Five minutes with… Rachel Whibley of Carrot Productions

Published: Thursday 1st December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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Carrot Productions are set to bring Raymond Briggs’ timeless classic The Snowman to life at Hull City Hall on Wednesday 14 December. We caught up with Rachel Whibley, Managing Director, to find out what’s in store for audiences.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what Carrot Productions does?

We put on performances of The Snowman with a live professional orchestra. Now in our fourth year, we’ve gone from humble beginnings to touring around the country, with 30 performances in December alone.

We have 26 musicians in the orchestra – I think the percussion take up half of the space. We have a huge array or percussion instruments. We also have a harp and celeste, and of course the grand piano.

How did you come up with the idea?

I’m a professional musician myself and I performed a similar show in Dublin years ago. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and wanted to recreate it in my hometown, Glossop.

I didn’t have any intention of making it go any further, but the outpouring of affection for it was so great. People were begging for us to perform again and it has just grown and grown since then.

Next year, for instance, we are performing at Chester Cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral, York Minster, Coventry Cathedral, and of course Hull! We get to play at some really beautiful places; it’s just wonderful.

It definitely sounds like a treat. The Snowman is such an iconic film for many children and grown-ups alike, how have you managed to captivate your wide audience?

All of our musicians are handpicked and play regularly with major orchestras such as BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. We’ve chosen them for their incredible music skills, but also for their ability to interact so well with children. They don’t sit on their platform looking po-faced or bored.

One of the things I hope to do is break down barriers between classical music and young people. Many presume that all classical music concerts are very serious, and that you can’t talk or make a noise. This definitely isn’t the case with us. Most of the time half of our audience is made up of children. The show is just so lively and responsive.

The Hull audience in particular is good at getting involved. I’m not just saying that either, there’s definitely something about the people in Hull, they’re full of life.

orchestra

Without revealing any potential spoilers, what can the audience expect from your show?

The film itself is only 30 minutes long, so we fill the rest of our performance with other lovely surprises. Last year, we started off with a Christmas overture and guide to the orchestra, which really helped young children and those new to classical music identify each instrument and their sounds.

This year we’re doing the story of Cinderella. We’ve filmed an actor narrating the story and interspersed it with stunning illustrations. Meanwhile, the orchestra plays the commissioned music. It’s just fantastic.

And of course, we finally have the film – usually you can hear a pin drop, it is so powerful.

What’s your favourite part about putting on the show?

It’s just so joyful. The response we get from audience members, of all ages, is really spectacular – it’s wonderful.

In a few words, why should people come out to see Carrot Productions’ The Snowman with Live Orchestra?

There’s something about the live music with an iconic film that is really moving. It’s appealing to all ages – we quite often have huge groups of adults coming. They remember it from their childhood. It’s absolutely magical.

The Snowman with Live Orchestra will be performed at 1:30pm and 7pm on Wednesday 14 December at Hull City Hall. Tickets are £18 and discounts are available. For the box office, please call 01482 300300 or book online.

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Published: Thursday 1st December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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