• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

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Dickens Comes Back to Newcastle


Thanks to a festive partnership between the Amble based Northumberland Theatre Company and creative entrepreneur Craig Wilde, theatre lovers in Newcastle are about to be transported back in time to enjoy a Victorian Christmas performance with a unique historical connection.

Craig Wilde runs Niltoni Productions from his office in Alderman Fenwick’s House, a Grade 1 listed building dating back to the 17th century. The Pilgrim Street merchant’s house is one of the city’s oldest buildings and has an impressive history including a period when it was the Queen’s Head Hotel.

The building’s Great Room was formerly the hotel’s restaurant and saloon and one of its many residents was Charles Dickens who regularly visited the city performing readings at music halls and theatres. He also began a relationship with actress Nelly Ternan who lived in Westgate Street, now part of Westgate Road. The Newcastle connection started earlier however, when he married Catherine Hogarth, whose father was the editor of the Newcastle Chronicle.

As a voice over producer, multi-Media expert, publisher and owner of a creative agency, Craig has been involved in many TV and film opportunities but the chance of bringing history to life in his own office was too much to resist.

“I’ve been working on Christmas events since July including the Grainger Market Grotto and a forthcoming movie called “A Very Yorkshire Christmas” and I’ve really embraced the festive spirit this year more than any other year. A chance meeting with Louis Roberts of the Northumberland Theatre Company led to a discission about my office space and its historical connection with Dickens and the idea to co-produce a version of “A Christmas Carol” was born,” said Craig.

The event – Dickens by Candlelight: ‘A Christmas Carol’ runs from 13th -24th December and has been adapted by writer Stewart Howson and is performed by Louis Roberts in the title role of Charles Dickens, with supporting cast from Nathan McGowran and Melanie Dagg.

“I can’t think of a more traditional Yuletide story than “A Christmas Carol” and to reenact it in such an iconic setting of historical importance is the icing on the Christmas cake,” said Louis. “At Northumberland Theatre Company we are all about bringing theatre to the people, often in rural or socially challenged areas but this play is totally different and will really give everyone a sense of pre-Christmas spirit,” he added.

“Tickets are selling very well as I think it’s really captured the imagination of the public. They will be able to sit in the same room that Dickens himself sat in more than 150 years ago and hear and see his work being performed. The book featured the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and this experience will take the audience back in time to everyone’s perfect image of Christmas,” said Craig.