Twas The Night Before Christmas

Written & Directed by Bill Cronshaw
Set design by Mike Kingston 
Incidental music by James Lark

Theophilus Scatterdust is an unusual child surrounded by unusual adults in an unusual world. 

Join him as he triumphs over the dastardly occupant of Howlwood Hall in this magical and imaginative Christmas treat for all children – and well-behaved adults!

This is the third year that Dreamshed Theatre have had the pleasure of spending Christmas at The Playhouse following our previous successful productions of those classic pieces of children’s literature, Toad of Toad Hall and The Borrowers.

Bill Cronshaw

A brand new original play, with original music, written especially by Bill Cronshaw and James Lark.
Dreamshed Theatre’s 2012 Christmas production at the Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham. 

Photographs by

Dreamshed Theatre
The Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham
15th December 2012    

“Christmas is a time for dreams, a time to find the child in your heart.”
  We’ve all been there at some point in our lives and wanted to return, and in the company of Dreamshed we are, for a brief while at least, granted swift passage to that land of enchantment where only dreams matter and even bad guys are made good.
    Picking up where last year’s seasonal presentation The Borrowers left off, Bill Cronshaw has created another delightful festive production to stand alongside the requisite pantomimes, and which are rapidly becoming a Christmas institution at the Playhouse. Once more we are transported back to those carefree, happy days of our youth, where we can forget what we have become and how we think in these troubled times. We can re-enter an age of sleeveless patterned sweaters, knee-length grey shorts and relive the mood of adventure that prompted children to make their own fun and entertainment, long before the mind-numbing distractions of the internet moved in.
    Cronshaw’s first Yuletide extravaganza will resonate with anyone who remembers those unforgettable children’s television drama series of the late 1960s; it’s as if one of them has come back to life, and it’s a salutary pointer to a dying art. Very simply, whilst enthroned in his grandfather’s rocking chair, he tells a good old-fashioned story inspired by Clement Moore’s classic poem, and one which fires that worryingly underused facility called the imagination.
    It’s another tale of two worlds, one this side of reality and ruled by mean-spirited councillor Henry Howlwood, the other beyond a magical time portal where anything is possible, not least an encounter with Santa Claus, but where there is no room for nasty adults. Horrid Howlwood wants to close the local school, but step forward the hero, young Theophilus Scatterdust and his merry band of brothers (and sister), and Howlwood is soon on a downer. He’s eventually brought to heel, and makes amends by humbly donning the Christmas equivalent of sackcloth and ashes, resolving to do good from here on.
     Visually, it’s a joy; whenever you see those beautiful blue lights, be it a magic telescope, an ancient book or the giant circular stargate inviting everyone’s dreams to take flight, that sense of wonder becomes overwhelming. There’s a lovely song that drives the good guys, and even the original dream shed appears, a wooden shrine where the faithful gather to hear of their next mission. The boat sequence is stunning, and the sets are again designed by Mike Kingston – need I say more?
     As it was with The Borrowers, there’s something for everyone in this charming celebration which invites you to roll back the years, feel young again and believe in miracles. Happy Christmas.

Simon Lewis