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A sell-out production of ‘A Christmas Carol’

One hundred and fifty actors, dancers and singers from across the Senior School brought together their talents to showcase two heart-warming performances of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Ranging in age from First Year to Sixth Form, the pupils came together to tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a rich, mean and miserable old man.  Scrooge was played marvellously by Sixth Form pupil Sam Wilkinson.The production was supported with exceptional performances by SGS dancers, Chorus, Junior Chamber Choir and a full production team.

It was the culmination of six weeks of intensive work.  With a script adapted by Neil Duffield, and underscored by the Junior Chamber Choir.  The play creates a very stark picture of Victorian London, and perhaps communicates the most heart-warming message of all, which is our need as a society to help and support others, irrespective of background, status, religion, creed or colour, especially at this time of year.Mr Matt King-Sayce, Head of Drama:

The hours of hard work and commitment to rehearsals truly paid off. The staff and pupils worked tirelessly and with such energy, both onstage and backstage to create something special – the buzz from the pupils and the mutual support made ‘A Christmas Carol’ a real success. I’m excited to continue to build upon this with many productions in the future.

Sam Wilkinson, Scrooge:

It was an amazing experience all round. All the cast really enjoyed it, and it was certainly my favourite production to have taken part in.

Daniel Grant, Cratchit:

It was great to see a full audience on both nights and the whole team worked well together. I was a bit nervous ahead of the performances but I have done a few school shows before – including ‘Annie’, ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’, ‘Dreams of Anne Frank’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ – so I was OK.  I would recommend to other pupils that they should get involved in the shows. It develops your public speaking skills and confidence and helps you know how to present yourself.

Bella Evans, townsfolk and worker:

All of our hard work paid off and produced a very engaging and enjoyable performance. Everyone worked so hard including all the teachers and staff that helped out with the performance. The scenery was incredible and very believable so that you thought you were actually there.

Parent review:

Thank you very much for putting on the Christmas Carol. From entering through the street scene, I was transported into a different world. It was a fantastic production; the combination of drama, music and dance made the play flow through to the fine level of detail with the snow at the end. I was also impressed with the confidence of the pupils on stage and some great individual performances.

Set in London on Christmas Eve 1843, we first meet Scrooge being unkind to the people who work for him. Next, he dismisses charity collectors for the poor telling them he pays taxes towards prisons and workhouses for them.  He then expresses his true feelings for the poor as he says:

If they would rather die, they had better do it and decrease the surplus population.

Finally, he is rude to his nephew Fred, played by Will Woodside, when invited to spend Christmas with him.

When Scrooge returns home, he is visited by a chain-laden apparition of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, played excellently by Jacob Henshaw.  Marley’s chains represent his wrong-doings in life as he tells Scrooge not to take the same path. Marley warns Scrooge he will be visited by three ghosts to show him the error of his ways.

As predicted by Marley, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge on a journey where he sees the vision of himself as a school-boy, played by Sam Burrows.  It is here we see Scrooge led a lonely existence keeping only books for company. The spirit then shows Scrooge the day when his beloved younger sister Fan, played by Brooke O’Connor, picked him up from the school as she joyfully claims that their Father has changed and is now kinder than he was.

Next, the spirit shows Scrooge as a young man, played by Oliver Thorley, enjoying a Christmas party hosted by his first boss, Mr Fezziwig.  Mr and Mrs Fezziwig, played by Ben Smethurst and Kirsty Hope, are kind and generous employers.

We also see Scrooge when his beloved fiancée Belle, played by Niamh Warburton, ends their relationship upon realising that he cares more for money than he does for her.

After this vision, Scrooge pleads with the spirit to show him no more, to which the spirit replies:

These are the shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me!

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge his clerk Bob Cratchit, played by Daniel Grant, and his family. Scrooge sees Cratchit’s son Tiny Tim, played by Matthew Darbyshire, who is very ill, but full of spirit.

The ghost then takes him to see his nephew Fred’s Christmas celebrations – which he had been invited to, but had rebuffed.

The final visit by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Scrooge’s gravestone, his dead body looted and business men discussing how empty his funeral will be.  He then sees the Cratchit family beside Tiny Tim’s grave.  Scrooge says:

No, no . . . Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.

Scrooge is reminded of his comments about the ‘surplus population’.  It is at this point he vows to change.

The ghosts’ journey through time teaches Scrooge the error of his ways. When he wakes up on Christmas Day he is full of excitement, and buys the biggest turkey in the shop for the Cratchit family before spending the day with his nephew, full of the joys of Christmas, as the story ends with the words:

“God bless us, Every one!”

The audience is treated to a magical end as snow falls over the cast.

Download the programme for A Christmas Carol (pdf)