Frank Capra’s classic It’s A Wonderful Life to charm East Rising Theatre this Xmas

Nostalgia and whimsy is set to engulf the East Riding Theatre this Christmas with a new production of Frank Capra’s enchanting classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Frequently voted as the best-ever Christmas movie, this heart-warming story follows the fortunes of George Bailey, a small-town clerk facing financial ruin who wonders if his town would be better off without him.

Somewhere in the stars, however, an apprentice angel needs to save a soul to win her wings. Could this be a match made in heaven?

Making his ERT directorial debut will be Jake Smith, who has worked at The National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and is currently a resident director at the Almeida.

Jake said, “I am delighted to be directing It’s a Wonderful Life. The spirit of ERT is one of community, so what better production to present this Christmas than a story about the importance of community, the value of humanity and the true meaning of Christmas?

“I am re-imaging the classic Christmas movie for the stage with a cast of 12 actors set in its original period of 1946 America.

“It will feature dance, originally composed music, magic and sparkle and some surprises!”

The 12 strong cast features ERT favourites Clive Kneller and Richard Avery while Andrew Joshi and Harriet Benson make their ERT debut.

Andrew follows in the footsteps of James Stewart in the role of George Bailey and Harriet taking on the role of Clarence the Angel.

Adrian Rawlins, artistic director at ERT, said: “It’s always a privilege to be able to encourage young talent so I am thrilled to welcome up-and-coming young director Jake Smith to direct this year’s Christmas show.

“What struck me about Jake when I first met him was his absolute love for what he does. His enthusiasm is infectious.

“He’s got some very exciting ideas for It’s a Wonderful Life which have inspired a wonderful set design from Ed Ullyart and he’s assembled a fantastic cast.

“I can’t wait to see how one of my all-time favourite films is brought to life on the ERT stage.”

Full cast: Andrew Joshi, Eliza Hewitt-Jones, Harriet Benson, Richard Avery, Clive Kneller, Rob Hamilton, Maiya Clucas, Roxanne Waite, Conor Murphy, Louis Bakhsh, Joe Heatley, Daisy Waite.

Ensemble: Laurence Ellerker, Clive Kneller, Laura Peterson.

It’s a Wonderful Life runs at East Riding Theatre, Beverley, from December 14 until January 6.

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