Acclaimed theatrical imagineers the WONDERHEADS hit BC stages this December with A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol, a whimsical re-imagining of the beloved holiday classic. The multi-award-winning company brings Scrooge’s magical journey to life with masks, puppets, music and theatrical invention. Think Pixar meets Jim Henson.
Praised by the CBC as “pure magic” and the Globe and Mail as “powerful, surprising and moving,” the WONDERHEADS specialize in visual storytelling—a mix of puppetry, full-face mask performance and virtuosic physical performance. A WONDERHEADS Christmas Caroll features 20 masks and puppets, including a 10-foot-tall Ghost of Christmas Present, all designed by company co-founding artistic directors Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix.
Braidwood embraces the “live-action Pixar” comparison often used to describe the company’s work: “It’s a real compliment because, like Pixar, we set out to create entertaining and enchanting shows that resonate with all ages.”
Phoenix adds, “Our take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a heartfelt examination of greed and compassion that includes glowing ghosts, joyful giants and the sweetest Tiny Tim you’ve ever seen; we’re aiming to make each audience member laugh, cry and gasp with wonder.”
Devised and co-directed by Braidwood and Phoenix, A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol features physical theatre performers Braidwood as Ebenezer Scrooge; Pedro M. Siqueira as Bob Cratchit, the Ghost of Christmas Present and Fezziwig; Jessica Hickman as Marley, Fred, Belle and the Ghost of Christmas Future; and Sarah Robertson as Mrs. Cratchit, the Ghost of Christmas Past and Mrs. Fezziwig.
“Our ensemble is breathing hard by the end of the 70-minute show,” says Phoenix.“In one moment, a performer is playing Bob Cratchit, in the next, running backstage to put on a huge backpack puppet, and in the next, spinning set pieces through the air in a cyclone of time travel.”
The show also features an original score composed by LA-based band The Singer and the Songwriter. Featuring covers of many holiday favourites, their “sophisticated but playful” sound (BuzzBands LA) lends itself perfectly to this poignant and whimsical production.
Peter Balkwill, co-founding artistic director of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, is on the creative team as puppetry and dramaturgy advisor, and a lineup of stellar designers has helped create the ambitious production. Masks and puppets are designed by Braidwood and Phoenix, projection design is by Jason King, costume design is by Hannah Case and Hannah Ockenden, set and lighting design is by Theodore R. Sherman and Carolyn Moon, and illustrations are by Christache Ross.
A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol has become a tradition for thousands of theatre-goers each December, and for good reason. The WONDERHEADS have spent more than a decade touring the world, from Alaska to Hawaii, Shanghai to Los Angeles, and Victoria to St. John’s, to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences who describe the experience as watching animation come to life. They have garnered five Critics’ Choice Awards and 12 Best of Fest awards, making it their business to step beyond words and into the hearts and imaginations of every audience member.
The company is delighted to be touring A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol throughout BC this December. They invite everyone to join Scrooge on his haunted Christmas Eve adventure to laugh, cry and be utterly enchanted.
A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol will be performed at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney on December 14 at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm, and at the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria on December 16 at 7:30 pm and December 17 at 3:30 and 7:30 pm.
Full information and tickets are available at wonderheads.com/awonderheadschristmascarol.
The WONDERHEADS gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the Capital Regional District in the development of this production.