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Local theatre company ready for Christmas spell at Playhouse

All Areas > Entertainment > Theatre

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 09:10

Alex Guilford will star as The Hatter Alex Guilford will star as The Hatter

Noodle Productions are a Cheltenham based theatre company who specialise in creating new and fun shows for the whole family to enjoy.

Matt Nolan is the founder of Noodle, and he explains the motivation behind setting up the company.

He said: “My target with Noodle was to create fun shows on a budget, that makes it affordable for people to come and see.

“We’ve got a mix of amateur and semi pro actors, volunteers behind the scenes, but also professional production crew working on the shows.

“We aim to produce our own original writing too, which can be a challenge!”

Last year, Noodle produced a Christmas show entitled ‘Grandma Claus’, which proved to be hugely successful for Matt and the rest of his team. They sold out three performances at the Cheltenham Playhouse, before taking the show on tour for audiences all around Gloucestershire.

This year’s show, ‘The Hatter in Winterland’, was co-written by Matt and Ginny Burge, and will be directed by Greg Aston.

The show takes characters from Lewis Carroll’s classic story ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and brings them into a new world with a new set of challenges facing them.

On top of being a fun show for kids, Matt and Ginny have managed to work an important message into the plot on the subject of mental health.

Matt explained: “The Hatter and the March Hare fall into Winterland and have to escape back to Wonderland in time for their Christmas Tea Party.

“To escape they must defeat the Jabberwocky, a creature that rules Winterland because everyone in the land fears it. There’s an underlying theme to the show about mental health, and the message we want people to take away is that nothing is impossible.”

The group will also be putting on a special performance tailored for those with special needs, as Matt explains.

He said: “We are running a dedicated relaxed performance on Friday 28th December at 12pm, perfect for anyone who would benefit from a more chilled performance environment, including those with an autism spectrum condition or learning disability.

“The lights in the audience will be up so that it's not too dark, you can make noise during the show and you can come and go as you please. We also make small changes to the lighting and sound effects so that the performance is more accessible if you have sensory sensitivities.”

The show will be at the Cheltenham Playhouse, and rehearsals are well underway.

Matt continued: “We started rehearsals with our children’s cast, which began in October, with the adults starting in November, before we blended both together.

“We’ve got 17 shows in the Playhouse and we can’t wait. In fact, we enjoy these performances so much we’ve already started planning for our Christmas 2019 shows!”

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