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This Christmas, Io Theatre Company will be bringing their magical stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol to the Cheltenham Playhouse. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who hates Christmas. However, he is visited by three ghosts one Christmas Eve, who take him on a journey to teach him a lesson he won’t forget!

Our stage version, full of live music and colourful characters, is guaranteed to make you laugh, gasp and (just occasionally) jump with fright! There are songs, mystery and magic for you, your family and your friends to enjoy. To make it all the more fun, we’ve got some competitions you can enter, with very special prizes…



 Can you imagine what it would be like to come face to face with a Ghost? Ebenezer Scrooge certainly couldn’t – in fact, when he met the Ghost of his old workmate, Jacob Marley, he thought he was imagining it because of something he had eaten!

Here’s how Charles Dickens describes the encounter:

 The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound, and then Scrooge heard the noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.

Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried, “I know him! Marley’s Ghost!” and fell again.

The same face: the very same. Marley in his usual waistcoat, tights, and boots. His body was transparent; so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the two buttons on his coat behind.

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.

“I don’t,” said Scrooge.

“Why do you doubt your senses?”

“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.”

We want you to tell us a story about meeting a ghost yourself – you might want to write about what the ghost looks like, or how you react to it, or the conversation you have with it!

The winning entry and three runners up will be read by the cast of A Christmas Carol after the matinee performance on 31st December. The winner will receive prizes including: a £15 voucher donated by The Entertainer, a copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol donated by Courtyard Books and a show poster signed by the cast. There will also be runner-up prizes.



Aged 7-12 and feeling arty? We want you to create your own picture of one of the three Ghosts who visit Scrooge. Will you show us the mysterious Ghost of Christmas Past, the jolly Ghost of Christmas Present, or the terrifying Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? To help you decide, here’s how Charles Dickens describes them:


It was a strange figure – like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man. Its hair, which hung about its neck and down its back, was white as if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it. It wore a tunic of the purest white and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. But the strangest thing about it was, that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light.


It was clothed in one simple green robe, bordered with white fur. On its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath, set here and there with shining icicles. Its dark brown curls were long and free: free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air.


The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. It was tall and stately when it came beside him, and its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread.

All entries will be displayed at the Cheltenham Playhouse and on a special gallery on our website. The winner will receive prizes including: their artwork turned into a poster for them to keep donated by Mail Boxes Etc, a book and DVD on drawing donated by The Works, a show poster signed by the cast and a copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol donated by Courtyard Books. There will also be runner-up prizes.



To enter you must be aged between 7 and 12 years old on 1 January 2015. Winners will be announced on Tuesday 30th December and invited to a presentation at the Playhouse after the matinee on Wednesday 31st December.

Entry forms can be downloaded here, or you can pick one up from the foyer of The Playhouse.

A Christmas Carol Writing Competition Entry Form

A Christmas Carol Art Competition Entry Form

Send completed entries, with entry form, to: A Christmas Carol Competition, The Playhouse Theatre, Bath Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7HG, or drop it off at the box office during opening hours. Please make sure your name is on the entry as well as the entry form!