Arts events company drums up support for Letchworth Christmas show in Big Top

Members of the cast for The Night Before Christmas performing at a presentation in January

Members of the cast for The Night Before Christmas performing at a presentation in January - Credit: Archant

A company that organises art events is drumming up support for a large-scale theatre production.

Arts Assembly is awaiting permission from North Herts District Council to house a Christmas production in a 400-seater Big Top on Broadway Gardens in Letchworth GC.

The not-for-profit enterprise would run for five weeks over the festive period showcasing family musical The Night Before Christmas, penned by Hitchin-based writers Miles Chapman and Mark O’Sullivan.

The project is relying on the support and involvement of the community, with the Big Top being available for hire to companies during the period, and a footfall of 15,000 people anticipated between the tent and the town.

The project is a co-production with Letchworth Arts Centre, The Da Vinci Studio School for Creative Enterprise and North Hertfordshire College, under the newly formed banner, Arts Assembly.


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Producer Sue Scott Davison, who has lived in Letchworth GC for six years, said: “I was inspired by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation’s plans to expand the cultural scene in Letchworth GC, and their desire to make the Broadway Gardens a central hub for the arts. Coupled with the opening of The Da Vinci Studio School For Creative Enterprise on the gardens, the timing seemed perfect.

“We are trying to get as many people as possible behind this big project. Letchworth GC has never had a theatre production of this scale. There is a wealth of creative talent and resources locally, but without any producing theatre in which to work.

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“Children and adults alike will be captivated by the magic of this beautifully staged production in a Big Top, and we hope that the community will take ownership, and be proud of this, the first of many projects for Arts Assembly. The show will weave together traditional Christmas characters into an out-of-time, Lemony Snicket world, before delivering a warm hearted Happy Christmas ending. Think Tim Burton meets Frozen!”

As well as the main production, the Big Top would house a show for pre-school children, a comedy night and a West End evening.

Every department throughout the production will be headed by professionals, with teams made up of students in training for the arts, members from other arts groups and volunteers.

More than 150 helpers, with a variety of skills will be needed, and children will be auditioned from schools to make up the three teams of 12 needed for the show. Free workshops have been offered to schools in advance of the audition process.

There will be four presentations of the work in development alongside an exhibition of the creative ideas at the Da Vinci School in Letchworth GC at the end of April.

If you are interested in knowing more about the project, or wish to join, please contact Sue Scott Davison at: admin@artsassembly.org.uk

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