Audiences for the record-breaking Christmas Spectacular at Snape Maltings are in for a special treat this year, with a completely new show. The Co-op Juniors Theatre Company has staged the music and dance extravaganza at the world-famous concert hall for six years.
“Now it’s time for a fresh new look,” says co-director Pauline Walker. “We’re taking audiences for a magical journey on board the North Pole Express. It’s our most innovative show yet, using huge video panels and some special stage magic.”
Adds co-director Jeannie Ingram, “We’re keeping some surprises secret, but it will be a magical and entrancing show with the conductor of the North Pole Express taking us on the journey of a lifetime. We’re all really excited about it.”
Two children who don’t believe in Santa Claus join the train in search of the truth, and the audience will share their journey all the way to the Arctic. On the way, they meet the evil Ice Queen in her beautiful swan sleigh, who freezes the tracks.
Explains Pauline Walker, “It’s good versus evil, with the wacky North Pole Express conductor taking his passengers to Santa Claus despite attempts to stop them. We use music and dance as part of the epic journey where the passengers encounter all sorts of adventures. It’s pure fun!”
Musical director Nigel Virley has been working on the production since completing Billy Elliot the Musical with the group in May.
“Planning such a diversity of music for a wide age range is a real delight,” he says, “We have to plan how the music works with the new story of the North Pole Express, taking the audience on a musical journey as well as following the story. Nothing is off-limits!”
Technical director Alan Ayres has to come up with the staging innovations needed to present such an ambitious show.
“It’s all about exciting the audience’s imagination, taking them by surprise and giving them the ‘Wow’ factor. We want them to leave the concert hall feeling they’ve seen something magical!”
The dramatic staging uses video screens, special lighting, sound effects and huge moving set elements like the train for the North Pole Express, and the Ice Queen’s swan sleigh.
“Some pieces are specially built, others I find from film, theatre and TV sets where they are used once and destroyed. We give them a new life.”
Christmas Spectacular! opens at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, near Aldeburgh on Friday 16th December until Wednesday 21st December with two shows a day. Tickets are £13, £16 and £19, with discounts for groups. More information and a taster video at www.coopjuniors.co.uk
Choose your seats and book online at www.aldeburgh.co.uk/spectacular or call 01728 687110.