Chapterhouse brings classic stories to life for Christmas

Chapterhouse Theatre Company has been touring the length of the UK since 2000 when they put on an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. 11 years later, they have become “one of the most successful and acclaimed touring companies in the country”.


Laura Turner has adapted scripts for this year's productions of Cranford at Christmas and A Christmas Carol. Photo: Chapterhouse Theatre Company

Laura Turner, resident scriptwriter at Chapterhouse, joined the company five years ago and has had the opportunity to adapt some iconic scripts as well as writing her own from scratch for Eastenders spin-off E20.

“I got my first opportunity with Chapterhouse whilst I was in my first year at university.  It kind of just went from there really. I’ve just been really lucky to keep finding opportunities and getting little bits of work so that I can keep going as a script writer and make a full-time career out of it. But it is one of those things where you have to have a day job as well so you actually have enough money to live!” Turner explained.

The two plays that Chapterhouse are putting on over the winter are Cranford at Christmas and A Christmas Carol, both of which are classics. There are different reasons why these two stories were chosen but Turner had fun adapting them in her own way.

“We wanted to tour A Christmas Carol because it just captures the spirit of Christmas so much. But with Cranford, which is the new Christmas tour for this year, it was a little bit different because we have toured Cranford over the summer months and this is a kind of follow-up to Cranford,” said Turner.

“It was just a bit of fun really for me to be able to use those characters that I’ve written for already and put them in funny situations for Christmas which is what Cranford lends itself so well to,” she went on to explain.

Having adapted scripts for a few years, Turner recently got the opportunity to write a script for an episode of Eastenders spin-off E20. “With adaptation, I have the text there and I can always refer back to the original if I want to check that I’m representing the characters in the right way. But with a project like E20, it has a very different target market to the kind of audience that you hope to go along and see A Christmas Carol and Cranford at Christmas. It is the age range that I have just come out of so it is like writing for your peers in a way,” said Turner.

E20 was a completely different experience for Turner than writing for the stage but she took to the challenge well and her script was used as episode five in the third series. “With play writing you have yourself, the director and the actors but with television there’s a million different people who go through the editing process and change your script in a lot of ways so you have to be really open to change,” she explained.

Both of Cranford at Christmas and A Christmas Carol will be played at The Lawn during November and a full list of touring dates is available online.

Tickets for the shows start at £8 plus booking fees and can be purchased online or in person from the theatre box offices.

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