Ebenezer Scrooge takes a tour of Sussex churches!

A tour of historic Sussex churches will bring A Christmas Carol to life.

Friday, 24th November 2017, 1:02 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:20 am
Sarah Slator
Sarah Slator

Joining forces once more with the Churches Conservation Trust, Upper Beeding-based This is my Theatre invite audiences to join them in venues rich in atmosphere for an hour and ten minutes of festive magic.

On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited and miserly old man, is visited by the ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley. Shown Christmases Past, Present and Future, he is offered the chance of redemption... but will he take it?

Charles Dickens’ tale has been directed and adapted by Sarah Slator who set the company up in 2016, aiming to produce classical plays and literature that are accessible to all, particularly those living in rural communities.

The company toured A Christmas Carol to churches last Christmas. They toured Macbeth this summer, and now they are back again on an extended tour with the Dickens.

“We had fantastic feedback from the churches, and so we are working again with the Churches Conservation Trust. When we did the Macbeth, we had quite a few people asking if we were coming back with A Christmas Carol this year.

“And we have got new venues as well as venues we have been to before. I have to admit that it has been really lovely. We have had really nice audiences and it has been lovely to see what they have been saying on social media.”

As for the production, which comes with a cast of five, the approach is very traditional, Sarah says: “The script is very close to the original text. We haven’t altered it greatly. It is very traditional in costuming, and the characters are what we know from the book.

“And we also have carols throughout the show where the audience is invited to join in. When we are being introduced to Scrooge, we have In The Bleak Midwinter. We have Jingle Bells when he goes back in time. We have carols at the various different moments.

“I think it is such a great story because the characters are so rich in what they to offer. We all know a miserable old so and so, and we all get to take stock at Christmas… and we all get the chance to see beyond the queues in Tesco’s!”

As for the church venues: “It is just the atmosphere that is so great. There is something so wonderful about walking into these church spaces and being surrounding by these beautiful churches with something very traditional being brought to life. I don’t know what it is really, but it feels so special. And we have mulled punch at the start, and so the building is filled with that beautiful Christmassy smell.”

Ticket prices: £12.50 general admission, £5 under 16s, £30 family of four.

Venue information: December 1, 7.30pm. St Botolph’s Church, Steyning, West Sussex; December 2, 7.30pm. All Saints’ Church, East Horndon, Essex; December 3, 5pm. St Mary’s Church, Edlesborough, Buckinghamshire; December 4, 7.30pm. St George’s Church, Esher, Surrey; December 5, 7.30pm. St Mary’s Arts Centre, Sandwich, Kent; December 6, 7.30pm. Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, Kent; December 8, 7.30pm. Church of St Mary the Virgin, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex; December 10, 7.30pm. Church of St Mary Magdalene, Tortington, West Sussex; December 13, 7.30pm Church of St Mary the Virgin, Little Bromley, Essex; December 14, 7.30pm St Wilfrid’s Chapel, Church Norton, Selsey, West Sussex; December 15, 7.30pm St Peter’s Church, Preston Park, Brighton, East Sussex; December 16, 4pm and 7.30pm Church of St Peter & St Paul, Albury Park, Albury, Surrey.