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Chocolate-inspired play takes to Beverley streets

Beverley’s White Rabbit Chocolatiers has joined forces with the all-female theatre company She Productions  to run an Easter “Eggstravaganza” of family entertainment.

They are working together on an all-original musical play created by She director Annie Kirkman called “Alice’s Eggstravaganza in Wonderland”. The production will include a walk through Beverley from the East Riding Theatre  in Lord Roberts Road to White Rabbit’s Dyer Lane shop.

Annie Kirkman, of She Productions, with Ed Hawkes, co-owner of White Rabbit

Ed Hawkes, co-owner of White Rabbit, said the event is all part of his family’s aim of building an imaginative experience around chocolate, that brings families and the wider community together. “Even more so than Christmas, Easter is probably the time for celebrating with chocolate,” he said.

“Easter eggs and other characters are all part of the magic of this special festival which also marks the imminent arrival of spring, and so we thought partnering with She Productions again was a great way to celebrate fabulous food and entertainment in one go.

“And of course, we particularly love the way our own white rabbit emblem – which is inspired both by the sculpture in Beverley’s St Mary’s church and a little by the magical tale of Alice, features centre stage!”

Based on the classic “Alice in Wonderland” story, their version involves a mischievous white rabbit and a protagonist called Alice, with bags of audience participation. Aimed at families, attendees are invited to get involved in helping Alice bring the naughty bunny in line. And the dramatised tale even includes a specially-written song about White Rabbit’s chocolate shop.

The performance promises to be quite a spectacle too. Classed as a “promenade piece”, it involves cast and audience members parading from East Riding Theatre to the White Rabbit Chocolatiers shop and café on Dyer Lane, where the children will receive a chocolate treat and, on the Friday and Saturday show days, will also have the chance to take part in a chocolate egg-decorating workshop.

Alice will be played by Grace Christiansen, a local singer-songwriter who has also worked with the John Godber Theatre Company. “Both our organisations are passionate about helping to put Beverley on the map and bring visitors to the town and surrounding area, and we’re really hoping that our show will add to the Easter weekend ambiance, said writer and She Productions’ executive producer Annie Kirkman.

“It’s the second year that we’ve created a play with White Rabbit Chocolatiers. The 2017 event was sponsored by Beverley Racecourse and staged on that site, and we’re extremely grateful to them to helping us get it off the ground. This year we’re bringing it into the town centre and are hoping it’ll be even bigger and better.

“We’ve also tried to make it as accessible as possible and give it real family appeal, to attract people who might not normally consider attending the theatre, and encourage kids to experience the thrill of live performance and leave their phones and iPads at home.”

Performance dates for Alice’s Eggstravaganza in Wonderland are: Wednesday 28 March, 11am and 2pm; Thursday 29 March, 11am and 2pm; Monday 2 April, 2pm; Friday 30 March, 2pm and Saturday 31 March, 2pm. Tickets cost £5 per child and £6 per adult, apart from the March 30 and 31 performances, which cost £6.50 per child and £7.50 per adult and include a limited edition White Rabbit Chocolatiers’ egg decorating workshop.

Tickets are available from East Riding Theatre, in person from the box office, by emailing www.ert.co.uk or calling (01482) 874050.