Papa Panov’s Magic Christmas by Paul Thain (based on a story by Leo Tolstoy)

Children’s play/ Multiple Characters, large mixed cast/ One Act, 25 minutes

A portion of Papa Panov’s Magic Christmas may be read by clicking on the “Read It Now” button above. To buy the complete text in its Samuel French print version, click here.

Synopsis: Children enter in procession carrying lighted candles as the Storyteller sets the scene and takes us back to a snowy Russian village for this magical Christmas story . . .

Papa Panov, an old shoemaker almost too blind to thread a needle, has a dream that Jesus will visit him on Christmas Day. All day he waits, but his only visitors are a tramp, a roadsweeper and a pauper woman and her cold and hungry baby. Despite his disappointment and fading hope, Papa Panov gives away his coat, his money, and his soup.

Night falls and Papa Panov thinks himself a silly old fool. But then he has another dream which convinces him his special visitor did come after all.

Papa Panov’s Magic Christmas is adapted from a short story by Tolstoy, who first heard it as a French folk-tale.

Read it Now
Performance rights must be secured before production
Contact information:
Amateur rights:
Samuel French UK, Ltd.
Professional rights:
Casarotto-Ramsay Ltd.
National House
60-66 Wardour Street
London W1V 3HP
Tel : +44 20 7287-4450
Fax : +44 20 7287-9128
Playwright’s website:

About the Playwright: Paul Thain was born in South Shields, UK. Inspired by his acting experience with the National Youth Theatre, he gave up life as a bus conductor, studied A-levels, and then read Drama & Theatre Arts at Birmingham University. When his first child was born he left teaching to become primary parent and playwright. His second radio play, The Biggest Sandcastle in the World, won a BBC Giles Cooper Award as one of the Best Radio Plays of 1981, and he has subsequently written many more including The Paradise Machine, for which the BBC’s production won the 1995 European Broadcasting Union Award for Best European Radio Drama.

Other work includes four commissioned screenplays, as yet unproduced, and five stage plays. His plays have been published and performed throughout the world, particularly the UK, Germany, Italy, Russia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Papa Panov’s Magic Christmas has received over 100 productions worldwide.