Taunton School Main Building at Dusk

Taunton School students join professional actors on stage in Christmas production at The Brewhouse

Posted: 14th December 2023

Three Taunton School students performed in a new version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at The Brewhouse arts centre.

Brothers Zachary and Barnaby Roberts, aged 14 and 11, along with Arthur Wilkinson, 14, successfully auditioned for the show in the Summer and have been rehearsing since the Autumn for the musical, which opened last in the first week of December.

They were part of the 24-strong local Youth Ensemble working alongside a professional cast.

Taunton School sponsored the Christmas production at The Brewhouse for the first time, enabling the theatre to involve more young people from across the region. Starring professional actors, the classic tale, reworked with a local twist, was directed by West End theatre director Scott Le Crass.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Zachary, who played young Scrooge, a rag and bone man, and Peter Cratchit in the musical. “I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to work with a director and actors who have worked in London’s West End.

“It’s so much more than anything you can do in school or even local theatre.”

Zachary’s brother, Barnaby plays Tiny Tim and Arthur plays Peter Cratchit during the 16-night run.

“It was my teachers who inspired me to do this,” said Arthur. “If I hadn’t come to this school and met my teachers I would not be in this production. They are brilliant and really know what they are doing.”

The reworking of A Christmas Carol by the Pleasure Dome Theatre Company has been given a local theme by focusing on a young girl whose train from Taunton to London is delayed on Christmas Eve.

She escapes the chaos of the cramped carriage on board by losing herself in a mysterious old book – the beginning of a magical journey full of enchanting puppetry and original music.

The Taunton Brewhouse is the largest theatre and arts centre in Taunton, Somerset’s county town. It is a multi-purpose arts centre, catering for professional arts organisations, community groups, schools and businesses.

In September, Executive Director of The Brewhouse, Vickie Hobbs, said the theatre was thrilled to have Taunton School as this year’s principal sponsor. She said the funding was vital to helping them involve local young people in the Youth Ensemble to work alongside the team of professional actors.

Matthew Cook, Taunton School Deputy Head, said that it was a privilege to be able to support such a brilliant initiative. “It provides young people who are passionate about the Performing Arts with an opportunity to experience a large-scale production.

“We are delighted that three of our own students had successful auditions and have had this amazing chance to perform in a professional theatre alongside other young people from the area.”

The Performing Arts play a central role in the daily life of Taunton School, with a wide range of opportunities on offer and a reputation for both breadth and excellence in dance, drama and music.

A Christmas Carol runs at Taunton Brewhouse from December 4-30 and is suitable for all ages. Tickets are available at tauntonbrewhouse.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 01823 283244.

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