Christmas at Eden Court has always been a special time. However, this year’s restrictions, and the absence of our panto, challenged us to find the magic in new ways.
Initially we liked the idea of sending our audiences a digital Christmas card. A warm wish from us all to say ‘Thank you for waiting and we’ll be back!’ Creative ideas quickly flowed but we soon realised that what would make this Christmas extra special would be to have our Panto cast exactly where they belong at this time of year...just in a different way!
We commissioned Steven Wren, our Panto dame, to write us a poem based on the Night Before Christmas, encapsulating everything about Eden Court at this time of year. This would act as the narrative for a short film. Steven got to work and by the following day we had the most beautiful poem! It was shortened slightly for the film but you can read the full version here.
With funding received from Creative Scotland through the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund, we set about engaging with local artists to complete the production team. Christopher Court from All Wild came on board to direct with camera crew Gavin (cinematographer) and Mike (Focus puller). Time was short on the run up to the shoot, so we worked on the storyboard meticulously. On site we filmed over two days, on anamorphic lenses, coming away with 90 minutes of material for our two minute film.
We’d like to give a special mention to Imagine Theatre who worked hard to get us the costumes we needed in time. We wanted to showcase token mementos from past pantos so we came up with the idea to include costume blueprints and commissioned local artist Heather Afrin to provide us with a design of Tinkerbell’s wings and Captain Hook’s hook.
The thing about Eden Court that not many people see is the amount of teamwork that goes on behind the scenes. It’s phenomenal! Watching Chris and his crew working alongside our Tech team to bring the magic alive was pretty special in itself.
And for the Panto cast, in their own words it was a ‘bittersweet experience’. There’s a real sense of loss in the theatre community. Performing in full costume and make up to an empty, ethereal auditorium was an emotional challenge.
Panto isn’t just a five week Christmas show at the theatre - it’s a community. It can often be a young person’s first experience of theatre, or a release from the real world for a spellbinding two and a half hours. Christmas is going to be very different for all of us this year but we hope our festive film will bring you some joy and serves as a reminder that the spirit of theatre lives in us all.
This blog was written by: