Shane Barkey and Chris Corroon of Mullingar and District Musical Society (MAD)

Virtual extravaganza planned for Christmas Night!

MAD Musical Society present 'Flying Home for Christmas'

MAD - Mullingar and District Musical Society - are planning a virtual entertainment extravaganza, broadcasting live on Facebook on Christmas Night, December 25!

Flying Home for Christmas will feature 16 of Mullingar's most well known performers and is the brainchild of the group's chairperson and PRO respectively, Chris Corroon and Shane Barkey.

Featuring all Christmas classics, Flying Home for Christmas will be MAD Musical Society's fist official show, narrated by Mrs Claus who is played by Eleanor MacDonagh.

From the North Pole, she awaits the return of Santa (Alan Conroy) from delivering presents to all the boys and girls around the world.

"Although it's virtual this will be MAD's first show," begins Chris Corroon. "Originally our first show was to be staged last month, Calamity Jane, which had to be cancelled last minute because of Level 5 restrictions. It's now postponed until October 2021 but it came as a huge blow to us because we had intended to be part of the AIMS circuit," he explains.

"Basically we've all been itching to do something for a long time, so when Shane (Barkey) rang me one night we began to brainstorm ideas of how we could stage a show within the guidelines, and we came up with the idea of a virtual Christmas show.

"It's called 'Flying Home For Christmas' and it will go out on Christmas night when everyone's at home, finished their dinner, and the kids have opened all their presents," he explains.

Shane, who is a dab-hand with green screen technology, is in charge of the visuals and has worked his magic with the sets in the North Pole, meanwhile Chris who is in charge of choreography, has sent videos to the dancers involved so they can practice at home without ever having to meet up.

All performances will be pre-recorded prior to the show and will be filmed remotely on separate recording days with social distancing and safety guidelines in place. They hope to have filming wrapped up by early December.

"It's been an extremely challenging time for the arts and entertainment sector this year but we're almost the end of it and we're determined not to let the ongoing pandemic stop us from entertaining everyone on what is the most magical time of year," states Shane Barkey.

"The team here at MAD are extremely busy working behind the scenes putting together this show, which will be a treat both for the eyes and ears with lots of variety! We are putting our all into this and will be using the most innovative virtual and video technology out there to create it," he adds.

"Between Shane and myself, we're dressing sets, making all the costumes, we want it to be a big spectacle, it is to have the 'wow' factor," continues Chris.

Not only will this be a Christmas spectacular, but also a fundraiser for MAD, with proceeds will go towards sustaining the musical society.

"It will be an interactive show, Mrs Claus will be engaging with the audience watching at home and she will also be conducting a virtual raffle," he explains.

"We're not asking people to pay to watch the show, which will be streamed via Facebook, but we are asking them to contribute to the raffle. We've set up a GoFundMe page, and people can donate any amount they wish, whether it's €100 or €1, everyone will be included in the raffle. Then on the night, names will be picked at random via a number generator, so it's fair for everyone involved. And Mrs Claus will be announcing the names of the winners from Santa's good list."

To donate, go to 'Mullingar and District Christmas Show' on GoFundMe.ie or check out the Facebook page for more info.

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