Busy Christmas programme for Brighton Open Air Theatre

Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) has confirmed a busy Christmas season running from December 8-24, assuming lockdown lifts in time.

Will Mytum
Will Mytum

They are offering The Snow Queen by Tatty Hennessy after Hans Christian Anderson, directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson and designed by Eleanor Bull. Also coming up is Hansel and Gretel? (A Postmodern Pantomime) by Luke R Francis, directed by Will Mytum, designed by Eleanor Bull.

Will Mytum, general manager at BOAT and producer/director, said: “2020 has presented us with a lot of firsts, and this Christmas, BOAT has decided to go one further. For the first time ever, BOAT is producing in-house not one, but two Christmas productions, in rep.

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“These outdoor, socially-distanced and Covid-compliant shows last one hour each and play for two and a half weeks leading up to Christmas. BOAT encourages visitors to wraps up warm, bring blankets, umbrellas and something dry to sit on, and treat yourself to a mulled wine at the bar before settling down to enjoy the show.

“These may very well be the only Christmas shows in Brighton this year, so whether it’s a gorgeously re-told classic fairy-tale or a musical deconstruction of the traditional pantomime, there’s something for you at BOAT this Christmas.”

Will added: “As an outdoor venue, producing work is far more viable for us than for many others at the moment, and with a dearth of festive options this year, we’re thrilled to be able to offer both a magical version of The Snow Queen and a pantomime like you’ve never seen before. We are delighted to be partnering with VisitBrighton’s Never Normal campaign and are extremely grateful to Arts Council England for partially funding the project. At a time of great uncertainty, we hope that our Christmas shows can offer a glimmer of hope and normality, both for our audience and for the professionals we’ve been able to employ.”

In The Snow Queen, Greta’s brother Kay has been acting strange, as Will explains.

“He’s mean and moody and won’t play games. The Snow Queen must have snatched him and left an imposter in his place. With her new friend, the wise-cracking, fame-hungry talking Crow to guide her, Greta must set out across the snow to search for her brother in the Snow Queen’s palace and bring him home in time for Christmas.

“Funny, magic and full of surprises, this new modern adaptation of The Snow Queen is a perfect family Christmas adventure. So wrap up warm, grab a mulled wine from the bar and enjoy a socially-distanced festive treat.”

The show runs December 8-24 at 5pm (2pm Sundays). Tickets: £12 standard, £10 concessions, £8 child, £35 family of four. Run time: one hour. Ages: two and up.

Hansel and Gretel? (A Postmodern Pantomime) plays the same dates but at 7.30pm (4.30pm Sundays). Tickets: £15 standard, £12.50 concessions, £10 child, £45 family of four. Run time: one hour. Age recommendation: eight and up.

As director Will explains: “Bill and Toni have just met and fallen head-over-heels for each other. Problem is, they’ve met on stage, and Bill’s been plucked from the audience to play Hansel with Toni playing her sister Gretel. This is the least of enigmatic director Mal Sixsmith’s troubles as Simon the Dame demands his role be expanded beyond its paltry 14 pages.Featuring musical numbers from Cardi B to Kate Bush, Hansel And Gretel? asks the important questions: what is postmodernism? What is pantomime? Is this really a kid’s show, or just a load of pretentious twaddle? Honestly? Probably, yes. But there is a rapping dragon, so it’s worth coming just for that.”