Gladys Aylward: Virtuous One



This is the same story that you may have seen in the Ingrid Bergman film, “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”, but this play is based on her biography not this movie. (Gladys is a big part for an actress, she is in every scene)  The play also has a lot of scene changes as her story just moves from place to place.  Probably best to keep it simple and not carry on and off a lot of set pieces.


Gladys wanted to go to China as a missionary, but she could not get any missionary society to accept her with her limited skills and knowledge. She saves up her money in England, and buys a ticket on a train across Russia in 1932. She gets held up there, and they do not want to let her go, thinking she can work for them as a machinist in their factories. She escapes with some help on a Japanese ship and gets to China. Once there, the local mandarin asks her to be the official foot inspector, to stop the foot binding of women and girl’s feet. She sees a woman selling a small child and buys her for ninepence. She stops the riot in a prison by just praying, walking in and taking charge. She ends up with a home full of orphans and leads a young woman to Christ who was cruel to little girls. The mandarin converts to Christianity, and in the final scene, Gladys takes 100 orphans across the mountains to the Yellow River during the attack of the Japanese. After praying for help, a Chinese soldier shows up to help them get across the river to safety.

Cast of 20 (10 male, 4 female, 6 children) with as many child extras as you can come up with. Approx. 45-50 mins.


Gladys: Children! Becareful! Don’t go too far into the water!

Jun: Ai-weh-deh, how long are we going to stay here on this beach?

Gladys: Until a boat comes for us. We have to be patient.

Less: But Mother, we’ve been here for 3 days! There are no boats! And
there isn’t any food! Why doesn’t God hear our prayers?

Gladys: God hears our prayers, Less.

Less: But He does not answer! He doesn’t send boats! What if the
Japanese come?

Gladys: Calm down, Less. I don’t want you to frighten the younger

Ninepence: Mother, I’m hungry!

Gladys: Ninepence, you are a big girl now.. I want you to be strong.

Ninepence: I’m tired of being strong!

Gladys: Why don’t you run along and play with the others?

Ninepence: I’m tired of playing. I’m tired of the water. I’m tired of the

Gladys: And you know what? I’m tired of complaining children.. but I don’t
think I can do anything about any of that right now.

Ninepence: I’m sorry, Mother.

Jun: Will you tell us another story tonight? Or sing songs with us?

Gladys: Yes.. I suppose I will. And we will pray some more. But run along
Jun.. I can’t do anything just now…

Less: Mother! Why doesn’t God answer our prayers? Does He want us to die

Gladys: I don’t know, Less. No.. He can’t want us to die here. He has
saved us so many times. He helped us travel over the mountains.. and He has
fed us and given us shelter…and gave us strength. He protected us from
the Japanese soldiers. I cannot believe that he would bring us to the
Yellow River..and not allow us to cross it. I keep praying.. but… I just
don’t understand it. Oh dear God.. If there is anything I have done … if
you will not hear my prayer.. won’t you please hear the prayers and cries of
these hundred children???

Sualan: Ai-weh-deh, do you remember telling us how Moses took the children
of Israel to the edge of the Red Sea, and how God commanded the water to
open and the Israelites crossed in safety?

Gladys: Yes, of course. It is my favorite story from the bible.

Sualan: I think it is the favorite of all the children. They always want
to hear you tell it.

Gladys: Yes, they do. It is a wonderful story.

Ninepence: Tell us now, Mother!

Less: Yes! Tell us the story of Moses!

Gladys: Sualan, you tell them.. you know the story.

Sualan: Alright. (stands) Children! Gather around! I’m going to tell
you a story! Come and sit on the ground where you can hear! I’m going to
tell you the story of Moses! (they cheer)


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