Elf here reporting for duty! (Although my Mum still calls me George!) And I am happy to report that Team Harry are back on the road with our objective in sight! The mission? To spread the Christmas cheer, of course! After a few days of rest, we were back with a vengeance and delighted to bring our show back to our very first stop; Chailey Heritage. So start your boomboxes, whip out your very best Eminem impression, and start the music!
Guess who’s back... Back, again? Benson’s back, WITH HIS FRIENDS!
Chailey Heritage Part 2
You better believe it: Team Harry were lucky enough during our tour to return to the wonderful Chailey Heritage as they were enjoying their ‘Holiday Club’ and the festivities were in such a swing that even our monkey character Maurice would have been jealous. As a team, we had just had an extremely rewarding stretch covering eight different hospices, followed by a three day rest (and a perfect opportunity for Christmas shopping). Entering into Chailey, not only did we feel refreshed and raring to go, but their festive cheer lifted us even higher as we were greeted by faces both familiar and new.
With a nice large audience and a big open space, we were able to let our show really flex it’s muscles, and it was absolutely incredible to see the multitude of reactions that we generate through Benson’s blundering yet brilliant adventure.
Little Bridge House, Richard House and a team-building car journey...
Next stop on the way was our longest road trip of the tour yet: Barnstaple! And, at this point, I must make a huge thank you to our very own Queen of Organisation, our Terrific Team Leader, and our Driver Supreme: Katie Hecht. [Insert Applause Here...] Who admirably drove us 6 hours there AND back. Also, a special mention to the equally wonderful Lisa Austin for keeping Katie company during the trip, as I can only be favourably mentioned for not snoring as I slept! (Although was roused once by an impressive duet of Rick Astley’s iconic “Never gonna give you up!” from the front seats!) Although I could perhaps be seen as being negative about the travel here, in fact, and I know I speak for Team Harry on this one, it is such a priviledge and a pleasure for us to take Benson and his adventures as far out as we can possibly go.
As a charity, it is our ultimate goal to reach as many of the Children’s Hospices as will allow us through their doors, and for the exceptional children - and of course the incomparable carers - of Little Bridge House and Richard House Hospice, it was worth every mile. Welcomed from the end of each journey with hot cups of tea, my Northern Soul was immediately comforted, and we had a wonderful time as ever bringing our show to Barnstaple and back again. With the kindness and Christmas love flowing all around, these shows gave us a brilliant send off as we would head to our respective homes for Christmas (SPOILER ALERT: Let’s just hope we take better care of our letter than Benson does with his!)
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Helen House Hospice!
The halls had been decked, and it was indeed the season to be Jolly, as our team returned after Christmas in high spirits and were eager to put the cherry on top of what had been an utterly incredible tour so far. And what had Santa gotten Team Harry for Christmas, I hear you ask!? Well... it was only another cast member!!! That’s right! Lisa was unfortunately unable to join us over at Helen House Hospice, so we called in the cavalry, and were gifted with the marvellous Sue Appleby from our doppelgangers over at Team Benson. And thus, as we so affectionately refer to it, Team Barry was given the green light! (and the red tinsel). As fun as it always is to welcome a new actor into the mix, our show went incredibly well, and the warm, wonderful staff and residents of Helen House welcomed us back into the magic of the show with as much elation as we did.
The Grand Finale
I’m afraid it’s time to start playing that violin music, as we had only one more place left to go on our journey! Naomi House Hospice! This was to be our final performance for Christmas For Kids this year, and all three of us had had the most incredible experience taking Benson, Harry and the gang along with us on our very own Christmas adventure. With the return of Lisa, we were at full strength for Team Harry’s finale, and despite our woe at not being able to carry on the show for longer, we were determined that this would be our best show yet! The energy and excitement from Christmas Day was definitely still in the air in Winchester, and we had a cracking time celebrating the festive cheer with all of them!
I might have just a few more things to mention! ;)
As brilliant as it is for me to write about these final five shows, with the tour at its end I find myself reflecting on all the shows, right from the very beginning in Chailey and all the way to now. Personally, from a performer’s perspective, the experience as a whole has been one of the most incredible opportunities I’ve had. Not only for the experience of joy and humour encouraged from our audiences, not only for the staff who work at each hospice we’ve visited (who by the way are the closest things to superheroes I’ve ever met) but also each and every child we met, who display more courage, joy and kindness in five minutes than I could possibly hope to achieve in a lifetime.
A HUGE thank you to each and every hospice that welcomed us through their doors and made us feel a part of the family, and I wish you all a wonderful New Year!
Thanks for reading!