Audiences are invited to celebrate the festive season in beautiful and ancient Sussex church venues with traditional carols for all to sing and festive refreshments.
After successfully touring West Sussex churches with a summer production of Romeo & Juliet, Steyning-based This is my Theatre returns with Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol.
Artistic director and company founder Sarah Slator is delighted to be working with The Churches Conservation Trust again: “Money raised from our use of church venues will be used by the CCT to aid rejuvenation and renovation of their ancient sites. We worked with the CCT on Romeo & Juliet, and I was talking with them about future projects that would take our summer tour a bit further. We did Romeo & Juliet in churches mainly in Sussex and some open-air performances. It was fantastic. It went really well. We had amazing feedback from people saying that it was unexpected, and people in rural areas were pleased that we were going to them rather them having to come to us. This time, we are also doing churches in Kent and Surrey and one in Hampshire. It’s really to see if we can take our model further afield.”
As for the choice of play: “I just absolutely love A Christmas Carol. I think the characters are so wonderful. It just has so much potential when you think about directing it. It just starts my imagination running about wildly.
“It’s a one-act adaptation which I have edited, and there will be Christmas carols for the audience to join in.”
One of them will be God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, which is mentioned in the original Charles Dickens text.
“I have got a cast of five, and I direct it. It is my baby! There are a really good group who will multi-role. Matt who plays Scrooge will play Scrooge throughout, but the others will change characters throughout. There is quite a lot of variation between the different churches, different-sized venues and also in terms of lay-out so all the staging will have to be quite versatile. We will have to keep changing how we do it. The church in Selsey is very lovely but quite compact. It will be up to the actors to think about their entrances and exits. They will have to tweak and adapt things as we go along, but really I am just very keen to use these venues as much as we can.”
For Sarah, the tour crowns an excellent first year for the company: “It has been an amazing time, a great first year particularly when you consider what an unsure step it all was back in April.”
The tour dates are:
December 3: St Peter’s Church, Preston Park, Brighton, 7.30pm.
December 9 and 10: St Botolphs Church, Steyning, 7.30pm.
December 10: St Botolphs Church, Steyning, 10am, family show with Father Christmas.
December 10: High Street, Crawley, 3pm.
December 11: Holy Trinity Church, Privett, 7.30pm.
December 15: St Wilfrid’s Chapel, Church Norton, 7.30pm.
December 17: Church of St Peter & St Pail, Albury Park, Guildford, Surrey, 7pm.
3pm, family show with Father Christmas.
Sarah cautions: “Many of our performance venues are without heating so please wrap up warm!”
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