A Night Before Christmas at the Pavilion Theatre
A Night Before Christmas at the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, on 21st Dcember, will feature a selection of classic Christmas stories read by an all-star cast of Irish actors – Owen Roe, Michele Forbes, Cathy Belton and Phelim Drew – with music by Ellen Cranitch, Ciara Sidine and Conor Brady.
Christmas is more than a season; it’s a state of mind. And that state is intimately connected to the seasonal music we love, from carol concerts to The Messiah and Nat King Cole. But there’s another tradition which is strangely neglected and certainly underperformed, and it’s the tradition of Christmas story-telling which A Night Before Christmas will celebrate. Originally performed as a fund-raiser for The Dalkey School Project in the early 2000s, the show has been revived with new material and the addition of world-class Irish musicians, Ellen Cranitch, Ciara Sidine and Conor Brady.
Christmas stories can be by turns affecting, poignant, and inspiring and in this special evening, some of your favourite Irish actors will read a warm and wonderful selection to help you get in the mood for the big day. From Charles Dickens to Patrick Kavanagh, from Frank O’Connor to Dylan Thomas, the tradition of Christmas story-telling is rich and authentic. Some of the pieces to be read will be familiar to Irish audiences but others may not be; all of them have been chosen to charm, enchant and to capture the true spirit of Christmas.
Charles Dickens described the Christmas spirit as “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem to open their shut-up hearts freely.” No man has had more influence on the way we celebrate Christmas today than Dickens and his Christmas readings used to fill Victorian theatres with vast audiences hanging on his every word. A Night Before Christmas comes to you in that Dickensian spirit of opening hearts through the power of seasonal story-telling.
- Owen Roe is one of Ireland’s foremost film, TV and theatre actors. He was most recently cast in the role of Claudius in The Gate Theatre’s production of Hamlet. In 2017 Owen received a Best Actor nomination from the Irish Times Theatre Awards for his performance as André in Florian Zeller’s The Father. Owen’s most recent television credits include Undercover for the BBC, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful , and the role of Count Odo in the History Channel’s hit series Vikings.
- Cathy Belton has appeared in a wide range of film, TV and theatre productions .She is known for her roles as Sr Clare in the Oscar winning film “Philomena” and the recurring role of Patricia Hennessy in the multi award winning “Red Rock”, for which she was twice nominated for Best Actress by IFTA. She is also known for playing Maura in the IFTA and Bafta award winning”Roy” for which she was also nominated by IFTA for Best actress. Other film roles include “A Little Chaos”, “My Name is Emily” and John Boorman’s “The Tiger’s Tail”. She has been a leading actress on our Irish stages for many years and toured all over the world in many acclaimed productions .She will next appear in Sky TV’s drama “Delicious” with Dawn French .
- Michèle Forbes is an award-winning theatre, television and film actress. Her first novel, Ghost Moth, was published in 2013 to great critical acclaim and Forbes was shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. She has recently been nominated for the Prix Littéraire des Ambassadeurs de la Francophonie en Irlande – Ireland Francophonie Ambassador’s Award 2017.
- Since his 1989 acting debut in My Left Foot, Phelim Drew has built a career as one of the country’s top film, TV and theatre actors. Recent stage roles have included his one-man show Down and Out in Paris and London, Once, and Kings of the Kilburn High Road. On TV he has recently appeared in Striking out, Clean Break and Ripper Street. Film roles have included King Arthur, The Escapist, and The Drummer and the Keeper.
- A classically-trained flautist and multi-instrumental traditional musician, Ellen Cranitch also makes music and arts programmes for radio. She presents the weekend late night show on RTE lyric fm, The Purple Vespertine, a broad mix of classical, jazz, and ethnic styles. She is also the director of the Galway Jazz Festival.
- Compared variously to Emmylou Harris, Maria McKee and, closer to home, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell, Ciara Sidine has received as much attention for her fine singing voice as for her melodies and poetic, emotionally resonant lyrics. Dubbed ‘Celtic Americana’, Sidine’s sound is inspired by the roots of American music and by her own Irish musical upbringing. She has appeared on Other Voices, at Celtic Connections and toured in Ireland and Holland. In 2018 she released her new and second album, Unbroken Line.
- Conor Brady played guitar with much celebrated Dublin group, The Blades. This led to recording sessions in Ireland with acts such as Terence Trent D’Arby, and for the multi-million selling The Commitments movie soundtrack. Conor has been Ciara Sidine’s accompanist for several years.
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