Chickenshed theatre is taking inspiration from a famous Christmas carol for its festive show this year, The Twelve Days Of Christmas, which plays at the North London venue from 3 December to 17 January.
The Twelve Days Of Christmas features a cast of over 150 which brings to life the characters from the carol of the same name, including turtle doves, calling birds, swans a-swimming, lords a-leaping, maids a-milking and of course, a partridge in a pear tree.
In a typical Chickenshed twist, the story centres on four homeless, parentless children who occupy a single room in their half-Uncle Leonard’s house. It isn’t a happy house – there are the usual problems: family feuds, bitter jealousy, unfettered hate. But one Christmas, quite out of the blue, a Partridge appears and so begins an adventure in search of five gold rings that could hold the key to their happiness. But first they must negotiate maids with nothing to milk, pipers of conventional wisdom and Lords that leap too high for anyone’s good except their own. Also featuring three French hens who don’t speak a word of French, geese who guard against complacency and swans who shake their tail feathers, this is an untraditional take on the traditional song.
Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company which holds youth theatre workshops, education programmes and community outreach projects as well as presenting its own work. On 3 November the company held its 19th annual fundraising gala in which supporters including Bob Hoskins, Shirley Bassey, Michelle Collins and Maria Friedman heard guest speaker Dame Eileen Atkins speak about the work of Chickenshed.