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Alice spreads some Wonderland magic this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 16:40 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 07 October 2020

Alice in Wonderland, Red Rose Chain's Christmas Show is being streamed online this year . Photo: Bill Jackson

Alice in Wonderland, Red Rose Chain's Christmas Show is being streamed online this year . Photo: Bill Jackson

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Theatre at Christmas has traditionally been a magical wonderland. However, with Coronavirus restrictions still in force, live entertainment was always going to be a challenge.

Joanna Sawyer as Alice in the Red Rose Chain streaming production of Alice in Wonderland  Photo: Red Rose ChainJoanna Sawyer as Alice in the Red Rose Chain streaming production of Alice in Wonderland Photo: Red Rose Chain

However, Ipswich theatre company Red Rose Chain are devising a spectacular online version of Alice in Wonderland to make sure that Christmas 2020 has some of that much-needed sparkle.

Artistic director Joanna Carrick has pulled together a cast of 20 actors and musicians to turn Lewis Carrol’s surreal novel into a classic Christmas extravaganza.

“It’s the biggest thing we have ever done and I am really excited for everyone to see what we have been up to.,” said Jo.

The cast have been rehearsing and shooting during August and September against green screens at home and at remote locations, uploading the footage which is then edited by Red Rose Chain’s David Newborn with added digital backdrops and effects by resident artist Katy Frost.

The poster image for Red Rose Chain's streaming production of Alice in Wonderland  Photo: Red Rose ChainThe poster image for Red Rose Chain's streaming production of Alice in Wonderland Photo: Red Rose Chain

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“I am really pleased to be able to offer work to 20 performers at this really difficult time and because they all know us and mostly know one another we can work together quite effectively while also being remote from one another.

“As always it’s a really collaborative affair and it’s great that we can still work that way albeit via technology.”

Jo has adapted the script of her previous on-stage production of Alice in Wonderland to make it work for an on-screen environment. “It’s a different medium, a different world in many ways, so you would be surprised how many changes you have to make – also I wanted to emphasise the visual element of the storytelling.”

Many of the stars of the show have appeared in the previous version of Alice in Wonderland several years ago, although not necessarily in the same roles. Some of the actors are returning to Red Rose Chain from the West End including Alice herself, Joanna Sawyer, who is currently on leave from Wicked.

“We have learnt some amazing lessons from Twelfth Night, our theatre-in-the-forest production for this year, and we have upgraded some of our equipment, improved how we do some things and we feel ready for this incredible challenge. We are coming to the end of the shooting schedule, which we have been doing in batches over four weeks – now it’s a case of post-production and fine-tuning the editing.”

Jo Carrick says she wants Alice in Wonderland to be a wonderful tonic for families this Christmas – an antidote to the stresses caused by the Coronavirus lockdown. “It won’t feel like a telly programme. It’s been designed so it appears that we are talking directly to you.”

Alice in Wonderland runs from December 18 to January 3, 2021. Tickets cost £10 and are available from the Red Rose Chain website (www.redrosechain.com/alice-in-wonderland/) or from the box office on 01473 603388. The proceeds will go towards maintaining the company’s community programme working with disadvantaged and disabled young people and adults.


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