A CLASSIC Charles Dickens novel is being turned into a new musical treat for Saddleworth audiences.
The Millgate Arts Centre in Delph is the venue for a special adaption of Dickens’ 1843 book ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Springhead-based theatre veteran Kenneth Alan Taylor.
It opens on Friday, December 7 and already extra performances have been added due to demand.
There will five performances in total from December 7-9 including matinees on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9.
Indeed, the production is a real family affair as Kenneth’s wife Judith Barker is directing, son Jason is responsible for the lighting, grandson Joseph, is stage managing while daughter-in-law Adele Parry is responsible for the choreography.
Kenneth has agreed to appear as the ghost of Jacob Marley alongside leading actors Paul Oldham (Scrooge), Ian Mercer (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Ellis Hollins (Scrooge’s nephew).
Paul’s credits include Shameless, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, while Ian – once Gary Mallett in Coronation Street – has appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean and most recently as Dr Healey in Peterloo, and Ellis is one of the longest cast members of Hollyoaks.
They are part of a 25-strong cast, with many members of Judith and Adele’s drama school at Springhead Congregational Church.
“Every year they put on production and having success with their students this year they decided to expand,” explained Kenneth, well-known locally for his work at Oldham Coliseum plus his long-standing role as artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse.
“So, they came up with the idea of staging A Christmas Carol which is such an amazing book.
“Virtually every scene is dialogue which you put straight onto stage.”
Kenneth has previously adapted A Christmas Carol for the Oldham Coliseum and is excited by updating the famous story of Ebenezer Scrooge.
“All the traditional characters from A Christmas Carol are in it. And while it’s not a full musical it does features four or five songs from the film Scrooge,” he explained.
“Bringing it to the Millgate reminds me of when I first started at the Coliseum.
“It is a community theatre, run by the people. And there are very few theatres left like this anymore.
“The Millgate have been so helpful from day one. Let’s hope it is something that will carry on in future years.”
Tickets cost £12 to £15 and can be obtained from the Millgate Box Office on 01457 874644.