Festive variety show goes online after Darley Dance Productions raise £10,000

A small production company is making big waves as they give a cinematic edge to their Christmas show which would normally take place in local venues.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 5:30 am
Performers at Derby Cathedral.
Performers at Derby Cathedral.

Darley Dance Productions has pulled itself back from the brink of going under after launching a crowd funder and raised enough money to put their production online. As yet the business has not been eligible for any of the big grants.

Abbi Burns, who owns the company, said: “We saw shows everywhere being cancelled and watched as our freelance performers slowly began to give up hope for work in 2020 and decided that we had to do something about it. I wasn’t ready to lose my business to a pandemic and I knew we just had to rethink our production.”

The Christmas Show is a festive variety show that is normally performed in Derbyshire venues but Abbi decided that the only chance they would have of putting the show on this year would be to put it online.

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In the autumn, Darley Dance Productions launched a crowd funder to raise £10,000 to produce the show, pay the performers and bring something magical to their audiences. They hit the target by the deadline of November 5.

The team then had just two weeks to turn the show around, sort out the various risk assessments and ways to shoot the show in a Covid safe way before filming began.

Abbi said: “We didn’t want to try and hide the fact that our show would feel different. We decided that we wanted to bring together theatre and film and shoot our show in different locations so our audiences could try to forget that they weren’t watching a live show and instead enjoy our film.

"People have seen static live streams of shows so we wanted to give our show a different feel. If we couldn’t perform live and we had to film then we thought we would turn this into a positive and use different locations.”

The Christmas Show Online launched on December 11 with nearly 100 homes all tuning in to watch the show on its opening night. People from all over the UK and even viewers from America tuned in.

Georgia Harris, musical director of the show, said: “The response has been amazing! We still can’t quite believe that we managed to get it done in the time frame that we had but we’re proud to be flying the flag for small production companies and we’re overwhelmed with the positive feedback.”

The Christmas Show Online is available until December 31. If you would like to watch the show then the cost of your ticket is entirely up to you! You can choose your ticket price on the Derby Live website at www.derbylive.co.uk

You can also get a link to the show by making a donation to the Darley Dance Productions crowd funder as they reach for their stretch target. Abbi said: “We are so grateful that we hit our initial target of £10k to put on our show and pay our performers but now we are looking to the future, to surviving past the pandemic and on to next Christmas.” Any donation, any size will get you the link to watch The Christmas Show Online.