The classic story of a young girl’s colourful adventures in a world where nothing is quite what it seems is this year’s Christmas production at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass will be staged by the award-winning Chichester Festival Youth Theatre. Lewis Carroll’s enchanting story is adapted for the stage by Adrian Mitchell, set to new music by Matthew Scott and directed by Dale Rooks.
One golden afternoon, Alice meets a smartly dressed white rabbit, looking at his watch, muttering to himself, “Oh my ears and whiskers, I‘m late”. She follows him down the rabbit hole into a remarkable world and so begin her adventures in Wonderland. Along the way she meets talking cakes and bottles, encounters a strange lobster dance, attends a tea party with the Mad Hatter and plays a dangerous game of croquet with the King and Queen of Hearts. This story has captured the imagination of generations of children and adults alike since it was first written through its exploration of time, logic and its captivating characters.
The Youth Theatre has produced enthralling shows at Christmas over the past eight years. It also stages bi-annual promenade productions and this year performed The Firework-Maker’s Daughter in the grounds of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. Around 70 young people will take to the stage in this year’s Christmas production.
Dale Rooks is the Youth Theatre Director and Deputy Head of Learning & Participation at Chichester. She has directed Chichester Festival Theatre’s Christmas show for the last eight years and her credits include The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, Toad of Toad Hall, James and the Giant Peach, Peter Pan, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Oliver! and Pinocchio.
Looking forward to this year’s production, Dale said:
“These stories present us with a feast of delights in the rehearsal room; full of riddles, nonsense, absurd events, logical conundrums and word play! This wonderful adaptation allows us to create a new and exciting interpretation, whilst holding on to the integrity of Carroll’s wonderfully poetic masterpiece.”
Adrian Mitchell was an acclaimed poet, playwright and novelist, whose work includes Tyger, a play about William Blake, The Pied Piper and an adaptation of Gogol’s The Government Inspector, all for the National Theatre; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which became a perennial favourite at the RSC, a Beatrix Potter trilogy for the Unicorn Theatre for Children and songs written for Peter Hall's version of Orwell's Animal Farm.
The composer is Matthew Scott whose other credits at Chichester include The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound, Taking Sides and Collaboration, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Pravda and Entertaining Angels. He is an Associate of Chichester Festival Theatre and Honorary Vice President of the Chichester City Band. The production is designed by Simon Higlett, associate designer at Chichester, where his work includes Yes, Prime Minister, The Circle, Taking Sides and Collaboration and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. The costume designer is Amy Jackson, whose previous Chichester credits include The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, Oliver! and The Wizard of Oz. Lighting is by James Whiteside, sound is by Jonathan Suffolk and music direction is by Jenny Gould.
Alice in Wonderland is sponsored by Mercer and Graylingwell Park.
All proceeds from the charity performance on 18 December will be donated to Children on the Edge, a Chichester based charity that exists to help the most marginalised and vulnerable children worldwide.
Alice in Wonderland is at the Festival Theatre from 18 December – 1 January, times of performances vary. Tickets £9 - £23.50 with concessions available. Children’s Saver Ticket offers half price tickets for under 16s on top three prices. To book, go to www.cft.org.uk or call the Box Office on 01243 781312.