A delegation of 17 children and three adults, including seven Washington-area young people, leaves next week for Moscow to put on the first production in the Soviet Union of "Peace Child," a musical play that makes a plea for disarmament.

The play, with an all-child cast, tells the story of an American boy and Soviet girl who persuade world leaders to lay down their nuclear arms. Written in 1979, it has been performed extensively in the United States -- its American premier was in 1982 at the Kennedy Center -- and in Europe. The Peace Child Foundation is located in Fairfax.

The American group will leave July 22, perform the play during the Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow, spend a day each in Novogorod and Leningrad, and return Aug. 3. The festival is expected to attract 26,000 delegates from around the world, including 550 from the United States, according to Sandra J. Croan, a chaperone and mother of two children in the group.

The children raised their own airfare and expense money, estimated at $1,000 each. The local children are: Colleen Barry, 15, Columbia; David Brickman, 20, Columbia; Bridget Condon, 17, Wheaton; Adam Croan, 9, Fairfax; Tara Croan, 7, Fairfax; Gwendolyn Ross, 19, District; and Caitlin Siegel, 15, Bethesda.

Croan said the children are not attending as convention delegates, but as private citizens. "We have a message," she said, "and we don't think the message we have is political."

The play was written by David Woollcombe, president of the Peace Child Foundation, who will direct it in Moscow. Songs are by David Gordon, brother of soft rock star Cat Stevens.