Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2016: 40 facts to celebrate the 40th show

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

This year Britain's largest Christmas extravaganza will put on its 40th show. To mark the occasion here's 40 things you may not have known about the Thursford Christmas Spectacular:

Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2014.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2014.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

1. Thursford Christmas Spectacular initially started as a small carol concert hosted by the Thursford Collection in an old farm shed to a crowd of around 50 people.

2. The show now attracts around 180,000 visitors a year to North Norfolk over the Christmas period, which is more than the 135,000 tickets sold for the 2016 Glastonbury Festival.

3. The show generates around £10 million for the local economy.

4. It is the largest performance of its kind in the whole of Europe.

Photos of rehersals of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2009 .PHOTO; Matthew Usher

Photos of rehersals of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2009 .PHOTO; Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

5. For 2016 the Christmas Spectacular has a budget of £4m.

6. In July, 700 dancers from across the world applied to be in the show, but only 22 successful candidates were chosen to eventually tap, kick and cavort across the stage on opening night.

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7. The show features a cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians.

8. The performers will collaborate on a staggering 85 different pieces.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 2016. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 2016. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

9. Costume Designer, Stephen Adnitt, used to design clothing for Dame Edna, Cilla Black and for a variety of celebrities on the hit TV show Dancing on Ice.

10. Throughout the show, the performers are dressed head-to-toe in a total of 1,000 ostrich feathers and over 10,000 rhinestones.

11. 3,240 individual costume items are used in every performance.

12. Last year 474 metres of Red Ribbon were used to make the dancers costumes for the opening scene of the second act.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1989. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1989. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

13. The cast are all freelance professionals that hail from all over the world.

14. This year, 1,123 singers applied to perform in the show .

15. This included 461 mezzo-sopranos, 297 sopranos, 210 tenors, 155 bass-baritones, all of whom were competing for one of only 54 places.

16. The cast goes through two months of rigorous rehearsal to prepare for the Christmas Spectacular.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1978. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1978. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

17. Only the world-renowned Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris have a longer dancer kick line in their shows in Europe.

18. 5,000 visitors a day descend on Norfolk's tiny village of Thursford to see the show and take part in Santa's Magical Journey.

19. According to the 2011 Census, Thursford has a population of just 205 people.

20. It takes 816 hours in total for the Musical Arranger to develop and print out over 30,000 pages of musical scores for the show.

Inside the Christmas shop at Thursford Christmas Spectacular. PHOTO: IAN BURT

Inside the Christmas shop at Thursford Christmas Spectacular. PHOTO: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

21. In 2015 a total of 37,000 tubs of ice cream were sold over the festive season at Thursford.

22. The auditorium has 1,424 seats.

23. Over 2,000 coaches visit from every county in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland during the Christmas season.

24. The show attracts 50 coach loads of visitors per day.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1995. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1995. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

25. The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is renowned for deploying one of the largest number of radio microphone systems in Europe.

26. Thursford has its own diesel powered megawatt generating station on site which is capable of running the show and all the cafes in the event of a power cut. It is strong enough to run the nearby town of Holt.

27. It takes 25 men eight weeks to erect the set for the show.

28. The set takes six weeks to dismantle in the New Year in order to return the auditorium to a museum.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1994. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 1994. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

29. The first show was held in 1977.

30. Last year, 3,500 litres of mulled wine were sold over the Christmas period at Thursford.

31. 29,000 mince pies were sold too.

32. It takes 30 costume makers and fitters to produce all of the stage outfits.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

33. There are 2,000 costumes per show.

34. This year the show runs from November 10 to December 23, with daily shows starting at 2.00pm and 7.00pm

35. Choreographer Tracey Illfe previously spent six years in Paris dancing at the world famous 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Lido de Paris'.

36. The Christmas Spectacular is part of the Thursford collection, which last year attracted over 250,000 visitors from across Britain and Europe.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 2012. Picture: Thursford Library

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Date: 2012. Picture: Thursford Library - Credit: Thursford Library

37. The Thursford collection includes a Mighty Wurlitzer which is the fourth-largest in Europe and has a total of 1,339 pipes.

38. George Cushing, founded the Thursford Collection at Thursford in Norfolk; what began as a hobby turned into one of the world's most important steam and fairground museums.

39. George Cushing was appointed MBE in 1989.

40. The Thursford Collection contains a 19th century gondola merry-go-round which was built in the Norfolk factory of Frederick Savage and decorated with carved heads depicting Queen Victoria and her family, including the German Kaiser Wilhelm II.

• Which fact did you find most interesting? Tell us in the comments below.

• For more information and to purchase tickets for this year's show, visit www.thursford.com