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Christmas Revels go from stage to screen with pandemic-friendly film

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    No Strings Marionette Company created a puppet to resemble Revels founder John Langstaff. The puppet will be included in a short film titled "The Christmas Revels: All Shall Be Well Again." (Courtesy of Revels North) Courtesy of Revels North

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/12/2020 9:43:44 PM
Modified: 11/12/2020 9:43:37 PM

HANOVER — Instead of taking to the stage, the Christmas Revels are taking to the airwaves for their 46th year.

A 17-minute film titled The Christmas Revels: All Shall Be Well Again will be available to stream for free online beginning Nov. 20 and to watch on CATV beginning Thanksgiving Day. It will be followed by a recorded version of last year’s Christmas Revels show, which took place at the Lebanon Opera House after years of being performed at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

“It felt important to us to stick with our mission, which is to bring joy and light to the darkest time of the year, and the whole year has been full of darkness for a lot of people,” Revels North Executive Director Brian Cook said. “The message every year with the Winter Solstice is the Winter Solstice is always the darkest day and the light comes back after, and we see great symbolism with that this year. We like to spread hope.”

The film cost around $40,000 to put together and was funded mainly through donations and grants. Revels work with SALT, a nonprofit film production firm in New Hampshire and the Randolph-based No Strings Marionette Company, which created a puppet resembling John Langstaff, the late Revels founder.

“It was really a priority for us to find New Hampshire and Vermont partners to work with us on this,” Cook said. “By May it was pretty clear that a return to the stage this year was unlikely, but we tried to come up with an alternative that would be safe and exciting and once we started talking about animation, it really got the creative juices flowing.”

While Revels North holds different events throughout the year including a Summer Solstice celebration, the “big source of revenue” for the nonprofit organization comes from ticket sales to the annual Christmas Revels performances.

“A lot of us are having a tough time this year so any continued support we can receive this year would be great, but still it really felt important to us to make the film available for free to the community because we know were not the only ones who have been challenged this year,” Cook said. “It’s our gift to the community and we’re hoping others will respond by supporting us, those who can.”

Cook is also hoping the film will serve as introduction to people who have not attended a Christmas Revels performance in the past.

“It’s really exciting to know that, even though we can’t do the live production this year, there clearly is a community that cares about our organization’s role in the Upper Valley and our role in the holidays, and that people are willing to sort of stick with us while we try this different approach is really humbling,” Cook said.

Editor’s note: For more information about “The Christmas Revels: All Shall Be Well Again,” visit revelsnorth.org.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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