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Theatre embraces spirit of Christmas


Alister Williams & David Ballard ORT articleOtamatea Repertory Theatre’s latest production, A Christmas Carol, has a central theme of helping those in need.

It is very fitting then, that ORT is encouraging people who come to see the show, to bring a gift or food item to be placed under a special Christmas tree. The theatre will donate all funds received for teas and suppers during the season, and organise for the funds and gifts to be distributed via Otamatea Community Services. A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, and was first published in London in 1843. It tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

The book was written at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past as well as new customs such as Christmas cards and Christmas trees. Carol singing took a new lease on life during this time. Dickens' sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood and his sympathy for the poor.

A Christmas Carol has remained popular over the years, having never been out of print, and has been adapted many times to film, stage, ballet and opera.

Deane Patterson of Maungaturoto is making his directorial debut for ORT. Deane is a talented writer, photographer and film maker, with many years of experience. This adaptation is very true to Dickens’ classic story and features a choir, singing traditional carols in four-part harmony. These carols are cleverly interspersed throughout the story, ably led by musical director, Peter Flower.

A large cast of actors and singers and dedicated back-stage crew has been rehearsing for many weeks to bring the story to life. Playing the dream role of Ebenezer Scrooge is Alister Williams – a seasoned actor and director from Waipu. Williams brings a wealth of talent and experience to the character of Scrooge. Many will have seen Williams as Daddy Warbucks in Annie, and Tevye the Milkman in Fiddler on the Roof. Earlier this year Williams directed the historical play Everybody’s Reading Room for Platform Thirteen.

Tickets are available for five shows, November 28 to December 6 – opening night has sold out! Tickets from Tony’s Lotto Shop in Maungaturoto or online at www.ort.org.nz. And a special family deal is available for Saturday November 28 – details online.

ROLE PLAY: Alister Williams (left) and director David Ballard share a light moment in rehearsals.

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