One of the stars of Winter Fantasia, the first of MRU Conservatory’s two holiday shows, is familiar to many. Straight from the storybooks, it’s that duffle-coat-wearing, marmalade-sandwich-craving bear named Paddington.
Michael Bond’s beloved character will be brought to life by four senior MRU Conservatory Speech Arts and Drama students. The tale of Paddington’s Christmas was adapted for stage by program coordinator Jennifer Orr. “Who doesn’t love Paddington,” she says. “His appeal is his sweetness, curiosity, spirit of adventure…and all the misadventures that spring from those qualities.”
The narrative seems like a perfect fit for a concert featuring the music of MRU Choirs Arietta, Arioso and the Calgary Boys Choir along with the Conservatory Strings performers. “It takes us through pre-Christmas planning at the Brown household. There are a few bumps for Paddington,” she mentions which are fine plot point for some musical accompaniment, but she assures, “Paddington comes out of the celebrations feeling lucky to be a bear.”
All four of the Speech Arts performers are excited to bring this tale to an audience, especially in the new Bella Concert Hall. “They are thrilled at the opportunity to try out the Bella,” Orr explains, and adds that this theatrical component provides some wonderful scope for imagination, “all of them are in high school, so they are loving the chance to step back into a children’s story.”
Undoubtedly, the all-ages audience at the Bella on Dec. 6th will be in full agreement.