For Schools

Eric & Elliot School Tour FAQ






Teen Suicide is an important topic for our community to address. However, we know that this is something that is sensitive and may be difficult to start the conversation. Childsplay is happy to speak with school stakeholders about the importance of the production at your school. We have partnered with local community agencies for the specific purpose of providing support for your school before, during, and after the performance of Eric and Elliot. 



We take the content of this show very seriously. Because of this, we are working with local partners to make sure that you have the resources you need to support your students before and after they see this play. Here are the services that Childsplay and our partners at Valle del Sol will provide free of charge to each school:

  • Pre-Show Teacher Resource Packet: Filled with resources from local organizations to help teachers prepare their class to see the performance.
  • Post-Show Conversation: The audience will participate in a post-show conversation led by a counselor from Valle del Sol and the cast of Eric and Elliot immediately after the play. The discussion will include questions to the audience an opportunity for young people to ask questions, as well as time for private conversations with the cast and on-site counselor.
  • Post-Show Student Resource Packet: Information and resources for teens from local suicide prevention organizations.  
  • Video Discussion Guide: Childsplay has created a guided discussion video to support classrooms and students in continuing to have important dialogues about the themes that the play brought up.



Eric and Elliot is the story of a family’s search for healing following a devastating tragedy.  Eric and Elliot are brothers. Eric is around 10 years old.  Elliot is in his early teens. The two set out on a journey seeking help for their mother who has spiraled into a debilitating depression.  Along the way the boys get lost.  They encounter others who encourage the boys to try different paths in order to find their way.  Eventually the brothers discover that it is only by facing their own pasts and the tragic events of a particular day the previous summer that they will find help for their mother – and for themselves.


The words “depression” and “suicide” are never spoken in the play.  The suicide referenced in the play is not shown, for in truth, the play is about the family left behind.  Told with a mix of gentle humor, fantasy, metaphor, and emotion, Eric and Elliot encourages audiences to discuss the serious issues of depression and suicide.  The play offers hope for those affected, and alternatives to the permanent solution to a temporary problem.


In 2021, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health. 


 Arizona ranks 10th nationally in the number of teen suicides (based on 2020 CDC statistics). 


Teenagers are more likely to consider suicide than any other age group.  Nearly 20% of high schoolers report serious suicidal thoughts in the past year, according to National Alliance on Mental Health.

This play was written by Dwayne Hartford and directed by Katie McFadzen. 

The audience for this play is young people, 5th grade through seniors in high school.


I want my students to participate, but the sensitive subject matter might be a hard sell to parents and fellow staff members.  What can I tell them?

Childsplay is happy to speak with school stakeholders about the importance of the production at your school. As mentioned earlier, we have partnered with local communities agencies for the specific purpose of providing support for your school before and after the performance of Eric and Elliot. 


Is this tied to academic standards? 

  • The performance can absolutely be tied to any number of academic standards.  In addition to the Arizona Arts Standards that can be found at, the content can also be tied to the Arizona College and Career Readiness standards.  Here are a few examples:
  • Reading Literature Standard: Analyze how an author’s choices about structure, order of events, or manipulation of time create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
    • Where in the performance was there a manipulation of time? How does this manipulation of time contribute to the tension, or rising action of the play?
    • Speaking and Listening Standard: Demonstrate collaborative discussion/listening skills in a variety of settings, both formal and informal
      • In the story, Eric and Elliot get lost on their way to the family’s doctor’s office.  They find themselves in a strange new place where they encounter a woman obsessed with the past, a man focused on the future, and another woman trying desperately to ignore both.  In order to find their way again, all three characters insist the boys must follow them.  In a group of your peers, come to a consensus about the repercussions of following each of the three characters.  What are the consequences of focusing only on the past?  What are the consequences of focusing only on the future?  What are the consequences of ignoring the past and the future? 

What have schools said about this performance previously?

Here are some quotes from students who have seen the play:

  • "I was really glad that they actually brought up suicide because it’s not spoken about, especially in schools, I think it was good that they talked about it and made sure we knew the signs and what to do if a friend needs help.” – 16 year-old highschool Junior
  • “It’s a powerful message that needs to be talked about more in a school setting, and schools shouldn’t get the impression that it would imprint this idea (of committing suicide) in their minds. If it’s big enough to be the third-leading cause of death in teens, then it needs to be talked about in a teen environment.” – 17 yearold Highschool Senior


How many students can be in the audience at a performance?

Up to 150 students per performance. If you have more students that you would like to see this performance, we can book you a second performance on the same day.


How long is the performance and the post show discussion?

We are asking schools to allow approximately 90 minutes for the performance experience. The play is about an hour long followed by a 15-minute post show discussion. We would also like schools to allow a few minutes after the show for students to talk with the counseling staff if needed. The play will be touring Arizona in February and March 2024.  


Where do you perform?

Childsplay performs in multipurpose rooms, gyms, cafeterias, or in theatres. The technical requirements for a show can be found HERE


I have more questions. Who can I call?

We would love to talk with you more about Eric and Elliot, and about what a tour performance with Childsplay is like. For more information, please call Katie Brantley, Director of Education and School Programs at 480-921-5745.





Childsplay and Valle del Sol are proud to provide Eric and Elliot to schools throughout Maricopa county for free. This service to our community is made possible through the generous support of the B.H.H.S Legacy Foundation.