How is Christmas portrayed in theatre?

Why wouldn't you love Christmas? Time united as a family, a chance to find romance under the mistletoe, snow falling outside as you wrap yourself up with a hot chocolate and Miracle on 34th Street.

How is Christmas portrayed in theatre?

But is Christmas really that simple or is it just that we've come to expect this?

Before I go on, I feel I need to point out I am a great lover of Christmas. My mother would say I'm obsessed. However, for the next few minutes I am going to be realistic. Christmas isn't always what we anticipate it to be. It's full of stressful last minute shopping, a family argument over whose fault it is the turkey is burnt - and if you're like me, the horrible feeling that this is another year spent without a boyfriend. So where do we get these great expectations from?

'A Christmas Carol' highlights the importance of sharing without the expectation of getting; spending time with the people you love and care for and being generous with what you have, no matter how much (or how little) that might be. The one character who does not align with these ideals is Scrooge. Scrooge is made out to be a monster, the 'bad guy' if you will, because of his greed and love of material things. In contrast, Bob Cratchit and his family share what little they have, showing kindness to the community and even to Scrooge himself. They do not expect anything in return. The Cratchits are a family who come together over the Christmas period to enjoy each other's company. All too easily, we can assume that we are the Cratchits – the 'do-gooders' who share and care – but in reality, we can often lose sight of things and behave a lot more like Scrooge. Family becomes unimportant unless they bring something for you to unwrap.

However, these aren't the only things we have come to expect from our Christmas season. 'The Nutcracker' tells the story of an unlikely love between a girl and her toy nutcracker. A bit uncovential, but this Christmas favourite clearly encourages the theme of love at Christmas. Our hearts melt as we watch the nutcracker and Clara fight together against adversity. We want this same passion and romance in our Christmas; kissing under the mistletoe, holding hands whilst singing carols on christmas eve. We want to be in love!

But should we not have these expectations? Shouldn't we be able to believe that our Christmas can live up to what we see at the theatre? Is it a change we need to make in ourselves or do we need to be more realistic about Christmas? I know even after writing this article that I will expect all my christmas wishes to come true but I am also not naive in thinking it will all be as expected.


Elspeth Barron

Elspeth Barron

Elspeth started in the Arts Industry as part of a Creative Apprenticeship scheme. She is Learning, Education & Participation Officer at Chichester Festival Theatre after working 3 & 1/2 years in various positions at Artswork. During her year she also became a trained Arts Award Adviser for Discover to Silver and started her own Silver award whilst also running an Arts Award project for young girls with low self-esteem.

She volunteered as a 16- 25 Ambassador and Youth Theatre Assistant for Chichester Festival Theatre for 2 years after spending 6 years in the Youth Theatre herself. She recently was asked to be part of a panel with Lenny Henry talking about routes into the industry. She has also recently become Trustee of Making Space, a local crafts organisation.

Elspeth has been involved in the arts from a young age performing in many school and semi-professional productions and founding a drama workshop group for primary school children. She was also given the opportunity to become a founding member of a small events company, MADD Productions. This is where she found her passion for community arts and decided to pursue a career in the arts sector.

Elspeth is currently using her spare time to write a play with her younger brother and has started her own weekly vlog, ‘To My Future Self’ on her YouTube channel ElspethRebecca.


She loves good coffee, spending time with friends, playing her ukulele and watching lots of theatre!

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