WHILE most people may invite guests over for sherry and mince pie at Christmas, Helen Morris is opening her doors to a brand new drama production.
Both the cast of a Victorian Christmas spectacular and the audience – many of whom are expected to be dressed in Victorian costume – will be descending on Helen’s Grade II listed farmhouse from tomorrow evening for four nights.
Stencil designer Helen, 51, who shares part of Stocksfield Hall, Stocksfield, Northumberland with husband Chips, began using her home as a makeshift theatre last year.
But this is the first time she has hosted a Christmas spectacular for the drama group of which she is a member, The Stocksfield Players.
She explained: “In May last year we decided against hiring the local community centre because we could not be sure we would attract sufficient audience numbers for a new production.
“Instead the cast of seven were on a tiny stage in our living room. We have room for an audience of about 30, and the cast were practically sitting on their laps.
“But the formula obviously worked because we have now staged three Dramas in the Parlour.
“But this is the first time we have hosted a Christmas show.”
Alex Swan, scriptwriter for the Stocksfield Players and the creator of the Christmas Variety Show, said: “Part of me still can’t believe how popular Drama in the Parlour has become. We actually had to turn people away from the last show because tickets went so quickly.”
The concept of Drama in the Parlour is to invite the audience to participate in a “recording” of an old-style radio show, set somewhere between 1940 and the late 1950s, when the actors decked out in evening dress.
Alex added: “The shows went from strength to strength and I just knew I to follow it up with something really outstanding. A Christmas special was the obvious thing to do.
“But this will be set in Victorian times. The cast will be dressed in Victorian costume and the audience is invited to do likewise.”
Drama in the Parlour Victorian Christmas Special runs from December 14-17, starting each night at 7.30pm at the Farmhouse, Stocksfield Hall. Tickets priced £7 are available from the Stencil Library and other Stocksfield shops or by ringing 01661 844844.
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