Radiant’s Magical Christmas Grotto

by Kate Denkinson

Earlier this week I met with Sam Pomeroy, director and writer of the Effervescent theatrical Christmas Grotto. Ensconced in the studied quirkiness that is Rumpus Cosy he explained the premise and aims of the project.

Since beginning the project four years ago, Effervescent has strived to create a performance and gallery space that reflects the real experiences of children and young people in Plymouth. A place where professionals create art that is inspired by the lives and experiences of young people.

And that ethos is continued in the upcoming performance; drawing on influences and inspirations from their previous projects they will create an alternative Christmas Grotto. Telling a story with the child at its heart.

The story begins on a frosty Christmas eve, which also happened to be Baby Snow’s first Birthday. The inhabitants of the frozen forest have congregated to celebrate Baby Snow’s Birthday, but disaster strikes and we must come together to help save the day and save Christmas.

Radiant Christmas Grotto poster

Within the framework of the performance, Effervescent aim to tackle serious emotional issues whilst promoting a non-commercial celebration of the true spirit of Christmas. In keeping with this aesthetic, audience members will be invited to make themed art after the performance. Sam advised me that children will be encouraged to “make two and take one”, leaving one piece as a gift for someone else.

While discussing the place of the Christmas Grotto in Plymouth, Sam explained that the project would help to draw traffic towards the West End of town and would provide an alternative to the hyper-commerciality of the traditional ‘Expensive Photo with Santa’ scenario celebrated elsewhere. In fact, rather than Christmas being all about “what I hope to receive”, Radiant Grotto aims to present a Christmas based on giving and celebrating the invaluable time spent with family.

The performance schedule is manic. There will be eighteen ‘micro’ performances per day from when the grotto opens on Saturday 9th December. Each performance is twenty minutes long and tickets are available online. There will also be a limited number of tickets on the door, but the popularity of past performances has shown high demand.

Effervescent assure me that the performance is suitable for all ages and attendees are welcome to take photographs (No Santa Claus required).