Some County Durham kids recently got to take part in lessons of a very special kind.

The kids participated in an elf-training workshop taught by stars from a family Christmas play currently running at Durham City’s Gala Theatre.

The cast members of Once Upon a Christmas set up their elf-training centre at St Michael’s RC School in Esh, south of Consett.

In the training sessions, the kids played festive games which taught them to walk and move like elves. The youngsters also helped create new toys and even organised their own assembly line.

Once upon a Christmas school 2
County Durham kids learning how to be elves

Once Upon a Christmas is set in a traditional toy shop, a homely place from which light floods out onto the street, inviting children of all ages to choose a favourite toy for themselves.

But this year, a certain sadness has settled upon the normally joyful establishment. The toymaker is feeling down-in-the-dumps and thinking of quitting his trade.

Some helpful elves, however, decide that under no circumstances can this be allowed to happen.

Laura Lonsdale, who plays Mother Elf in the drama, said, “It was wonderful to meet the children and to encourage them to be creative and use their imagination.”

“They were really enthusiastic and came up with some wonderful ideas for new and exciting toys, which would be perfect for our magical shop.”

Once Upon a Christmas is written by Susan Mulholland and directed by Kate Sorahan. The play’s scenery is designed by Katy Gardner, who also created the production’s wonderfully festive costumes.

The play will run until Sunday 30th December, with performances staged at various times of day.

Tickets are priced at £7.00 or £8.00, with family tickets also available for between £28.00 and £30.00.

To find out more about Once Upon a Christmas or book tickets, please go to or telephone 03000 266 600.

(The pictures in this article show Laura Lonsdale (Mother Elf) and Stanley Hodgson (Froggs) with pupils from St Michael’s RC School in Esh.)

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David writes about local news, thought provoking stories, and yearns to capture the community spirit with a unique writing style.


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