Get out your garlic for The Court Youth Company’s delightfully frightening end-of-year performance, Children of the Night.
The Arts Centre is being turned into Castle Dracula as The Court Theatre’s young performers immerse audiences in a thrilling adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula this December.
Directed by Dan Bain, the co-creator of the original Christchurch Ghost Walk, Children of the Night showcases both The Arts Centre’s hidden nooks and crannies and The Court’s upcoming talents in this interactive theatrical experience.
“Audiences can expect to be taken on a journey, see some parts of The Arts Centre they might not have seen and experience a youthful take on a classic,” says Programmes Manager (Education, Training and Jesters) Rachel Sears, who oversees The Court Youth Company.
Children of the Night is the company’s final performance together, exhibiting the skills of 21 young performers aged 17 – 21 who have spent the year honing their theatrical abilities at The Court Theatre under the tutelage of a range of theatrical practitioners.
“We wanted to try the genre of immersive horror with a group of young people who we thought would give it loads of energy and a fresh perspective,” says Sears. “We thought the tale of Dracula would be a great story to adapt but wanted to make it slightly different. So, in Children of the Night, audiences will follow different characters in a journey around The Arts Centre.”
Bain says that promenade-style Children of the Night will invite its participants to get involved with the action.
“The audience will be asked to contribute to the success of the story. They’ll be asked to do various things to help the characters or to protect themselves from vampire attack…”
His inspiration for the show came from previous experience running a similarly spooky ghost tour at The Arts Centre.
“I wanted to build a haunted walk, which I’ve done in the past– and which there’s a demand for. So, I thought maybe I would revisit my ghost tour origin story and now I’m back in The Arts Centre getting people to jump out of cupboards at people,” he laughs.
Beyond simply performing the show, The Court Youth Company are devising the story people will see play out in Children of the Night.
“Devising means working together to create original theatre,” Sears says. “It's not improv - it's still rehearsed - but it is created from the people in the room working together, rather than a playwright writing a script and the actors then interpreting that.”
Each performer will have a character (or two!) that audiences will find roaming around The Arts Centre, with Bain saying, “the audience is guided through the experience by Dracula characters Jonathan, Mina Harker and Abraham van Helsen who, along the way, meet a bunch of characters from the narrative in a spooky but fun experience.”
Children of the Night runs for three nights only, but despite its limited season, Bain is excited for this show to be bringing a bit of supernatural fun back to The Arts Centre.
“The original Ghost Tour ran for around three years at The Arts Centre and it was in Lonely Planet for things you have to do in Christchurch. So, I think the idea of something going back - even if for only a short-term basis - is an ongoing sign of the recovery of that space and the city as a whole.”
Warnings: Children of the Night travels around The Arts Centre, with numerous flights of stairs. It isn’t wheelchair accessible or recommended for anyone with heart conditions or other health problems that may be exacerbated by climbing and/or sudden frights.