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Church group to present ‘Christmas Carol’

A local church will present its version of “A Christmas Carol” at King Opera House in Van Buren Dec. 6-8.

Earthen Vessels Drama Company, a ministry of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Van Buren, will present four showings of its bi-annual production of “A Christmas Carol” at the King Opera House at 407 Main St.

Showings will be Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets in advance are $5 for adults and $4 for children, with seating 40 minutes before the show. At the door, tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for children, with seating 20 minutes prior to the show.

Earthen Vessels first performed their version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in 2000, according to the website. They have since had five showings of the play, performing it every two years since 2005 under various producers and directors.

This adaption of the classic play has been updated this year by the director, Jolene Barker, and her staff and presents a “Christian version” of the play, she said.

“It’s a way that Shady Grove and anyone else who’s joining us…to share the Gospel with anyone who attends,” Barker said. “It’s an outreach for those than can come and see it, and it’s definitely a lot of fun.”

The well-known play has been adapted to feature the main character, a cold-hearted penny pincher and Christmas naysayer, Ebenezer Scrooge to accept God into his life before making his famous change of heart on Christmas Day.

Becoming a Christian in the church’s version gives Scrooge “a reason to change” besides just bearing witness to his possible future, Barker said.

“He needed…not just the motivation to change by seeing what would happen, but the ability to change,” Barker said. “He needed Jesus, he needed God. It’s complete redemption.”

Barker added that during each act of the church’s play, “just like in Dickens’ book, it leads [Scrooge] to a decision - but he doesn’t just change, he has a basis for that change.”

Included in the cast are members from Shady Grove and other area churches, Barker said.

Scrooge will be played for the fifth year by Jon Harvey; Tiny Tim will be played by 6-year-old Benjamin McCollough; Dave Barker will play Bob Cratchit; Roger Owen, pastor for Shady Grove, will play Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future will be played by Jessica Burton, Ron Norvell and Steven Barker, in that order.

Each performance will last two hours including a 15 minute intermission with refreshments sold in the foyer.

Tickets can be purchased online, at Sweet Bay Coffee Co. in Van Buren or Solid Rock Bookstore in Fort Smith.

Video clips of past performances and ticket information can be found at Call (479) 208-1738 for more information.