Woo-Hoo! Showtime! Elf Rock, Roll, Rap and Rollerblades...

Hello you lot.  Tomorrow 'The Christmas Workshop' opens.  There are only a tiny handful of tickets left for the evening shows so look on The Christmas Workshop page of the website for details of how to book and hurry up or they'll be gone!

Well, an awful lot has happened since I blogged you last.  I am tired and a bit grubby (been rooting about in unused cupboards), but I'm very happy and more than a little impressed.

Is it wrong to cackle all the way through a show when you were involved in its creation?  I don't think so.  And I am.  I'm still laughing my head off. In fact, I will never look at a marshmallow without laughing again.

Volcanic fairies.

Slalom rollerblading.

Scientific and shop steward elves

Funny walks and squeaky pens

Reindeer health and safety

Snowball fights

International news flashes

People falling over (deliberately and by accident)

Delta Blues and Rap and the coolest Elves you've EVER seen this side of the North Pole.

These are just a few of the things that have me rolling about when I should be being dispassionate and making Director-y notes.  Actually, I'm rarely dispassionate.  And there's no chance whatsoever of being so with this show.


These two are so energetic that if we could hook them up to the Grid we'd have a whole new way to power the lights in Glasgow

I love Christmas shows.  I love that there is comedy and heartfelt emotion side by side.  I love that the audience that comes to see it are not a 'theatre' audience.  I love that they know, or learn, that they have to shout, point, clap and get involved (and in The Christmas Workshop they have to save Christmas).  I love that the actors get to use almost any and all the skills they have in the most random of ways and that the most successful shows aim for fantastically well judged anarchy.  I love a bit of chaos.  I love not knowing what an audience will do.  I love that a Christmas Show works best when every actor keeps bringing you ways of wringing just one more laugh, gasp or moment out of a scene.  But maybe most of all, I love that in the audience for a Christmas show you have children who have never been to the theatre before.  You have a chance to offer them their very first experience of theatre and to become wrapped up into their idea of Christmas forever.  It's a huge privilege.

Sparks The Newest Elf - our Jeremiah.....born to be a Christmas Elf

I love that we have the chance to do this and that everyone has thrown themselves into it.

6 weeks ago we did The Players Hamlet and the idea of a Christmas show was suggested pretty much as we came offstage.

5 weeks ago we had our first meeting - no script, no venue, virtually no budget.  Just a big pile of ideas and a room full of skilled and generous actors who were willing to juggle their existing schedules like there was no tomorrow to make it all happen.

And if I hadn't told you that - you would never know. Because it's a slick and as clever and as funny and as smart and silly as any Christmas show I've ever been too and I'm incredibly proud of everyone who has made it happen. I'm so happy with this show. And I'm genuinely impressed with the way it's been created.

It takes so much good will, intelligence, energy and skill to collaborate well and create a show where only a fraction of the ideas will make it to the stage (and where the goalposts not only keep moving but changing shape).  It takes a special kind of effort. It takes an incredible amount of care - for each other and for the audience - and I think the pay off is to then perform a part knowing that no one else could possible play it because it came straight from you and performing a show, in a venue, to an audience, knowing that moment only exists because you made it all happen.

That's a pretty special thing to do and I am very glad that Ashley Smith, Brian Ferguson, Benn Dunn, Eilidh McCormack, Elaine Stirret, Jen Bates, Jeremiah Reynold, Matthew McVarish, Maite Delafin and Simon Donaldson decided to do it.

This year, my Christmas came early.

I will, as they say, see you on the other side.  I'm off to find my elf hat and flash gun (come and see us you'll find out why). 

If you are coming to the show, remember the entrance to the Glasgow City Free Church is in St Vincent Lane (round the back of the building) AND remember to wear fancy dress.  Yes. Yes. I do mean you.  We'll applaud you for it.

Merry Christmas everyone!