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Horrible Christmas at The Old Rep Theatre

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by John Burns (subscribe)
I am a writer and teacher, out and about in the world but with Nottingham never far from my heart.
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The best and the worst of Christmas, past and present
Few people have contributed more to the historical education of kids in Britain than Terry Deary. The son of a Sunderland butcher, Deary excelled at writing during his school years, eventually becoming an actor, playwright and children's novelist.

In 1993, the first of the Horrible Histories books – "Awful Egyptians" and "Terrible Tudors" – appeared, and the rest is… er… history. In total, 35 Horrible Histories books have been released, as well as many special one-off books, activity books, TV shows and fact-based fiction volumes.

This Christmas, the Horrible Histories series will be brought to life on the stage at The Old Rep theatre in Birmingham. It's not the first time the series has received an update for the stage; the dramatized version of The Mad Millenium toured theatres back in 1999 and since then eight other Horrible Histories stage productions have appeared. Horrible Christmas marks the tenth dramatic outing for the series.

The Old Rep theatre, Birmingham

The play tells the tale of a group of children who witness the theft of their Christmas presents at the hands of an overweight old man with bushy white facial hair. One child sets off in pursuit of the thief, and finds himself exploring the meaning of Christmas on a journey back through history.

Those in search of a sugary festive experience are probably looking in the wrong place. What Horrible Christmas does promise to provide is a fun, wry but sometimes poignant look at the development of our most important holiday.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Anne Cuthbertson described her experience of watching a Horrible Histories production with her eight-year-old;

"It satisfied both my son's thirst for giggle-inducing gore and my hope that it would be more than just burp jokes," she wrote. "I learned more than I expected, and I am a history graduate."

Horrible Christmas begins on November 13th 2014 and runs until January 17th 2015. Maybe this festive period it is time to put the pantomime on hold and take part in a fun, fascinating and sometimes foul history lesson for all the family!

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Why? Be entertained and broaden your mind at the same time
When: 10am and 1:30pm Mon - Fri; 2:30pm and 6:30pm Saturday
Phone: 0121 245 4455
Where: The Old Rep Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham
Cost: £19.50
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