Tamara Harvey, Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd today announces the company’s reimagined Christmas season. Commencing on 5th December, the season includes the immersive family experience Once Upon A Christmas; Christian Patterson’s The Panto That Nearly Never Was! directed by Harvey; and the bilingual family show Gwrach yr Iâ / The Ice Witch, in co-production with Pontio Arts, written and directed by Emyr John. If theatres in Wales continue to be unable to open under Covid restrictions, The Panto That Nearly Never Was and The Ice Witch will be streamed into audiences’ homes, whilst Once Upon A Christmas – three brand new pre-recorded Christmas stories told in three immersive worlds – is able to take place under such restrictions.
Tamara Harvey today said, “Despite the obvious challenges 2020 has brought, it felt vital to us as a company to deliver on the commitment we make to audiences at Christmas and find a way to share this time with them. Every year we bring three different events to our building to cater for audiences of all ages, and we will do so again this year with the immersive production Once Upon a Christmas, our annual bilingual family production Gwrach yr Iâ / The Ice Witch and of course our beloved pantomime The Panto That Nearly Never Was. Although we can’t share the festive magic in the way we usually would, we have found a way forward to bring music, joy and laughter to our audiences – whether they are joining us in person or from afar.”
For Once Upon A Christmas, Theatr Clwyd has commissioned three playwrights, Robert Evans, Diana Nneka Atuona and Rebecca Wilson to write new festive stories, which have then been recorded by the panto company. Design team Jacob Hughes, Lucy Carter and Alexandra Faye Braithwaite, with directors Francesca Goodridge and Eleri Jones (Theatr Clwyd Carne Trainee Directors) have created three magical worlds in Theatr Clwyd’s gallery and cinema, inspired by the stories. As the audience, one household at a time, step into each space, the stories ring out with sound, music and lighting transporting them to each new world.
Inspired by the Theatr Clwyd team’s sadness at having to cancel Beauty and the Beast and penned by award-winning panto playwright Christian Patterson, The Panto That Nearly Never Was follows Bella Trix the Witch as she realises that she doesn’t have a job and so enlists the help of Dame, sidekick, fairy and wizard to try and save panto.
The Ice Witch / Gwrach yr Iâ is the third in the trilogy of family Christmas plays created by Theatr Clwyd’s Creative Engagement Associate, Emyr John, in co-production with Pontio Arts. Combining music, storytelling and dance, it will play in both venues and, for the first time this year, be offered to Theatr Clwyd’s audience in English as well as Welsh.
This Christmas season continues Theatr Clwyd’s ongoing support and entertainment for their local community throughout theatre closures this year – encouraging creativity in young and old and those most isolated through the online Together programme, hosting blood donation sessions for the Welsh Blood Service, distributing food and creative packages to vulnerable families, leading digital dance workshops for those with Parkinson’s, running a Creative Hub for at-risk young people, and more. The company also established the Micro-Bursaries for Freelancers initiative, financially and creatively supporting creative industry freelancers across Wales and the UK.
Full details of all productions can be found at https://www.theatrclwyd.com/