Not for Profit

Unseasonal, very strange, but true: A hair-raising story about Santa Claus!

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 16 September 2020 7:00

Unseasonal, very strange, but true: A hair-raising story about Santa Claus!

We have to admit that we do not really know how to begin this one (and feel the need to apologise on so many levels for where we are about to take you), except to say it is all for a very good cause. 

We might as well just come out and say it – today (Wednesday, September 16) the illusive figure we do not usually hear from until late on every year, Santa Claus, is due to broadcast live from the Barn Theatre, Cirencester. 

Not only that (as if that wasn’t enough!) he will be showing the world something that has not been seen since he looked in the mirror as the very much younger Claus junior. That being his face, bereft of those famous white whiskers.

In what is one of the more bizarre live events to take place in the already strange world of the theatre under pandemic restrictions, this is in act in aid of charity. 

The Alzheimer’s Society will be the beneficiary, and with good reason. 

Without wanting to ruin it for those of you who doggedly resist the refrain that Santa Claus is a myth, let us – for the sake of this article at least - give him the alias Charlie Markwick. 

Mr Markwick will be familiar to Barn Theatre regulars for another popular role he plays, as the story teller called the Yarn Whisperer.

What will be less known to everyone is that Mr Markwick cared for his late wife, Molly, and would like to riase money for the Alzheimer’s Society to help others who might face a similar situation 

When he arrives at the theatre today, he will don the famous red suit to record stories and tales with for Cirencester Town Council’s Advent month – cleverly merging the two roles. 

After which, Gloucester barber Agron Mataj, normally found plying his art at Linden Barber Shop close to Mr Markwick’s home, will step in to perform what must surely go top of his CV thereafterthe removal of Santa’s beard. 

If you want to blame/thank someone for all this, take it out on Iwan Lewis. He is the Barn Theatre’s artistic director and chief executive officer. 

“It is great to work with him with or without his beard, which I understand he has had for 48 years," said Mr Lewis, trying to distract us with praise for his latest star turn. 

“He is filming the stories with us days before the shave and he believes that by doing so now his beard will grow back to fulfil Christmas duties in November and December 2021. We will be showing him our support.” 

There is a serious note to all this, of course, aside from the sincerity of the charity fundraising. The Barn Theatre is back open, but operating on reduces capacity due to covid-related restrictions and anything that draws a socially distanced crowd during such times is not to be sniffed at. 

So perhaps we can forgive Mr Lewis after all. 

If not, at least you know where to find him. 

And for those of you truly taken with the idea, you can catch it all of everyone’s favourite pandemic channel – Zoom. Yes, really. Or Facebook.  


Pictured above: Santa Claus, aka Charlie Markwick, with the Bath Theatre's Iwan Lewis - looking far too pleased with the whole idea