The Music Box – A Christmas Extravaganza (2009)


The Music Box – A Christmas Extravaganza first took place in 2009 at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, Northern Ireland.

A beautiful space that was crying out to be utilised for a production and no-one had ever tried it before. Peter Corry assisted by Fleur proceeded to pull together a team to make it happen. Local Amateur company the Ulster Operatic Company saw the potential of the show and came on board to provide the core adult company, this would continue for the next three years. The Laura Walker School of Ballet provided twelve young ballet dancers and auditions were held which found Rowan Brown who performed as the first boy treble soloist.

Five guest school choirs agreed to perform and six different charities were involved in supporting the show and holding bucket collections. All these ingredients were key to the success of the show and continued in later years.

To make the show possible a large locomotive that was in the centre of the room had to be removed and everything built in from scratch, stage and lighting. The space posed lots of different challenges, especially with the acoustics, being the size of a large aircraft hanger it could not be lit in a theatrical style and more architectural lighting principles had to be applied. Opening initially with five shows to a house of 750 seats a night was very ambitious but it paid off.

Venue Overview

You can get an impression here of the scale of the room and how it was adapted, also you can glimpse the trains that formed the backdrop and the use of the overhead balconies as performance spaces. Also, take a look at some of the architectural lighting for the roof – beautiful.

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Production Images

A flavour of how it all began, you can see here the initial idea of the Victorian theme that develops in later years and also the first candlelit carol procession which became a staple of all shows to date.

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The following year the production returned to the Folk and Transport Museum with more shows and more improvements.

Twitter: @TheMusicBoxNI