Chichester: Evie conjures the ghost of Christmas past

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Evie Carter will prick mean old Ebeneezer Scrooge’s conscience this Christmas as one of the grey ghosts in A Christmas Carol – ghosts of children who have died long, long before their time.

The production comes from Chichester Festival Youth Theatre on the CFT’s main-house this Christmas (December 18-January 2).

Evie

Evie

“The grey ghosts are like the ensemble,” Evie explains. “They are dead children who have died too soon maybe because of something Scrooge himself has done. Scrooge can’t see us. He can’t see the ghosts at all - except for the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Scrooge helps put them in the workhouses, and maybe that’s where they died because Scrooge is just worshipping money. I don’t think he thinks he is awful at all, certainly not at first – not until the ghosts show him the error of his ways.”

13-year-old Evie, who is a pupil at Chichester’s Bishop Luffa School, has been in the Youth Theatre for the past three years: “I was really lucky. So many people want to get in that it is a bit like a raffle. If your name gets picked out, you are in. If it doesn’t get picked out, then you have to go on the waiting list, but I was really fortunate. I got in first time.

“I did the show One Hundred and One Dalmatians last year. It was really fun. It was a nice experience. It was a really big cast. Lots of people were really new to it. The first time you go on the stage and the second time, it just feels like you are going to die, but everyone that’s done it before calms you down and is really nice to you.

“When you are on the stage, you don’t see very many people because of the lights. You see the first row, and you can’t really see the people behind them. But you are not really looking at the people in the audience. You are looking up more. But I just like putting myself out there. Letting people see me act is fun. I like pleasing my family and friends. I like doing it and seeing people’s reactions, and it is really nice to have my family in. Last year they were in the front row.”

It will certainly help this year that she’s done it all before: “But it is still going to be nerve-racking, still going to be a bit scary.”

This isn’t where Evie sees her future lying, however: “It’s a nice hobby, but I would really quite like to be a doctor. I would like to be a paediatrician. I have broken a few bones. I am quite clumsy, so I have been into the paediatric ward quite a lot!”

She’s broken a finger, snapped an arm and broken a thumb – all of which, based on the experience of the care she received, makes Evie think she too would like to enter the caring profession.

“It would be nice to help people and to know that you are giving something back.”

And when that time comes, acting will take a back seat inevitably: “But acting is definitely great for getting rid of a lot of stress. You have to learn quite a lot, but it helps you release things when you are on stage. Everything just goes away. But as I get older and come out of the youth theatre, I think I will be concentrating on medicine.”

Tickets from www.cft.org.uk.

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