A Christmas Carol to warm your cockles

By K Featherstone

It goes without saying – though I’m going to say it anyway – 2020 has been a rocky year for all involved, and the entertainment industry is no exception.

One Huddersfield venue in particular springs to mind when it comes to adapting to ever-changing restrictions, and they’ve delivered a festive treat to enjoy in the comfort and safety of your own home, on demand.

I’m referring, of course, to the Lawrence Batley Theatre, of Queen Street, and their community production of A Christmas Carol.  A collaboration between the LBT and Front Room Productions, this seasonal treat pairs original music and animation with an ensemble cast of 40 people from the local community, and has been relocated to the West Riding of Yorkshire!  Gyles Brandreth, a regular on BBC’s The One Show, takes up the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.  

Olivia Race, Artistic Director at Front Room Productions, began work on the project over the summer and was responsible for adapting the tale, as well as directing the production.  A side-step from her usual work, Olivia said it was a “real experience and challenge” to work in a different way to the norm, but also rewarding;

“I’ve absolutely loved working on creating this online production this year, which feels really special. It’s felt really important to create something with our community in Huddersfield, to bring people together and celebrate creativity!”  

Rehearsals were held virtually, with the cast and crew coming together on Zoom to polish their performances – an odd experience in September when it was still warm and sunny!.  For recording, a studio spacious enough to allow for social distancing was set up in the Green Room at the LBT, where a few cast members were invited at a time.

With words and music recorded, it was down to David Bunting Media to really bring the piece to life with their storybook-style animation of the Christmas classic.  In The Stage’s 4-star review of the piece, the animation is hailed as the ‘star of the show’, going on to say it “looks like a picture book evocatively brought to life”.  

Tickets can be purchased directly from the LBT’s site (link below) and the animation can be enjoyed, on demand, all the way up to December 31st.

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