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The Making of SECRET SANTA: Sets, Costumes, Props and Sound Galore!

It seemed simple enough. There was no North Pole workshop with an army of elves (like last year’s I’m Getting Nothin’ for Christmas), no fairy tale castle, coach or magical ball gown (like the spring’s Cinderella), and no thinks-you-can-think locations and characters (like this past summer’s Seussical). No, Secret Santa is set in a school cafegymatorium and the students at Mainstreet School wear uniforms. How easy is that to design?

Secret Santa set design
Secret Santa set design

But, throw in a school mascot (GO, EMUS!), a costumed Christmas carnival (with trees, presents, ice princesses, Jack Frost, reindeer, toy soldiers, Christmas lights and more!),  three fast-paced set decoration changes for three completely different looks (we won’t give that away),  some ambitious sound and light cues including a fireworks display (a fireworks display?!), and a collection of props that fills our entire backstage—well then you’ve got A PRETTY BIG SHOW!

The cafegymatorium is that all-purpose room in so many modern schools that serves as cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium. Ours is painted in the Mainstreet School colors of blue and beige—a rather drab color scheme for a Christmas show. Over these walls though go a couple of different sets of Christmas decorations and one completely…let’s call it disorderly…look. We’ve also added risers to the original design to give it that could-be-risers-could-be-bleachers look of a cafegymatorium.

Christmas trees before decorations
Christmas trees before decorations

The children in the cast helped to create some of our Christmas decorations too—just like the kids at Mainstreet School. And so many parents in the cast have been an invaluable help in bringing together this production.

Secret Santa isn’t your typical Christmas play. It’s part comedy, part mystery (Have you heard the rumor about Mainstreet School?) and little bit musical with some traditional Christmas songs, carols and one school anthem.

Walls of Mainstreet School
Walls of Mainstreet School

Secret Santa will be performed on Friday, December 7, at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 8, at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, December 9, at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $10 for children, students, and seniors. Special group rates are available for parties of ten or more. Tickets may be reserved by calling New Britain Youth Theater at 860-515-8115 or may be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

NBYT is also collecting toys for the Hartford County office of Toys for Tots. New unwrapped toys may be donated at any one of the Secret Santa performances.

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