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Seven Swans A-Swimming

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Reworked...) The Christmas Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, has been given a 21st-century makeover in a unique project between BBC South West and Plymouth's Theatre Royal.

It's hundreds of years since The Twelve Days of Christmas was first penned, so it's perhaps high time that the traditional Christmas tale was given a modern re-working. In a unique partnership involving the BBC in the South West and Plymouth Theatre Royal's education department, 12 radio dramas have been written and produced. The daunting challenge was taken up by the Theatre Royal's Youth Theatre Director, Olly Jones, who wrote all but two of the 12 short plays, and co-wrote another with Daniel Hallissey.

The first challenge was to come up with 12 modern tales with a local flavour...cue a series of brainstorming sessions with members of the Theatre Royal's Young Company to devise the stories. Olly explained the thinking behind the 12 stories, most of which are around five minutes long: "There is definitely not a religious context, although it was really fascinating to us to find their Catholic origins. "We wanted to make a wide variety, so there are fairy tales, poems and mini-dramas. Most of them are very funny and light-hearted. Two of the stories are more serious and hard hitting, showing that it's not all fun out there at Christmas time."  A group of 18 members from the Young Company recorded the plays in the BBC Radio Devon studios in Plymouth. Their ages range from 12 to 20. "They've loved working with the BBC, with a professional producer," said Olly. "When they first go into the studio they are very nervous and quiet, but they quickly relax and really enjoy it."

The plays were produced by Sarah Solftley, assistant editor of BBC Radio Devon: "When Oliver first approached me with the idea, I thought it was wonderful but wondered if it was possible. "The BBC is always keen to give time to new talent and involve the local community in broadcasting projects."The Twelve Days of Christmas short stories were first broadcast on BBC Radio Devon in 2005. You can listen to them at your leisure using the links on this page.

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© 2021 by Daniel Hallissey
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