The ever popular Christmas Festivals return to six of the UK’s iconic venues this December, hosting an array of classical and festive spectaculars.
The venues include London’s Royal Albert Hall and Barbican Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.
Ahead of the exciting season, we met up with Welsh actor, television director and writer Christopher Timothy, who is the reader for the Royal Albert Hall and Symphony Hall performances of Carols by Candlelight.
Describe Carols by Candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall?
“It is a wonderful celebration of Christmas which I really enjoyed being part of for the first time last year. People love to sing carols in the magical and magnificent splendour of the Royal Albert Hall and they find it really jolly and seasonal! People also enjoy the twinkling effects from the candle-lit style setting. Just like many, I savour the warm feeling that Christmas gives you (hence why people feel nostalgic towards a Victorian Christmas and the American Christmas of films such as It’s a Wonderful Life) and that is the feeling you get from Carols by Candlelight.”
You read from a number of much loved pieces during the course of the concert. Which is your favourite and why?
“I get to read from a number of pieces but as a life long fan of Charles Dickens, I particularly enjoy reading from A Christmas Carol. I have always enjoyed A Christmas Carol, including the black and white 1950’s film starring Alistair Sim. It really is the most beautiful, touching story. It is sentimental, but what’s wrong with that?!”
The Royal Albert Hall is an iconic concert hall. What was the first concert or event you attended there?
“Do you know, the first event I attended at the Royal Albert Hall was a boxing tournament in the late 1940’s – it must have been 1948 or 1949 and was a youth match. I think it may have been England vs Ireland – but it was a while ago now!”
You have enjoyed an illustrious career. Which has been favourite role to play during your acting career?
“I really enjoyed being part of The York Mystery Plays, where I played Jesus. I am not a regular practising Christian and at the time, the fact that I was playing Jesus drew a degree of adverse criticism. However, there was something wonderful about the commitment of the 300 amateur actors who were also taking part and it is something that I wouldn’t have missed for the world!”
How do you like to spend Christmas when you are not performing?
“I have to say I enjoy a fairly quiet Christmas with the people I care about the most and good food and red wine.”
You can join Christopher for Carols by Candlelight at Royal Albert Hall between 19 – 24 December or at Symphony Hall Birmingham on 22 December.
For full listings at all six Christmas Festivals, follow the links below: