The actor Julie Hesmondalgh, best known for her Coronation Street role as Hayley Cropper, is to introduce a free big screen showing of The Snowman – complete with 26 piece live orchestra – at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on 11 December. She says:
“I’m delighted to be attending the performance of the Snowman at the Children’s Hospital this year. What a wonderful way to get ready for the festive period: listening to a beautiful live score to my favourite Christmas film, and appreciating in a very real way how lucky we are to have this fantastic hospital in our great city.”
The hospital audience will have the thrilling experience of seeing and hearing a live professional orchestra, made up of musicians hand-picked from leading orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish amongst others, play for the film.
They will also have the chance to hear two local young singers perform important solos. Seven year old Tilly Wilkinson will sing Walking in the Air, the song that lies at the heart of The Snowman. Kiera McClelland, 18, gets to sing Cinderella Close Your Eyes from the other major item on the programme, a brand new re-telling of Cinderella, with music by Daniel Whibley, narration by actor Howard Chadwick, and specially commissioned images by Jacky Fleming.
The performance is being organised for the second year running as part of Carrot Productions’ annual Snowman Tour. Managing Director Rachel Whibley sees this very special event as a way of repaying the support the Hospital has given her Down’s Syndrome son, Patrick (13) over the years. Rachel explains why this performance is so important to her:
“This project is very close to my own heart. We are regular visitors to the hospital as Patrick attends many appointments there and has stayed overnight on numerous occasions. The level of commitment and dedication shown by all the staff on each and every occasion has been truly humbling.
As I have witnessed the profound effect our concert has on children of all ages – they find it a truly magical and life-affirming experience – I am thrilled to be able to share it, as a way of saying thank you. And we are thrilled that this year Julie is joining us for this wonderful occasion, too.”
The screening at the hospital on 11 December is open and free of charge to all children staying in the hospital. Those stable enough to be moved will be brought to the performance space by staff and volunteers. Children with chronic conditions who visit the hospital on a regular basis, will also be invited, along with their families.
At the end of the performance each child will be invited to speak to the musicians, look at the various instruments, and have a cuddle and their picture taken with Carrot Productions’ very own Snowman, plus another official snowman too! Double the cuddles!
Organisations whose generosity is making this charitable performance possible include The Oglesby Charitable Trust, which is giving financial support, and Penguin Books Limited and Music Sales Limited, who have granted the rights to use the film and music freely to Carrot Productions for this occasion.