Thursford show dancers get into the festive spirit as rehearsals kick off
PUBLISHED: 15:10 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:38 03 October 2017
It started in an old farm shed on a shoestring budget in 1977.
Eight dancers from King’s College, Cambridge, and an organist, performed to a crowd of about 530 people.
Now the Thursford Christmas Spectacular has become arguably the biggest festive show in Europe, attracting as many people as the Glastonbury music festival.
Preparations for this year’s run of shows are now well underway, with dancers arriving in Thursford on Monday.
Organisers announced two extra performances in January after the show’s 40th anniversary year completely sold out in 2016.
The event has a budget of £1.8m and attracts 110,000 visitors from all over the UK to the tiny village, between Fakenham and Holt, every Christmas.
The show will run from November 8 to December 23.
John Cushing, Thursford’s producer and director, said: “This year we have installed some spectacular new lighting on the stage. We have also invested a lot into our light display outside which will be magical. Our costumes this year have cost over £200,000.”
The show is expected to be record-breaking once again, with 104,000 tickets sold so far.
Mr Cushing added: “It is totally unique, there is no other show in the country like this and that is what makes it so special. People from nearly every county in the UK come to Thursford at Christmas.”
Tracey Iliffe, choreographer for the sixth year, said: “It’s the only place I know who do everything properly. We dot every I, cross every T and go above and beyond.
“I love it all. The large company pieces are always amazing and I’m looking forward to doing the tap again this year.
“One of the girls, Hannah, drove from Hungry on Friday to get here to do this job, that’s pretty committed. Sophie finished a contract two days early and drove from Paris to come here.”
She said: “I start planning the routines in my garden in June. My neighbours have been watching me dance around my garden with a trombone trying to make up patterns.”
Ticket prices for the Christmas Spectacular range from £31 - £44, and group bookings are available for parties of more than 20 people.
These can be booked over the phone on 01328 878477, or online here.