A new musical featuring characters and places in Fernwood is reminding audiences of the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.
This Little Light, which premiers at the Belfry Theatre this weekend, is based on the short story by Hans Christian Andersen called The Little Match Girl. This Little Light takes place on Christmas Eve, when the community is preoccupied with the holidays. A young girl, shivering and cold, suddenly appears trying to sell matches. People continue to ignore her, so the girl lights the matches to warm herself and in their glow she sees visions of the holidays.
Creators Erin Macklem and Brad L’Écuyer, who have spent the past few years working on the production, have set the musical in modern-day Fernwood, and feature local spots such as the Fernwood Square, gazebo, the Cornerstone Cafe and the Fernwood Inn.
A number of well-known community characters such as Mr. Kilt, representing Steve from Freedom Kilts and Miss. Barista, who works at the coffee shop, have been incorporated into the musical. Each performance will also include a special guest from the community, as well as musical performances by students from George Jay Elementary, Central Middle and Victoria High schools.
For L’Écuyer, the composer and music director who wrote the 10 original songs for the musical, it was important to highlight the sense of community that exists in the Victoria neighbourhood.
“We really wanted it to have a community feeling. It’s definitely a sort of Christmas gift to Fernwood and to our Victoria audiences,” he said.
Jesse Deutscher, a student with the Canadian College of Performing Arts’ Company C Studio, will be playing the Little Match Girl.
“She has so much heart to her and she goes through so much. The hardships are terrible, but she just believes that singing can make your day brighter and that music really brings people together in a community,” Deutscher said, adding she’s excited to make her upcoming debut on the Belfry stage.
“Around this time of year, people get really caught up with the materialism of the season. Who am I going to buy presents for and how am I going to decorate the tree when really all of that is pretty arbitrary. The message that we want to give is that giving is the most important thing this time of year and we really have to look out for everyone in our community.”
This Little Light runs from Dec. 10 to 23. Tickets are $10 for students and $22 for adults, and can be purchased at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca.
For more information visit belfry.bc.ca.