Special Christmas Cabin to open up at the Arc Shopping Centre

A Nordic Christmas Cabin will be opening at the Arc Shopping Centre, in Bury St Edmunds, in December.

It’s a joint venture between the Theatre Royal and the Arc and there will be a story performed in the cabin in Charter Square entitled “Where’s Santa” a 20-minute, magical, captivating performance.

The story centres on Santa missing as Christmas approaches and Alva, Santa’s chief elf, invites children into the living room of the man in the red cloak to help search for clues.

Each performance, which runs from December 2 to 24, accommodates 12 children and allows them to meet Santa – but only if they can find him.

“Where’s Santa” is bought to life by two professional actors, Terry Molloy, as Santa, and Hatty Ashton, as Älva.

Radio 4 listeners may recognise the voice of East Anglian based actor, Terry Molloy as Mike Tucker from “The Archers” – a role he has played since 1974.

On television and Audio Drama, Terry is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the evil genius “Davros”, creator of The Daleks and nemesis of “Doctor Who” in the BBC TV series.

Playing the jolly man himself, Terry will make the perfect Santa and looks forward to meeting all the children of Bury St Edmunds who visit the Christmas Cabin – when they find him.

Local actor Hatty Ashton will be playing Älva, and will encourage the children to join her in looking for clues around the cabin to help find Santa.

Hatty’s love of theatre began in her school days with Suffolk Young Peoples Theatre and has grown since then- all the way to RADA.

Hatty is no stranger to Theatre Royal, having understudied Fairy, Tommy the Cat and Dick Whittington in the 2017 pantomime “Dick Whittington” and Fairy, Evil Fairy and Princess in the 2018 pantomime, “Sleeping Beauty”. 

When Hatty is not on stage or in the garden with her chickens she has taken to writing rhyming retellings of local history. Her first two books “There’s a Head in My Bed” and “Forkbeard and The Ghost King” follow some of the many legends that surround the martyred King Edmund of East Anglia.

Theatre Royal’s artistic director, Owen Calvert-Lyons, said: “In Bury St Edmunds, we are renowned for our fantastic pantomime, but this year we wanted to go even further and create something special for the younger children in the heart of the town centre – a theatrical twist on meeting Santa. When children step into our Christmas Cabin they will be transported to a magical place – Santa’s living room. They will help Älva, Santa’s Elf, find Santa and discover along the way which pictures he has on the wall, what wallpaper he has chosen and even what his slippers look like.”

Allan Hassell, centre manager at the Arc, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Theatre Royal and to provide the platform for their marvellous and unique performance for younger visitors to Charter Square. I’m sure it will be a tremendous event for the theatre and Bury St Edmunds.” 

“Where’s Santa” is supported by Bury St Edmunds Town Council, and town clerk Greg Luton said: “The town council is delighted to support the efforts of the Theatre Royal.  Their projects are always imaginative and fun and this one is no exception. Christmas is such a happy time and we think this idea will be fun for residents and draw more people into the town centre to contribute to the visitor economy as well. It’s a fantastic effort.

Tickets, which cost £8, will go on sale on Monday, October 10, at 10am.  www.theatreroyal.org.  Admission is by pre-booked tickets only.

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