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  • Writer's pictureChristmas for Kids

It's Theatre, but not as WE know it!

Teaching an old girl new tricks! - by Director Claire Sundin

It was the most amazing feeling to set foot back in the wonderful Hargrave Hall in Archway for our rehearsals for ‘Benson’s Christmas Letter’, the digital version. We had a short but fantastic rehearsal process. It was really important for me to keep the essence of Christmas for Kids's shows even though this one would be filmed, which is a very different and technical way of working for C4K.

I am an actor and theatre director; film is not necessarily my forte, but I was really excited to bring our show to the screen and to see how it would translate. I worked closely with our Production Company and Director of Photography so that the cast would be aware of the sort of shots we would be hoping to capture. But ultimately, I wanted all three actors to feel so comfortable with the script, their characters' journeys and their puppetry skills that they would not be thrown by any technical changes or camera angles during filming.

- Left to Right: Chris Thatcher (puppetry consultant), Brendan Mageean (actor), Elizabeth Robin (actor), Claire Sundin (Director), Sue Appleby (actor & musical director), Katie Hecht (production manager)

As always we had an incredible amount of fun! The added pleasure for me was directing my C4K Artistic Co-Director, Sue Appleby. She pulled some great characters out of her acting hat; my highlight of the whole process was inflating her in a snowman costume and watching her dance! Moments like that are priceless and we were all in stitches!!!

I think the strangest part of the process was how few props we had and how neat and tidy our rehearsal room remained! Usually we have a myriad of sensory props. A lot of time is spent working out the logistics for each actor’s physical journey within in the show, who is giving out what and who is cueing the music. There is always an incredible amount of mess after each run through, but this time we only had to concentrate on telling the story as our Resource E-pack will enable the carers, family members, staff and teachers to create the sensory atmosphere (and mayhem) we are usually responsible for.

I’m so proud of Christmas for Kids, our Production Team and our fabulously talented actors for managing to create theatre in such pressing times. I hope all the amazing families and children will enjoy the result!

Claire xx

- Actors Elizabeth Robin and Brendan Mageean with a speedy post-run pack up!

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