Free audio tale from Scrooge & co

With no pantos on the cards in the Borders this year, a group of young Borderers have conspired to bring one of the most loved Christmas stories into your homes.

Harry Robertson from Kelso, who plays Bob Cratchit.
Harry Robertson from Kelso, who plays Bob Cratchit.

Scrooge is the meanest businessman in Kelso in a modern update of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the most ambitious online performance yet by the Borders Youth Theatre.

A 30-strong cast of young performers have overcome the problems of Covid-19 restrictions to create A Borders Christmas Carol, which will be available to stream – for free – from 7pm on Friday, December 11, via its website

Donations to support this and future activities will be gratefully received – check the website for information on how to donate.

Charlie Marshall from Hawick who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Described as festive, funny and freaky, the online audio drama promises to be a real treat for the whole family.

Directed by Jordanna O’Neill, the show features an original score and script by award-winning writer and composer John Kielty.

Taking the role of the ghost of Christmas Present is Hawick’s Charlie Marshall, who made a name for himself during lockdown with his “Charlie’s Choons” page on Facebook.

He said: “Obviously it’s been a difficult year for us all and I think this project has really lifted our spirits up a lot.

Lewis Teckkam from Hawick, who plays The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be.

“It’s been really enjoyable one and a great experience for young folk who want to progress to do theatre in the future which is fantastic.”

Lewis Teckkam from Hawick, who plays The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be, added: “The online workshops and activities have been a lifesaver for me, helping me feel less isolated and anxious. Dickens is one of my favourite authors and A Christmas Carol is a magical story that never fades with retelling.”

Harry Robertson from Kelso, who plays Bob Cratchit said: “I’ve been part of BordersYouth Theatre for the last six years and what a godsend it has been during these last few months.

“Being involved with A Borders Christmas Carol has been great fun from start to finish. It’s funny, it’s exciting, it’s mysterious and I hope everyone enjoys listening to it as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.”

Lukca Best from Yarrow, who plays Scrooge.

And young Lukca Best from Yarrow, who plays Scrooge, told us: “It’s been a pleasure rehearsing A Borders Christmas Carol with a group that all express so much character through their voices.

“Anyone missing theatre trips at the moment will find this a delightful alternative to enjoy from home during the holidays.”

Director O’Neill said: “It has been a real joy developing this project with the incredibly talented Borders Youth Theatre participants.

“Due to the lengthy pandemic restrictions, we have had to rehearse and record completely online. The young participants have risen to every challenge to bring you this festive audio treat.”

Founded in 1989, Borders Youth Theatre is dedicated to providing high-quality skills development; drama training and performance opportunities in the Borders for children and young people aged 8 to 25.

The initiative is a registered Scottish Charity run by volunteers who contract experienced qualified professionals to deliver the workshop and project programme.