Most young people have found themselves enchanted by the timeless classic of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but no matter how familiar you think you are with the famous story, the celebrated company has a few surprises up its sleeve for this festive presentation.
The tale has been adapted by Stephanie Dale in a production directed by Peter Leslie Wild with music by Matt Baker - which marks the trio’s reunion following last year’s acclaimed production of the Chester Mystery Plays which was seen at Chester Cathedral in summer 2013.
Artistic director and composer Matt Baker said: “We have a company of talented and versatile actors who can sing and play an array of instruments. Place them on the incredible theatre in the round layout in the wonderful acoustic of St Mary’s and I am confident that this will be one of the best pieces of theatre this Christmas in the north west.
“I have once again aimed to create melodies which, whilst they are new, you should be humming on your way home.
“The talented children are drawn from the city, Blacon, Ellesmere Port and the villages. They really do bring a really special dimension to the performance with their lovely characters, their singing and the wonderful costumes.”
Writer Stephanie said: “On a clear, blue November morning the cast and crew for Theatre in the Quarter’s Christmas show, Alice, arrived at St Mary’s Centre. In the centre of the room was a long table covered in cream cakes – a fitting sight for a play which contains the most famous tea party in literature.
“It has been a huge amount of fun adapting the books for stage, and then developing the script in rehearsal. The actors are truly fantastic and it has been a joy to watch them getting to grips with life down the rabbit hole.”
Actor Ben Tolley - who stole the show in last year’s Theatre in the Quarter Christmas presentation of The Snow Queen - returns to St Mary’s Centre. He said: “It’s great to be back in Chester and in a flash, the first week of rehearsals are done and dusted. It’s been a whirlwind of tea parties, vanishing cats, awkward twins, shrinking potions and thankfully, the odd cup of tea.
“We have made our way through the first half of the play and things are starting to take shape nicely. There is also a small army of local young people who will be taking part in the show. They will be playing all kinds of roles from wandering skunks and weasels to talking flowers and packs of playing cards. It’s a busy show for the young folk but they seem ready for the challenge.”
One of those young people is 12-year-old Rachel Devaney who has won a role as one of the Hearts team. She said: “I auditioned for Alice but at first was a little nervous and more excited! Also I saw all of my friends from the last show which made me even more excited. After the audition I couldn’t wait to see if I got in. When I found out I got in I jumped for joy in amazement!”
Alice can be seen at St Mary’s Centre from December 4-January 10. Bookings can be made on 0845 241 7868 or in person at Chester Visitor Information Centre. For the full performance schedule visit www.theatreinthequarter.co.uk .