Year 10 students enjoyed a spookily atmospheric treat this week when they visited St Mark’s Church in Kemptown for a special performance of A Christmas Carol. Students Jacob Campbell and Will Darling have written this account for us:
“On Wednesday this week, Ms Bradley and Mr Bliss took 90 year 10 students to a production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Spire, in St Mark’s Church in Kemptown. We were told to bring warm clothes as the lack of heating made for icy conditions in the audience – perhaps an analogy for the cold heart of Ebenezer Scrooge before his journey of self-discovery begins.
We gathered outside the church, anticipating the live production of the novella we have been studying in class for our English Literature GCSE course. After getting drenched by the rain, we were warmly welcomed. The Victorian-styled actors handed us balls of white paper that were meant to be snowballs. All of a sudden, the lights dimmed and the whispers dwindled. The performance commenced. Scrooge and Bob Cratchit appeared on stage as the spotlight focused on them before the stunning stained glass window shone through as a backdrop. The actors shimmered amidst the shadowy church lighting, capturing and maintaining the attention of the audience throughout.
The costumes were amazing and surprisingly detailed and the actors made brilliant use of the limited space, fitting the scene perfectly. The ‘Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’ loomed almost 10 metres tall, an intimidating sight for students and Scrooge alike.
The layout of the production was a traverse style, as the action took place in what would normally be the aisle of the church. The two sides of the audience faced each other, with us, Longhill High, facing another school and their teachers. This provided raucous audience participation in sequences such as the snowball fight and the Christmas games at Scrooge’s nephew Fred’s Christmas party. This interaction kept everyone captivated by the performance and created a link between the students and the actors.
We were very lucky to be offered a Question and Answer session after the performance. We questioned the actors on how they had prepared for their roles and how they had created their costumes. The significance of the church setting was questioned by Oscar Ovett who was interested in the role of religion within the novella.”
It sounds like a wonderful performance, in a very atmospheric setting, which was enjoyed by all the students. Thanks to Ms Bradley and Mr Bliss for organising the trip.