Christmas With Scrooge appears online in 2020

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By SUE NEWMAN

Newman Family Productions 

Ready, Scrooge? Lights! Camera! Action! 

That’s right! This year Christmas with Scrooge is a movie! 

Ray and Virginia Newman’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been around for a long time. It’s been a beloved off-and-on Salt Spring tradition since 1971! My dad Ray Newman called it a “cast of thousands” with our “friends, neighbours, or even your relatives” performing, and truly over the years we very likely have included at least a thousand community members. 

The many faces of Christmas with Scrooge on Salt Spring present something like a little museum. Generations of islanders have either found themselves onstage, backstage or in the audience, appreciating the goodwill and the closeness of a caring community, recognizing the need for personal and social change here, and on the broader stage of world issues, through the messages in Dickens’ timeless story. How fortunate Ray and Virginia were to tap into that story as they were finding their place on their new island home all those years ago. (They also wrote a musical history of Salt Spring; their dream to fit in was strong.) 

After a hiatus of 11 years, Christmas with Scrooge was remounted in 2017. A whole bunch of island theatre artists from “the old days” as well as a whole bunch of new ones brought the show back to life at ArtSpring. A key component has been the talents of the amazing pianist, Karen Gail, who had transcribed Virginia’s pencilled notes and has continued to bring Ray and Virginia Newman’s charming and glorious music back to life. As a result, a decision was made to make a run for it. A five-year plan was initiated, with productions planned annually, culminating in the 50th anniversary production in 2021. What a fun build-up! We did two years at ArtSpring, and planned for three more, immersing ourselves in theatre “in the round” as we did at Fulford Hall last year. 

In this exceptional year we weren’t able to present a live show and requests came for an online screening of a historical production. Always a theatrical event, Christmas with Scrooge certainly wasn’t designed for film. The shows have always been filmed and archived, however, for our casts and crews to view. We even have some reel-to-reel tapes from before video and digital technologies. With permissions and thumbs up from all involved, and with the expertise of Living Water Media, Newman Family Productions is delighted to offer a Vimeo screening of the 2017 production throughout December, and look forward to seeing you “live and in person” next year for our 50th anniversary. 

Please join us from the comfort of your living rooms. Pour a glass of holiday cheer or a nice hot cuppa, and sit back and enjoy Christmas with Scrooge. 

We are asking for donations for current and ongoing expenses via GoFundMe. 

Access to the online screening is available by email at saltspringscrooge@gmail.com

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