Swindon Arts Centre welcomes 175th anniversary tour of A Christmas Carol

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as the European Arts Company prepares to bring the anniversary tour of A Christmas Carol to Swindon in December.

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carole, European Arts Company will be bringing the tour to Swindon Arts Centre December 3 to December 4.

Reimagining Dickens’ original festive masterpiece set designer Tom Paris will be transforming Swindon Arts Centre to encapsulate the production’s performances from the 1860s. A Christmas Carol offers audiences an inside look into Dickens’ London home where he created what would arguably turn out to be his most political, imaginative and successful publication and theatre hit.

The anniversary tour has been adapted from Dicken’s public readings of A Christmas Carol, taking notes from first-hand accounts of his performances. A spokesperson for the event said this production “recreates the spirit of Dickens’s original performances.”

Actor John O’Connor will be taking to the stage as Charles Dickens. Having grown up in Rochester, the same as Dickens, O’Connor became familiar with Dickens early on in life. He said: “I’m delighted to be touring again in A Christmas Carol. Dickens himself toured all over the UK and America performing the tale and it is wonderful to follow in his legendary footsteps.

“He described his imagination as ‘a Magic Lantern’ and we use an original Victorian magic lantern in the show to help illuminate the story.”

Dickens’ intentions behind this Christmas classic has long been analysed. In an article for the BBC Dicken’s great-great-great-granddaughter, – a biographer, author and lecturer – Lucinda Hawksley wrote: “While walking around Manchester [1843], Dickens was horrified by the sight of families starving on the streets. The breadth of poverty in post-Industrial Revolution Manchester was chilling. This was the ‘Hungry Forties’. Britain was experiencing an economic depression, unemployment was growing exponentially, two consecutive harvests had failed and the price of everyday foods was beyond the reach of many.

“A Christmas Carol was published on 19 December 1843, and it captured the zeitgeist. For some years, people had been feeling nostalgic for the ways in which Christmas had been celebrated in the past. The British Isles were ripe for a Christmas renaissance. The plot also highlighted how Christmas had lost its former purpose, as a time of charitable giving.”

A Christmas Carol’s 175th anniversary tour is in aid of children’s charity Barnardo’s.

For further information and to purchase tickets visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk

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