Hedgerow Theatre Presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Now thru 12/28

Hedgerow Theatre continues its holiday tradition with its 22nd annual production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, which runs from today, December 5 to 28.

The adaptation by award-winning playwright Nagle Jackson is faithful to Dickens' classic tale of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable, selfish miser whose heart is transformed after he is visited by a series of spirits on Christmas Eve. The story was first published in 1843, so Hedgerow's 1840s' built grist-mill theatre provides the perfect period-appropriate setting for the play, which features a large multi-generational cast and carols.

As she has each year since the tradition began, Executive Director Penelope Reed is focusing on a special message to make the 2014 production relevant and fresh. "This year's theme is the importance of family and the power of education," Reed explained. "It's a topic that's been in the news a lot recently, especially with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. It was also one of the reasons Dickens wrote the story originally, to emphasize the family of humanity and the importance of educating our youth."

Dickens himself experience some of the inequities depicted in his tale. At the age of 12, he was sent to work in a factory after his father was sent to debtors' prison. As an adult, he became involved in charities and social issues. He was inspired to write A Christmas Carol after visiting a "ragged school" in 1843, a school that offered free education to impoverished inner-city children named for the clothing they wore. According to Malcolm Andrews, editor of the Dickensian, journal of the Dickens Fellowship, Dickens originally thought of issuing a pamphlet, but chose to write "a holiday fable to highlight the callous indifference of the rich towards what should be their social responsibilities--the idea that we are all one family and should care for others."Because of the large number of performances, both in the evenings and during the day for school groups, there are teams of actors to accommodate their schedules and to allow them to play different parts to enhance their experience. Scrooge will be portrayed in all shows by Hedgerow veteran and perennial favorite Zoran Kovcic.

There are still a few dates available to book special performances for schools or other groups. To arrange a time, contact Group Sales Director Art Hunter at 610-565-4211.

Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday shows are $32. There is a $3 discount for seniors; tickets for students with valid ID and children under 18 are $15. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations, call 610-565-4211, or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre, America's First Repertory Theatre, is at 64 Rose Valley Road, in Rose Valley (near Media).

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