The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is one of the fixtures of the festive season. Set in the magical surroundings of the Thursford Collection, including mechanical organs, Wurlitzers and carousels, the 3-hour musical extravaganza features a cast of 130 professional performers and musicians.
This year's Christmas Spectacular is well underway, and although it's sold out across the board, we thought we'd put together an article on everything you need to know about the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, for those lucky few of you who booked your tickets in advance!
It began life as a Student Sing Song
The Christmas Spectacular may be a huge attraction now, but it started life in 1977 as a concert of Christmas music and carols performed by students from the University of Cambridge. The show has grown exponentially over the following years, resulting in the all singing, all dancing, sequined spectacle that we know today.
It's a favourite of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are frequent visitors to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, having first attended together in 2010 following their engagement. Four years later the couple, now married, brought their first-born son, Prince George, to Thursford to meet Santa, while George and his sister Princess Charlotte were both in attendance with their mother at last year's show.
It's the Hottest Ticket in Norfolk!
The show is a hugely popular attraction, and tickets sell out months in advance, year in, year out. If you didn't manage to get tickets this year, then you won't have to wait long to book your tickets for 2018, with tickets set to go on-sale online on the 18th December.
Dancers travel thousands of miles to be involved
700 professional dancers from across the world applied to be in the show earlier this year, with just 22 eventually selected to join the 130 professional performers and musicians involved in the production. Among the final 22, were dancers from as far afield as Hungary.
Speaking to the Lynn News, the show's professional choreographer, Tracey lliffe, revealed that
"One of the girls, Hannah, drove from Hungary to get here to take part and that's pretty committed. Another girl, Sophie, finished a contract two days early and drove to Norfolk from Paris to appear in the show".
The costumes are fabulous
Extravagant costumes are a hallmark of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular. 2,000 costumes are used per show, and it takes 30 costume makers and fitters to produce all of the stage outfits. The budget for this year's costumes is set at a staggering £200,000, which will be spent on dressing the performers in, among other things, a total of 1,000 ostrich feathers and over 10,000 rhinestones!
Its bigger than Glastonbury!
While Thursford may be a tiny village, with a population of little more than 200 people, it welcomes coaches from all four corners of the UK when the Christmas Spectacular begins, with 5,000 visitors arriving each day. In total, the 180,000 visitors who arrive each year eclipses the 135,000 who attended the Glastonbury Festival in 2016!
It's a huge part of the Norfolk economy
As might be expected for a show that attracts almost 200,000 people each year, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular is a huge contributor to the Norfolk economy, generating as much as £10 million for the local economy.
Shows at Thursford Christmas Spectacular are performed daily at 2.00pm and 7.00pm from 8th November - 23rd December. All tickets for 2017 are now sold out.