Category: 2010-11 Season

A Child's Christmas In Wales

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Press Release
November 18th, 2010

The Belleville Theatre Guild - 256 Pinnacle Street, Belleville
(613) 967-1442

Cast members, A Child's Christmas In Wales, Left to Right: Jim Alexander, Jackie Sutherland, Dan Douglas, Nathan Cowan (seated)

A Nostalgic Christmas Through The Eyes Of A Child

Belleville: We've all sat around the dinner table after a holiday meal and reminisced about holidays gone by. Such memories are the threads of a homespun tapestry entitled A Child's Christmas in Wales, adapted for the stage by Jeremy Brooks and Adrian Mitchell based on a prose poem by Dylan Thomas.

In the true spirit of Christmas, the Belleville Theatre Guild presents this fun-filled and delightful production this holiday season. The play with music is set on Cwmdonkin Drive in the town of Swansea in the 1920's.

The story follows the young child Dylan through his memories of a perfect Christmas Day, from waking to his Christmas stocking to the final magical note at the family's raucous Ceilidh.

Thomas's tale captures the essence of family life in Wales after World War 1, when gas stoves were new to the home and electricity wasn't yet available. The audience is offered a delightful slice of life, from the days when people had time to spend together and when families gathered and entertained one another with stories, poems and songs that they had memorized.

Director Moira Nikander-Forrester said "I learned more music sitting in the backseat of my father's Ford Fairlane than I ever did at my lessons. Whenever my family would travel in the car, we would sing. We had hundreds of songs we could sing by heart and in harmony. And now I've met Dylan Thomas's family. They sing at the drop of a hat. They sing to entertain each other and to enjoy themselves."

The large cast ranging in age from 9 to 85, with both new faces and old, represents the large extended family and townspeople. They fill the stage with their humour and humanity. The set was designed and painted by Marianne Sutton, to represent a snow globe which contains a streetscape and set pieces that transform from one object to another as the scene changes.

The narrator, Jim Alexander, has an astounding 62 years of theatrical experience. He plays the role of the mature Dylan, as he remembers and interprets his Christmas memories. The young Dylan is played by Nathan Cowan. This is Nathan's first time on the Belleville Theatre Guild stage and Director Forrester particularly makes mention of his perfect boy soprano voice. "This is a gift which comes for a short while, then it is gone. I know the audience will be touched by his singing."
The family theme was present during casting. Dan Douglas, whom audiences will remember from last season's I Remember Mama, plays Father, and three of his five real-life children have roles in the play. The role of Mother is played by Jackie Sutherland. Other well loved actors from past seasons include John O'Connor, Jack Evans and Richard Bly. There are many talented young children performing on our Pinnacle Playhouse stage too.

The music is a mix of traditional Christmas carols and others, but with some words changed to fit the comical action of the play, sung in perfect harmony. Nikander-Forrester is doing double duty as the musical director. There is even a song that involves an on-stage rugby game.

Producer Dave Henderson has put together a first rate crew. They include Carol Peoples as Stage Manager, Accompanist Donna Douglas, Sound Designer Rich Bough, Lighting Designer Art MacKay and Carole Herbertson has an immense job clothing this large cast in her role as Costume Designer.

As a special Christmas present to all students, we offer a special $10.000 student admission to all plays for this modern day classic. And we offer two Sunday matinees. Our admission fee for non-students is $18.00.

The Belleville Theatre Guild also offers elevator service right in to the theatre, a barrier-free washroom and room in the front row for wheel chairs and other mobility devices.

For a delightful, nostalgic evening to enjoy Christmas again the way it was, and always should be, don’t miss A Child's Christmas in Wales, December 2 to the 18. Call the Belleville Theatre Guild box office at 613-967-1442 or visit our web site at

Submitted by
Debra Tosh