read: Young Adult Reading Club and Program Manual by Lisa Youngblood.
  • Putting On A Play: The Young Playwright’s Guide To Scripting, Directing, and Performing by Nancy Bentley and Donna Guthrie.
  • Putting On A Play: A Guide To Writing And Producing Neighborhood Drama by Susan and Stephen Judy.
  • Writing Your Own Plays: Creating, Adapting, Improvising by Carol Korty.


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011