If this season is about creating a little bit of magic and remembering the wonder of childhood, the annual Christmas show at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre will be a chance to indulge in one of the classic tales of fantasy.
This month final-year University of Lincoln students invite the public to join them on a voyage to Narnia with an adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe based on the famous book by C S Lewis.
Offering audiences an alternative festive theatre experience to pantomime, performances will be showing from Friday, December 13 to Tuesday, December 24. Four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy – are evacuated from London during the Blitz to stay in a house in the country. While exploring, Lucy stumbles across a wardrobe – a gateway to a world where their adventure begins.
The land of Narnia lies under the power of the White Witch who casts a spell so that it is forever winter, but never Christmas, and the children find themselves caught in a struggle between good and evil.
Kirsty Taylor, who will play Lucy, says: "It has been an amazing experience to be part of such a magical story and I've had so much fun in rehearsals. I can't wait for the performances to start. It will certainly be a very magical start to Christmas and I hope the audience will enjoy the show as we take them on a journey into Narnia."
Originally commissioned and staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, this musical version will take place in-the-round at the venue. The central stage will offer audiences a new perspective, with the production featuring a variety of puppetry, musicality and animated digital projection.
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre's artistic director Craig Morrow says: "In-the-round means there will be seats on all four sides this year, which makes the show more immersive – audiences will feel in among the action and part of it. But you can't have one big backdrop like this so it's given us the opportunity to try new things. We are using projection and puppetry – I don't want to give too much away about Aslan but when children see him they will love it.
"So many other venues are doing pantomimes this time of year so I think it is nice to offer something different – it's about providing choice. And there are some great stories which you can't tell in a pantomime setting. But it's still engaging and interactive.
"These students are going to be the next generation of actors and directors and it's really important they have the opportunity to gain professional experience and give something back to the people of Lincoln. And it's proving popular – because of the success of last year's Christmas show we have added 30 more seats per performance this year, that's 210 seats now for each show. We are hoping to carry that forward to next year's Alice's Adventures in Winter Wonderland.
"There is a high level of commitment and professionalism from students and the quality of performances is outstanding."
Dominic Symonds, director and reader in drama at the Lincoln School of Performing Arts, adds: "With our production, we hope to take adults back to the Christmases of their early years and give children their first glimpse of the magic of Narnia.
"Theatre is all about creating a little bit of magic, particularly at Christmas, so for our audience it will literally be snowing just inches away, and we are especially excited about introducing them to Aslan."
Morning, matinee and evening performances available. Tickets: from £10 for children and £12 for adults, with discounted family tickets also available. For more information and to book visit www.lpac.co.uk or call the box office on 01522 837600.