Digital Programmes: Reducing paper handling at our shows
Tiny Tim / Future
Bob Cratchit /Past
Director: Sarah Slator
Resident composer: Simon stallard
Team A Cratchit Children:
Team B Cratchit Children:
Gabriel De Rosa
Emily Morin Becerril
Team C Cratchit Children:
Team D Cratchit Children
Not only have we been one of the only companies to tour this Christmas but we're delighted we got to work with our amazing junior cast members!
It is Christmas Eve and Ebeneezer Scrooge sits in his counting house.
Though visitors encourage him to embrace the spirit of Christmas, give to
his fellow man and show charity to those who need it most, Scrooge has only one response “Bah Humbug!”
Seven years have passed since his business partner Jacob Marley passed away. Like Scrooge, he was a miserly man, placing himself and money above all others. Now doomed to spend eternity walking amongst those he should have striven to help and carrying the heavy chains that he forged in life, he recognises the error of his ways and offers Scrooge a chance of redemption before its too late.
That night, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts and shown Christmas’ Past, Present and Future, in order to teach him that his selfish attitude and uncharitable ways must change if he wants to save himself from Marley’s fate.
Dickens' Christmas Novel
Charles Dickens’ ghostly festive tale was the most popular book of the 1843 holiday season. By the time Christmas came it had sold six thousand copies and continued to sell successfully well into the new year.
William Thackeray wrote that Carol was "a national benefit and to every man or woman who reads it, a personal kindness” and The London literary magazine, Athenaeum, declared that it was "A tale to make the reader laugh and cry – to open his hands, and open his heart to charity even toward the uncharitable ... a dainty dish to set before a King."
Throughout his entire life, Dickens was involved in charities and at the time of writing A Christmas Carol was very concerned with impoverished children, particularly those who turned to crime and delinquency in order to survive. Like many others, he believed that education could provide a way to better the lives of children.
“I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it”-Charles Dickens
A Victorian Christmas
It is hard to imagine, but at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. By the end of the century though, it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognise today.
Many attribute the change to Queen Victoria, as it was by her husband, German-born Prince Albert that some of the most prominent aspects of Christmas were introduced. The Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition reminiscent of Prince Albert's childhood in Germany, and soon after every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.
In 1843 Henry Cole commissioned an artist to design a card for Christmas. The illustration showed a group of people around a dinner table and a Christmas message. They cost one shilling each, so too expensive for many, but the sentiment however, caught on and many children, including Queen Victoria’s own, were encouraged to make their own. In this age of industrialisation colour printing technology quickly became more advanced, causing the price of card production to drop significantly. Along with the introduction of the halfpenny postage rate, the Christmas card industry soon took off and by the 1880s the sending of cards had become hugely popular, creating a lucrative industry that produced 11.5 million cards in 1880 alone.
In 1848 British confectioner, Tom Smith, invented a bold new way to sell sweets. Inspired by a trip to Paris where he saw bon bons (sugared almonds wrapped in twists of paper) he created the Christmas cracker. Though initially a simple package filled with sweets that snapped when pulled apart, the sweets were replaced by small gifts and paper hats by the late Victorian period, and remain in this form as an essential part of a modern Christmas.
Decorating the home at Christmas also became a more elaborate affair during the Victorian era. Whilst using evergreens to decorate the home was a tradition from Medieval times, the style and placement of these became far more significant in the 19th Century. The old custom of simply decking walls and windows with sprigs and twigs was outdated and uniformity, order and elegance were encouraged. In 1881 Cassell's Family Magazine gave firm directions to the lady of the house: "To bring about a general feeling of enjoyment, much depends on the surroundings… It is worth while to bestow some little trouble on the decoration of the rooms".
As Christmas became more and more important in the Victorian home, the tradition of Gift giving moved from New Year. Initially gifts were fruit, nuts, sweets and small handmade trinkets, usually hung on the Christmas tree, however, as gift giving became more central to the festival, and the gifts became bigger and shop-bought, they moved under the tree.
Early Victorian recipes show that mince pies were originally made from meat, a tradition dating back to Tudor times. During the 19th century mixes without meat began to gain popularity within some of the high society becoming the recipes for mince pies that we enjoy today.
In 1833 the first significant collection of carols were published. Although not a new tradition, the Victorians considered them to be a pleasing form of musical entertainment and old words were put to new tunes sung by all.
During the Victorian era, Christmas was transformed to centre around the family. The preparation of the dinner, the eating of the feast, decorating the home, gift giving, music and parlour games were firmly to be shared by the whole family.
Join us in 2021
ON SALE FEBRUARY!
In 2021 we will tour:
- William Shakespeare
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Charlotte Bronte
THE SECRET GARDEN
- Frances Hodgson Burnett