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Project: Scrooge (schools musical)

In 2019 it was my pleasure to work with Stephen Mannings of Liverpool Cathedral to create a new, semi-staged version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

Photo: Sue Mannings

Stephen wrote the music and lyrics, to which I added the book. The production was designed especially for a small cast of adults and a large cast of primary school children, from twelve schools across the Diocese of Liverpool.

As well as scripting the show, I stepped in to play the part of the Narrator and the Spirit of Christmas Present, pictured.

The cathedral subsequently published the script as Scrooge: A Musical for Schools, with accompanying resources such as backing tracks, making it available to schools for future productions.

As an enthusiast for the original Dickens novel (see my article Dickensian Gothic) I had long wanted to adapt the festive tale, and I’m open to adapting A Christmas Carol again for theatre and other media. Just get in touch.

Oral Roberts: Salesman for God

[Originally published on The Guardian‘s Comment is free in 2009]

Oral Roberts, who died on Wednesday, sold lonely women handkerchiefs to weep in and changed American Christianity

The late Oral Roberts was a healer, an exorcist, a preacher, a televangelism pioneer, an ecumenist and a cultural icon whose life and message united popular religion with the American Dream.

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How Liverpool’s Frontline church ‘struggles’ with homosexuality

[Originally published on The Guardian‘s Comment is free in 2011]

If you’re a Pentecostal or charismatic Christian in Merseyside, you’ll know that Frontline Church, in the Wavertree area of Liverpool, is pretty much the hip place to be. But a thought-provoking Guardian video report by John Harris last month reveals there’s more to Frontline than just trendy worship and dynamic preaching. Its volunteers are reaching out to sex workers, drug addicts and people in poverty, sometimes with traditional methods, such as food banks, and sometimes in quite progressive ways you might not expect from a conservative church, such as distributing condoms to prostitutes.

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Dracula’s Daughter: A Queer Monster Classic Turns 75

[Originally published on diaboliquemagazine.com in 2011]

The clunky execution of Tod Browning’s 1931 film Dracula is the elephant in the room as far as classic horror is concerned. Bela Lugosi impresses in the title role, certainly, and the movie has a handful of truly memorable moments, but most of it falls very flat. Viewed 80 years later, it is not so much a great film as a curiosity, notable for its seminal place in cinema history.

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Review: The Haunting of Hill House

An Invitation to Terror: The Haunting of Hill House Reviewed
Liverpool Playhouse, 7 December 2015-16 January 2016

While you might leave behind one or two of the wordier scenes and the occasionally convoluted machinations of the plot, the warped, surreal benightedness of The Haunting Of Hill House – a new commission for the stage from Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse — will almost certainly follow you out of the theatre.

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