‘Christmas at The Wellesley’ on Sunday 3rd December promises to light up the night – and possibly the town too – with words, dance and music delivered by no fewer than twelve local groups, among them Wellington Theatre Company, dance provided by T.F.A, Genesis Youth Theatre, Stage Right, Wellington Pantomime Group, Courtfields School, Uffculme School, Wellington Operatic Society Touring Group and Wiveliscombe Town Band. All proceeds from the evening will go towards enhancing the town’s Christmas lights.
This ambitious and rewarding venture is the brainchild of Nancy Powell-Brace who is busily rehearsing all the separate groups for this one-night Christmas extravaganza.
Explaining where the idea came from she said, “It’s born out of my love of Christmas music, readings and poetry and the fact that I am not a church-goer. I love to belt out the descant for carols but unless you’re in a church choir you don’t get this opportunity – so I decided to create one!
“I approached the new management of Merlin Cinemas to see if there was any wriggle room in their scheduling to fit in a Sunday evening before Christmas. They were unbelievably supportive and gave me access to the theatre on Sunday 3rd December, which also happens to be the first Sunday in Advent AND the weekend of the new Christmas lights being switched on in the town.
“Having secured the theatre I then approached Wellington Arts Association to ask if they would produce the evening – and they were 100% supportive. This means I have been able to secure the expertise of their lighting and sound technicians, their front-of-house team and to work under the umbrella of their outstanding reputation within the town. Then I needed to gather together as many local groups as I could think of to offer them an eight minute slot in the programme…
“In the meantime I also approached Wilkie May and Tuckwood to see if they would sponsor the printing of the programme. They responded by saying they would match funds with Carlypress and between them they have financed the design and printing of all the posters, programmes and tickets.
“The sponsorship of these three firms, Wilkie May and Tuckwood, Carlypress and Merlin Cinemas, has meant that there is only a minimal charge of £5.00 a ticket for the evening making it accessible to everyone. In consultation with the management committee of the Wellington Arts Association we decided to donate all monies raised to the improvement of Wellington’s Christmas lights. This was before the Town Council announced their plans to have new lights this year but there are many ways the funds can enhance the lights. A decision about that will be made after the event and in consultation with the Arts Association management committee. I wanted this to be an event for the town, both in its content and in the use of money raised.
“Community carols will be led by Wiveliscombe Town Band and the grand finale is a storming version of ‘I Saw Three Ships’. This will be an arrangement of the carol that was written by the late composer John Gardner as a Christmas Card for my father back in the 1960’s. They were great friends and John would often send Dad little musical arrangements as Christmas cards/presents and this arrangement will bring together all the ‘cast’ and audience as our final number.”
Tickets for ‘Christmas at The Wellesley’ are on sale at Odette’s Tea Room in Wellington High Street.